Clinton Outspends Trump 4 to 1 in Florida, But Race is Tightening
Clinton has adopted very sophisticated micro-targeting to reach the Puerto Rican community. Her Orlando radio ads not only feature Spanish language, but employ Spanish speakers with Puerto Rican accents. Trump has not aired any Spanish ads, much less micro-targeted to specific communities. The Census Bureau has reported that an estimated 1.6 million Florida residents speak English "less than very well."
Worse, half of Trump's campaign offices sat empty last weekend. While the Republican National Committee (RNC) said they had a paid staff of 200 on the ground, the Trump campaign told the AP the number was closer to 120, including both RNC staff and campaign staff.
"This is a campaign that is not necessarily built on the traditional bricks and mortar campaigning," Susie Wiles, Trump's top Florida operative, told the AP. She said she had been on the job for only about a week. Nevertheless, the campaign is signing up hundreds of new volunteers at every rally, Wiles added. She said the team keeps in touch with them by text message. Even so, the campaign relies on the RNC to do the grunt work of door knocking and phone calls.
As usual, the RNC sent volunteers into Puerto Rican neighborhoods last weekend. A handful of Spanish speakers reached out to voters in their native language. RNC Field Director Francheska Markus grew up in a Puerto Rican family, and used that connection ask the Spanish speakers to "have an open mind."
During the same weekend, the Clinton campaign hosted 72 individual events in the Orlando area, including nearly 20 phone banks, 40 registration events, and a dozen door-knocking teams. State Senator Darren Soto, a Democrat who would be Florida's first Puerto Rican member of Congress, argued that Trump has "stoked racism," pushing his community toward Clinton. Even he admitted that the Democrat nominee needs to work hard for the support of Hispanics in Florida.
The Monmouth poll gave Clinton an overwhelming advantage among Hispanic, black, and Asian voters, who make up about one third of the electorate. Sixty-nine percent of these three groups backed Clinton, while only 16 percent said they favor Trump. Fifty-three percent of white voters backed the Republican nominee, while only 35 percent supported the Democrat.
An estimated 1,000 Puerto Rican families are moving to Florida from the U.S. territory every month. Unlike other immigrants, they arrive as American citizens and become eligible to vote almost immediately. Immigrant groups like this are considered the Democrats' "blue wall," but what if the wall starts showing cracks? If Puerto Ricans dislike Her Majesty, the Dowager Empress of Chappaqua, might they end up breaking for Trump? Hillary's massive spending in the I-4 suggests she's terrified, and perhaps for good reason.