In 2016, Florida was seen as a lock for Hillary Clinton because of the large number of Hispanic voters in the state. Beating expectations there helped Trump win the state and the election, and make no mistake about it, Trump isn’t taking those voters for granted. On Tuesday, a day before the first Democratic Primary debate, “Latinos for Trump” will rollout in Florida, and will be a springboard for a national effort to expand support for Trump in the Latino community.
The campaign believes Hispanics will be drawn to Mr. Trump by record low unemployment, a tough stance on China’s trade practices and demands for curbing illegal immigration. Mr. Trump is trying to exploit a shift among Democrats, casting it as the party of socialism in the hopes of appealing to voters—like Venezuelans—with ties to countries that have leftist governments.
Republican leaders will act as surrogates in TV and other news interviews while making appearances in their home states, the campaign said. Activists will be trained to conduct outreach, including neighborhood canvassing, phone banks and voter registration. Mr. Trump’s 2016 effort started late and faced defections over a particularly incendiary speech on immigration that he gave in Arizona.
Mr. Trump, who launched his 2016 campaign with fiery talk about illegal immigration, received 28% of the Hispanic vote in 2016, beating some projections and roughly achieving what Mitt Romney did in 2012.
Still, that is dismal compared with the 44% achieved by George W. Bush in 2004 and Mr. Trump’s base remains overwhelmingly reliant on white voters. But if he can boost his numbers, it could be decisive in states like Florida.
Trump’s plans to court Hispanic voters in Florida has not gone unnoticed by Democrats. Hispanic turnout may have helped Democrats take back the House of Representatives, but Florida Democrats were defeated by Trump-backed candidates. The Miami Herald noted that “in races decided by the thinnest of margins, Florida’s Hispanic voters swung back to the right just enough to deliver wins to two of Trump’s top allies, keeping the governorship in conservative hands and turning over a Democratic U.S. Senate seat to the Republicans.”
So as the top 20 Democratic presidential candidates descend upon Miami ahead of next week’s primary debates, their ability to communicate with South Florida’s massive Hispanic population will be front and center. Because among Florida’s fastest growing voting bloc, Trump merely needs to lose by less in order to once again take Florida’s 29 electoral college votes in 2020.
According to Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale, internal polling data shows Trump is doing better with Hispanic voters than he was in 2016. Democrats should be concerned. Enthusiasm for Trump has only grown since 2016, and his policies are undeniably making America great again… for everyone.
Matt Margolis is the author of the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. His new book, Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy, will be published on July 30, 2019. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis