Jim watson | AFP | Getty Images
WASHINGTON – Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden visited South Florida on Tuesday, seeking to garner support among Hispanic voters in this important swing state.
Biden’s visit came after the release of a poll of Florida voters last week that sent jitters through the Democratic Party. In a poll conducted by NBC News and Marist, President Donald Trump found Biden 50-46 out of four points among Latin voters.
Four years ago, Democrat Hillary Clinton won Hispanic voters in Florida by 25 points, 60–35, although she lost to the state. According to an NBC poll, Biden is undercutting Clinton by 29 points with a dominant demographic in a major state.
Historically, Republicans do better with Hispanic voters in Florida than they do because of the large concentration of Cuban Americans who hold a Republican bent.
However, the results of the NBC poll coming just 50 days before Election Day sounded alarm bells in the Biden campaign.
On Saturday, the Biden campaign unveiled a trio of new Spanish-language ads running in Florida, each directing a specific group of Hispanic voters.
On Sunday, an aide to billionaire Michael Bloomberg announced that the former Democratic primary candidate would spend $ 100 million to support Biden in Florida, essentially a campaign to divert funds allocated for Florida to other battlegrounds such as Pennsylvania. Will free
Tuesday night was Biden’s first major speech directly to Hispanic voters in Florida. But not just any Hispanic voter: Puerto Rican voters.
Biden’s pitch to Puerto Ricans
The former vice president made his speech at a Hispanic Heritage Month celebration in Kissimmee. When there were no crowds, the location reflected his campaign to drive Puerto Rican voters. Kissimmee is the only seat of the county in Osceola County, USA where Puerto Rico outnumber all other ancestral groups.
Before he took the stage, Biden was introduced by two world-renowned Puerto Rican artists, Ricky Martin and Luis Fonsi, and by Hispanic American actress and activist Eva Longoria.
Musician Ricky Martin Kissimmee, Florida, US, September 15, 2020, at a Hispanic Heritage Month event at Osceola Heritage Park, before Democratic America presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks.
Leah Millis | Reuters
In prepared remarks, the former Vice President ripped Trump’s approach to American territory.
“Even after being president for four years, Donald Trump does not understand that the people of Puerto Rico are already American citizens,” he said.
“I am running to be president of all Americans, including 3 million American citizens living in Puerto Rico. I am not going to steal that money, which is in dire need to rebuild the island to build a wall, which Nothing does. Keep Americans safe. I’m not going to suggest that we sell or trade Puerto Rico. I’m not going to throw away the paper towels whose lives have been ravaged by the storm, “Biden he said.
Last fall, Trump transferred $ 300 million away from cash-tied disaster relief agencies to fund border security projects, including his “wall” project on the southern border. In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017, Trump reportedly wondered if the United States could sell it “island” or “deWaste”. And during a rare visit to Puerto Rico soon after the storm, Trump threw a roll of paper towels into a crowd of survivors at a relief center.
Biden also said on Tuesday that while he personally supports the addition of Puerto Rico as a state, he will work with both sides of a bitter debate on the island, and voters there will eventually find their course. Let us decide.
A plan for Puerto Rico
Along with Biden’s visit, the expedition released a multi-dimensional plan Tuesday afternoon to help rebuild and revive Puerto Rico, which is home to 3 million American citizens. Two devastating storms in 2017 left millions of Puerto Ricans without power for months, causing more than a hundred thousand damage to go to the mainland.
Today, Florida is home to more than one million people, who identify as Puerto Ricans. Nationwide, Puerto Ricans represent the second largest pool of Hispanic voters in the country, after Mexican Americans. In Florida, one in four Latino voters have identified as Puerto Rican.
Key elements of Biden’s Puerto Rico plan:
– Providing direct federal investment in infrastructure projects and waiving federal disaster assistance
– Provide greater access to Puerto Ricans for community-based health care and SNAP food assistance
– Reducing Puerto Rico’s large debt burden by reversing austerity measures and restructuring some debts
In a statement with the new plan, the Biden campaign criticized Trump’s response to the 2017 storm in Puerto Rico.
He also brought the account of Ellen Duke, a former top official in the Department of Homeland Security. Earlier this year, Duke told The New York Times that in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Trump noted whether the United States could sell Puerto Rico.
Taken together, Biden’s plan for Puerto Rico and his direct appeal to Puerto Rican voters on Tuesday represent the best example of what the Biden campaign says is an ultra-targeted strategy with Hispanic voters is.
In response to concerns raised by an NBC poll last week, Biden campaign colleagues over the weekend insisted that their outreach to Hispanic voters has expanded dramatically in recent weeks, and now full-time in Arizona, Colorado, Florida Hispanic-focused mobilization efforts are included. , New Mexico, Nevada and Texas.
Senior political adviser Jorge Neri told reporters on Sunday, “The path to victory includes winning important battlegrounds and we are going to build a culturally competent campaign that targets states with heavily Hispanic populations.” is.”
Biden colleagues also emphasized how carefully their Spanish language outreach has been targeted, using and incorporating different Spanish accents in multiple versions of each campaign ad, accents that geographically impact Hispanic populations in different markets Correspond to the original.
Below is one of the Spanish-language commercials that Biden launched over the weekend.
Currently, Biden ads appearing in the Miami and Tampa media markets are voiced with Cuban-accented Spanish. Voters in and around Orlando hear Puerto Rican accents. And throughout West Palm, Fort Myers, and Arizona, the narrator has a Mexican accent.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez told reporters, “Because we know that our communities, we share a language, but we have a tremendous diversity of experiences and we have similar priorities from those experiences, but we have many unique There are also interests. ” .
At this stage it is impossible to tell if Biden’s game will be fruitful for Puerto Rican voters. But this week there are already signs that perhaps the NBC / Marriage poll was just an excuse, and that Biden is actually doing better with the Latino voters in Florida than he seemed to be doing last week.
On Tuesday, Monmouth University released a new Florida poll that showed Biden’s voters winning 58 to 32 over Trump, a number very close to Trump’s 2016 margin.