Sanders' Remarks on Cuba Could Cost Him Big in Florida

Biden has advantage among various demographics, including Hispanics, ahead of Tuesday's primary
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 12, 2020 9:20 AM CDT
Sanders' Next Huge Challenge: Florida
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks to reporters in Burlington, Vt., on Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Bernie Sanders' 2020 campaign is struggling after Joe Biden's big wins in recent primaries, and another important state on the horizon also doesn't look particularly promising for the Vermont senator. Marc Caputo writes for Politico that after "Michigan broke Bernie Sanders' heart Tuesday, Florida looks ready to crush his campaign" when the latter holds its primary Tuesday, with 219 delegates up for grabs. That's more than any other state still to hold a primary, other than New York. One big problem for Sanders in the Sunshine State is that the demographics appear to tip toward an advantage for Biden: More than 25% of Democratic primary voters there are African American ("Biden's base"), while a majority of those same voters are both 50 or older, as well as self-described moderates or even conservatives—again, a boost for Biden over Bernie.

A new University of North Florida poll gives Biden a whopping 44-point lead, per Politico. Where Sanders has done well to date is with Hispanic voters, but that may not hold there. Per Vox, Biden has an 11-point lead on Sanders among Latino voters there in a Telemundo poll released Wednesday. Sanders didn't help matters with a 60 Minutes interview last month in which he pointed out positives in Cuba under Fidel Castro, infuriating Florida Latinos. "Every time Bernie opens his mouth and reaffirms his status as a socialist, it sends more Hispanic voters to Biden," a political consultant notes. Still, progressive Latinos there say Sanders does have a foothold, especially among the younger set. "Young people know these systems aren't working," a rep for activist group Dream Defenders tells Caputo. "And you can call that socialism, but whatever you call it ... millennials and Gen Z are fed up." (Sanders explains the next steps he's taking.)

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