A Big Biden Worry Grows Larger: Latino Voters

Trump is making headway, especially in Florida
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 15, 2020 8:33 AM CDT
A Big Biden Worry Grows Larger: Latino Voters
Supporters at a Latinos for Trump Coalition roundtable at Arizona Grand Resort & Spa Monday in Phoenix.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

A slew of new stories on the November race have a familiar theme: Joe Biden is in trouble with Latino voters. The issue is especially prominent in Florida—where Biden will appear on Tuesday—but polls suggest that Trump is making big headway among Latinos nationwide. Coverage:

  • Nationally: Biden led Trump among Hispanics by 30 points in July, according to a Reuters poll. The most recent poll showed the lead was just 9 points in August. The story takes note of the enthusiastic turnout at a Trump Latino roundtable in Phoenix on Monday. “This is supposed to be a roundtable, but it looks like a rally,” said the president.
  • Florida: The numbers in this battleground state are telling. Hillary Clinton won the Latino vote here in 2016 by 30 points, but this year, Trump is leading Biden 50% to 46%, according to a new NBC/Marist poll. It's a big reason why Biden's lead in the state from earlier this summer has vanished, and the two are now in statistical dead heat.

  • A key reason: Trump is trouncing Biden in Florida among Cuban-Americans in particular, and it could cost cost Biden the state in 2020, reports USA Today. One reason: The Trump campaign is saturating Spanish-language airwaves with ads suggesting that Biden is aligned with dictators such as the late Fidel Castro and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. “It's preying on people's vulnerabilities, their sensitivities, their family trauma of having to leave everything in their home country to come here," says Florida Democrat Annette Collazo, who is running for state legislature. She called the ads "deceptive."
  • Misinformation via app: Politico reports that conspiracy theories from QAnon and other deceptive claims are flooding the WhatsApp chats and Facebook feeds of Spanish-speaking residents of South Florida. WhatsApp is popular in Latin American communities because it doesn't require a US phone number or mobile service provider, and many use it to keep it in touch with relatives abroad, per the story. "I’ve never seen this level of disinformation, conspiracy theories, and lies,” says Latino Democratic strategist Evelyn Pérez-Verdia. “It looks as if it has to be coordinated.”
  • Response: The Biden campaign is racing to make up the gap in Spanish-language ads in Miami-Dade and is increasing its Latino staff, notes a separate Politico story. (Mike Bloomberg has pledged $100 million to help Biden in the state.)
  • Trump's theme: In addressing Latino supporters Monday in Arizona, Trump stressed his law-and-order theme in regard to protests in US cities. “They’ll rip down your community,” Trump said. “Many of these are Hispanic-American small businesses, stores, shops and they rip them down and call it peaceful protesting.”
  • A counterpoint: Others don't understand the support of Trump. “So many Latinos in my community are essential workers who are on the front lines of the fight against coronavirus, but Trump’s failed response has treated our essential workers like they’re disposable, and it’s a disgrace,” says Arizona state Sen. Rebecca Rios. And former Democratic state Senate majority leader Alfredo Gutierrez recalled the president's previous rhetoric on Latino migrants. “Why would they deign to sit, agree to sit, next to this guy who has spent the last three years spewing hate against us?”
(More Election 2020 stories.)

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