Post #141, Bob McKnight's Florida Commentary
The general consensus seems to be that the polls were wrong again favoring the Democrats in the election. The final results showed Trump and the Republicans doing better than expected--especially in Florida. I am not sure that I agree that the strong Republican vote in Miami was unexpected. I recall the polls in Florida swinging back and forth during the last few days, so the final vote was very uncertain. But there are clear explanations for the so called surprise strong vote in Miami for Trump.
Four years ago, Clinton did well throughout Miami. She had a strong ground game in the Democratic leaning three South Florida counties of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach. Clinton worked Little Havana with strong surrogates from the Obama Administration. Trump had almost no Miami ground game and his anti-immigrant message scared a number of Cuban-American refugees.
This time, Biden, a practicing Catholic, had a hard time with his pro-adoption message among the hard line anti-abortion Cubans. Trump seized on that concern by taking an emotional anti-abortion position, even though he had been pro-choice during much of his life. His judicial appoints demonstrated his commitment, even if insincere.
Also, Biden lost the benefit of a potentially positive message--it was said Cubans in Miami loved Obama Care. But the Biden team dropped the issue from his main messaging in Miami. Add to that, Trump's "get tough" with objectors on the street resonated with the right leaning Miamians.
Trump claimed and then got complete credit for the strong economy, deserved or not.
Also this time around, several factors came into play--Biden did not have a good response in little Havana for Democratic Senator Sanders positive comments about Fidel Castro. Apparently Biden felt he could not risk alienating Sanders. Then Biden looked the other way with Harris' connection with her colleague from California, Congresswoman Karen Bass. While being considered as Biden's Vice Presidential running mate, Bass made favorable comments about Castro and socialism. Harris got the VP nod and neither she nor Biden distanced herself from Bass's remarks. Trump's pro Cuban team in Miami pounced on the serious strategic mistake.
But most significant and largely overlooked by the national press was the White House ceremony Trump hosted for Brigade 2506 from the Bay of Pigs, just before the election. The proud Cuban veterans and their families were invited to the White House for a patriotic event that drew strong and vocal emotions from all attending. Reporting and video of the event was aggressively distributed throughout the Cuban Community in Miami and quietly became the near universal basis of Trump's support. Obama was eloquent the last day of the campaign in Miami, but he was nothing compared to the White House event and an audience with the President of the United States.
The Democrats also missed the opportunity to counter Trump with an eloquent Cuban political figure supporting Biden. Trump had the eloquence and emotion of the Bay of Pigs veterans. There was a Democrat, former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz and a Republican, former State Representative J. C. Plantas, but the Biden Campaign overlooked keynoting the two eloquent lawyers.
Lastly, it was widely reported that Trump spread lies about Democrats and Biden within the Cuban community, but his mis-truths were not new and probably should have been expected by the Democrats.
By then the fate was sealed for a Trump surprise vote in Miami.