DeSantis’ ‘leadership with a backbone’ swings Florida Hispanics to GOP

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Joe Biden won 65% of Hispanic votes in the last presidential election. He campaigned to defend the working class and fix the American immigration system. Two years into his presidency, he has so far failed to do so, and Hispanic voters are increasingly deserting the Democratic Party. With the start of Hispanic Heritage Month, this Oashington examiner The series, Taken For Granted, will examine how Biden and Democratic Party policies are failing to connect with the Latino electorate, how Donald Trump and Republicans have benefited, and how it could swing the midterm elections. of November.

Governor Ron DeSantis (R) chaired Republicans outnumbered Democrats in voter registration for the first time in Florida history, and the Red takeover was fueled by a shift in Hispanic voters .

The number of Hispanic voters registered as Republicans increased by about 15% from August 2020 to August 2022, outpacing the overall GOP voter registration increase of 5% as well as the growth in the total number of 7.8% Hispanic voters over that same two-year period. , state records show.

The Florida GOP cited DeSantis’ strong policies in favor of individual liberty as the reason for his success at the state level as Hispanic voters across the country begin to turn from blue to red.

REPUBLICANS SEE RED FLORIDA’S FUTURE WITH GROWING HISPANIC VOTER REGISTRATION

DeSantis has become a popular governor during the coronavirus pandemic for his refusal to close businesses or implement strict lockdowns. This bolstered his approval among his base and independents and helped convince Hispanic voters to rally more to his side.

“Hispanics really like leadership with a backbone,” said Florida Republican Party executive director Helen Aguirre Ferre. Washington Examiner. “They really recognize that it’s important to have a strong leader, and the governor has a way of using the same language and the same demeanor, whether he’s addressing Wall Street and Main Street the same way. . That authentic voice makes a big difference.”

Aguirre Ferre, who previously served as communications director for DeSantis and media affairs director for Trump’s White House, said the governor’s message that “what’s good for one group is good for all” helped him to connect with the Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Venezuelans and other Latino immigrants who call Florida home.

“Hispanics really appreciate his strong leadership, his fearlessness, his not backing down,” she said. “He fights for everyone, but he has a thing for the man on the street, for the blue collar, the person who works very hard and sacrifices so much to get his family going. And Hispanics, we are We are it’s all about community. We’re all about faith. And when you look at all of that, it only really thrives when you have freedom.

The total number of Hispanic voters has risen since 2019, and while Democrats still have an advantage in total numbers, they lost registered Hispanic voters last year.

As of August 2020, the GOP had 587,552 registered Hispanics and the Democrats had 920,324. Last month, the Republicans had 676,826, while the Democrats had 902,744. During this period, the total number of Hispanic voters rose from 2.37 million to 2.56 million, representing 18% of all registered voters in Florida.

According to Republican strategist Wes Anderson, Hispanic voters have been indicating for years that they don’t want to be flattered along racial lines. He worked on Sen. Rick Scott’s (R-FL) 2018 campaign and found in polls and focus groups that the Democratic strategy of assuming certain interests because of race was not working with Hispanics.

“One of the things we found early on was a very harsh rebuke to the Democrats’ race politics and race theory,” Anderson told the Washington Examiner. “The idea that we should be teaching our kids that your race is super determining one way or another is an idea that a really sizable majority, pushing away three-quarters of all Hispanics, said in Florida… ‘Oh, hell no, that’s a horrible idea. And DeSantis’ policies play right into that. [sentiment].”

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He went on to say that many Hispanics seek “full assimilation” into American culture, and the outreach that attempts to “force them into an identity” doesn’t match their aspirations.

DeSantis went on the offensive in his re-election campaign against Charlie Crist, his Democratic opponent. Crist’s running mate is Karla Hernandez-Mats, herself a Latina and head of the teachers’ union. A radio ad in Spanish targeted Hernandez-Mats’ opposition to school openings and his 2016 comments after the death of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.

The Washington Examiner contacted the Florida Democratic Party and Crist’s campaign for comment, but did not receive a response.

Hispanic voters are turning more to the Republican Party across the country with each election cycle and becoming a battleground between parties. Issues such as border security, school choice, crime, economics and social conservatism align with many Hispanic values, Republican Party officials say, and the result has been victories like than Rep. Mayra Flores (R-TX) in a historically Democratic South. Texas District Special Election. Other southern Texas districts are Republican-leaning, and the Nevada Senate race could come down to the Hispanic vote.

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