by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
In the 2012 election, Barack Obama won 71 percent of the Hispanic vote, helping him seal victory over Mitt Romney. Democrats and the media subsequently predicted that Obama’s capture of Hispanics — particularly his support among Cubans in Florida — defined a clear future for the party. …
… These predictions, however, may prove to have been more premature than prescient. A Florida International University 2020 poll released in early October found that 59 percent of Cubans in South Florida say they will vote for President Trump. Moreover, according to a report from Equis Research, Trump’s anti-socialism and anti-Left messaging resonates with “post-93” Cubans, who arrived in America during the 1994 rafter crisis.
In such data points, Giancarlo Sopo, the director of rapid response for Spanish Language Media at Trump’s reelection campaign, sees another electoral shift underway. While the president continues to fall behind Joe Biden in battleground Florida polls — where the Cuban vote is most crucial — Sopo nevertheless maintains this is a shift that will “outlive Joe Biden’s campaign.” …
… “Government can help those who cannot otherwise help themselves and invest in public education, roads, and utilities. But you also need to provide people with a long runway to take-off in pursuit of their dreams,” Sopo explained. This is, in part, what drew him to the moderate wing of the Democratic Party when he was young: “I care most about the poor and having mechanisms in place to help them, through both a safety net and private charity.”
Around 2015, though, Sopo perceived a change in the Democratic Party’s rhetoric. “I started noticing that the messaging of the party had shifted away from the Clinton-era focus on equality of opportunity to inequality,” he said. In 2018, after Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez deemed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez the future of the party, Sopo felt increasingly uncomfortable supporting a party “hijacked by the disciples of Marx and Castro.”