The Democrats’ Hispanic problem

That conversation has already begun. Some Democrats are leery of an overcorrection; after all, Nelson and Gillum both lost by less than a half of a percentage point despite their underperformance with Hispanics, and it’s possible that Trump’s unpopular name and policies on the ballot could help reverse that underperformance in 2020. Still, in all-important Miami-Dade County, where Democrats are a majority of the electorate but Republicans control the mayor’s office and county commission, Democrats have already held soul-searching meetings to discuss why their Hispanic margins sagged in 2018, and how they can make voting as much a cultural habit for younger Cubans and non-Cuban Hispanics as it is for the aging Cuban exiles who helped carry Scott and DeSantis to victory. Miami-Dade’s overall turnout lagged about six points behind the state average, and was even worse in its Venezuelan and Colombian precincts, while turnout in its most Cuban and most Republican precincts was well ahead of the state average.

“We see turnout dipping outside the Cuban bloc,” says Ricky Junquera, vice chair of the Miami-Dade Democrats. “And we need to fix it.”

Woody Allen said that 80 percent of life is showing up, and operatives from both parties agreed that Florida Democrats have been remarkably slow to learn that lesson when it comes to Hispanic outreach. Instead of organizing year-round, they’ve assumed demography would be destiny.