“I don’t think right now the Republican Party is attracting Latinos or African-Americans in droves … even in drips,” Suarez told me, in an interview for the latest episode of POLITICO’s Off Message podcast. “The Republican Party has to decide to create a platform and coherently disseminate it that talks and speaks to the issues of those demographics. … Unless your politics speak to the people who you want to support you, they’re not going to support you.”
In 2016, turnout against Trump surged in Suarez’s part of the state, but not quite in the numbers that Democrats had been counting on—and nowhere near enough to counter for the overwhelming upswell of support for Trump in Florida’s northern and Panhandle regions.
The year and a half since then has seen several GOP-held Miami-area House seats become among the most contested in the country as South Florida’s Latino Republicans run up against the political reordering underway.