The biggest turnout target for Democrats are not immigrants from another country. Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, 72,000 of whom have moved to Florida since 2017, when Hurricane Maria devastated the island, and they are immediately eligible to vote. Trump’s handling of the disaster — and his spreading of unfounded conspiracy theories casting doubt on the death toll — has left him with a near-rock-bottom 21 percent favorability rating among Boricua voters.
Trump’s support among Haitian Americans has also taken a beating since he last campaigned in their community in 2016 and pledged: “I want to be your greatest champion.” Instead, Trump has threatened to remove the Temporary Protected Status, commonly called TPS, of 56,000 Haitian immigrants who came to the U.S. after a 2011 earthquake rocked the country. And he allegedly called Haiti a “ shithole” behind closed doors.
“Bad words are bad words. Nobody likes to hear their home country called a shithole,” said Hans Mardy, a Republican Haitian-American activist. “As a Republican, I would like to see a better collaboration with our government.”
About 115,000 Florida voters were born in Haiti, according to data compiled by University of Florida political science professor Dan Smith, and they turn out at higher rates than the statewide average. Smith estimated that about 8 in 10 Haitian-Americans vote Democrat.