It would be facile though to credit GOP success in south Florida simply to that issue — as Amandi put it, “It’s not the silver-bullet explanation for the Democratic debacle in Florida.” Trump gained ground among Hispanic voters across the country, like Mexican Americans in the Rio Grande Valley and Puerto Ricans in metro Orlando. Furthermore, his campaign built a much stronger organization to knock on doors in south Florida than Democrats — a criticism that Ocasio-Cortez echoed in her postmortem on the election that rejected criticism that socialists tarred Democrats broadly. As Shalala noted, “They have been working south Florida and Miami-Dade in particular for years.” Curbelo pointed to the number of “Latinos for Trump events” in the community and contrasted it with Democrats outsourcing a lot of this work to an independent expenditure effort funded by the billionaire former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.

In contrast, Democrats shied away from door-knocking because of the pandemic. Shalala said that her campaign “decided not to do a ground game” because of the virus and noted that “none of us had budgeted for it because in a presidential year, the presidential candidate pays for it.” Biden’s campaign did not door-knock until the last weeks of the campaign due to the pandemic. (Shalala said her campaign did fund a “ground game in the African American community” that made a difference). While they “pummeled” Hispanic voters with phone calls and text messages in a bilingual outreach effort, she conceded that that was “not as effective” as knocking doors.

Many voters just simply liked Trump and thought he had been a good president in his first term.