Obama won the Cuban vote in 2012, but after the 2018 midterm, it was clear the tide had turned when Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, a protégé of Trump, garnered 66 percent of the Cuban American vote.
But it wasn’t just Cuban Americans that helped tighten the gap in Miami-Dade County. Venezuelan Americans, although smaller in numbers, shifted toward Trump, and Nicaraguans and Colombians, two important voter blocs, also had increases in support for Trump.
“We knew about Cuban Americans because we were studying them so intensely,” said Florida International University professor Eduardo Gamarra. “But we also have a 5 to 10 percent swing among all South Americans, even smaller groups like Peruvians.”
“Trump showed up in Florida. He asked us what our issues are and he addressed them. He didn’t take us for granted,” said Bertica Cabrera Morris, a longtime Republican strategist and one of the 20 board members of Latinos for Trump.