Democrats fear that traditionally liberal Miami-Dade County is in the midst of a major realignment shifting toward the Republican Party, the Washington Post reported.
The left-leaning newspaper highlighted that voter enthusiasm toward Democrat candidates is plummeting in Florida’s most populous county, especially for the party’s gubernatorial nominee Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL), who polls show is trailing by double digits to incumbent Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) statewide.
One independent voter within the county, Noel Chavez, 49, told the Post that although he does not agree with DeSantis and incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) on all issues, he will be voting for both of them in this year’s midterm cycle, citing that inflation and the economy are at the top of his mind.
“I don’t like everything about Ron DeSantis, but Charlie Crist is a joke,” said Chavez. “I like Democrats outside of Florida, but the Democratic Party just doesn’t have good leaders in Florida.”
While Hillary Clinton won Miami-Dade by almost 30 points in 2016 and DeSantis lost by over 20 points in 2018, Donald Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign made significant inroads within the Hispanic community — the county’s most populous ethnic demographic — and closed the gap between the two parties by just over seven points.
Since then, Hispanic support for Republican candidates has been booming and may lead to one of the Republican party’s most substantial victories in the Sunshine State in recent memory.
A recent Telemundo/LX poll found that DeSantis leads Crist among Hispanic voters by 51 percent to 44 percent, and 72 percent of Cuban-American voters are backing the current governor. Coincidentally, the Miami metro area contains the nation’s largest Cuban-American population, Breitbart News highlighted.
It is not just Cuban-Americans breaking for DeSantis, as 56 percent of Hispanic voters born in another country are choosing the incumbent governor over Crist. DeSantis also leads Crist — 56 percent to 34 percent — among independent Hispanic voters.
Furthermore, while Democrats still lead Republicans in voter registration in Miami-Dade, Republicans are now leading Democrats among Hispanics for voter registration in the county.
The realignment is not just occurring within federal or state politics, but on a local level too. This past summer, the Miami-Dade County School Board flipped conservative and is now the largest school district in the country with a conservative-majority board, Breitbart News reported.
While Republican operatives say that Trump and DeSantis deserve credit for expanding the GOP tent to include new Hispanic voters within Miami and across the state, unpopular Democrat policies are simultaneously not resonating with Hispanic voters, according to Giancarlo Sopo, a Republican media strategist who led Trump’s 2020 national Hispanic advertising.
“Gov. DeSantis is winning in Miami because his agenda is popular and his opponents are a walking ‘arroz con mango,'” Sopo told the Post, using a Cuban phrase that means “a messy situation.”
“The Democrats could earnestly address their issues with Hispanics, but they prefer to attribute their losses to ‘disinformation.’ This helps them save face with donors, but there’s an electoral price to being so out of touch with reality,” he added.
With Republican support surging in Miami-Dade and Democrat support floundering, one registered Democrat told the Post she is not confident of her party’s chances of retaking the governorship and Rubio’s Senate seat.
“There’s no way around it. It used to be a toss-up state, but I would say it’s not even close anymore,” said Mauricio Restrepo, a teacher.
“All the Republicans are going to win for sure,” she added.
You can follow Ethan Letkeman on Twitter at @EthanLetkeman.