Thursday, September 06, 2012

Cuban Latinos

Yesterday at the DNC one of the reporters I spoke to was with Radio Martí. Of course, she was interested in the "Latino" label given how Mexican Americans, for example, have different policy priorities than Cuban Americans. This is an especially important point to keep in mind given the Electoral College, since Florida is worth 29 votes.

Florida used to be a bastion of pro-Republican anti-Castro votes, but that has been changing. Obama has a lead among Latinos in Florida, though Romney polls much better there than he does nationally. Nate Silver currently gives Obama a 62% chance of winning Florida. Despite efforts by conservatives to paint Obama as soft on Cuba and Venezuela (including the Republican platform itself) U.S. policy has not changed much since the latter years of the George W. Bush administration. Plus, of course, demography matters since young Cuban Americans have less direct experience with the Cuban revolution and are less hard line.

The long-term dilemma for the Republican Party, then, is that its conservative Latino base will gradually shrink as the Cuban revolution becomes less relevant politically. Indeed, if there is a Cuban Spring and elections are held, that will be a disaster for the Republican Party. For more than a generation, Fidel Castro has helped produce many conservative Latinos.


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