Friday, October 11, 2019

Will Trump Lose the Hardliner Vote in Florida?

The clash of bases for President Trump is, as so many other things in the administration, unusual and self-defeating. On the one hand, we have the traditional appeal to Cuban-Americans and now also Venezuelan-Americans about harsh policies toward those respective governments. Freedom and all that. On the other, we have the appeal to the racist and rabidly anti-immigrant base, which does not want non-white immigrants of any kind.

That creates what the Associated Press describes today for Cuba.

Since the end of the Obama administration, the number of Cubans deported from the U.S. has increased more than tenfold to more than 800 in the past year as the Trump administration enforces a new policy inked just days before it took over. It is also imposing its own sharp limits on who is eligible for asylum. That’s an unwelcome development for growing numbers of asylum-seeking Cubans who had long benefited from a generous U.S. approach and their government’s unwillingness to take its people back.
So remember that Obama ended the infamous "wet-foot, dry-foot" policy, so that part is not new. The big difference is that Obama viewed it as part of an overall policy of engagement:
During my Administration, we worked to improve the lives of the Cuban people - inside of Cuba - by providing them with greater access to resources, information and connectivity to the wider world. Sustaining that approach is the best way to ensure that Cubans can enjoy prosperity, pursue reforms, and determine their own destiny. As I said in Havana, the future of Cuba should be in the hands of the Cuban people.
Trump kept the new immigration policy and ended the engagement, and even though Obama was an active deporter-in-chief, Trump takes it to an entirely new level with a blanket policy of basically wanting to deny asylum to anyone. And he also cut consular services to make it almost impossible for anyone to get a visa legally.

I've written before about how he touts his hard line against Venezuela, which exacerbates emigration, then refuses to allow Venezuelans to find refuge in the United States.

The big question is how this affects Florida in 2020. Trump won the state by only just over 100,000 votes so he cannot afford to lose many voters. Now, many of those voters are the other base, the one that likes tough talk but does not want more non-white people coming in. But what would it take for Trump lose the hardline Cuban-American and Venezuelan-American vote? Whoever becomes the Democratic candidate would be well-served to bring up the refugee/asylum issue.

For the time being, Trump's position is entirely anti-immigrant and everything else is subservient to that. People who have his ear (such as Marco Rubio) will try to get him to find some solution, but there is no way to know if he would follow it.


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