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Biden strengthens Latino outreach with appeal to Puerto Rican voters in Florida

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden will speak in Tampa, Florida on September 15, 2020, during a roundtable discussion with Tampa area veterans and military families.

Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images

WASHINGTON – Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden visited South Florida on Tuesday, trying to support the support of Hispanic voters in this important swing state.

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7;s journey came after a poll of Florida voters was released last week that sent shockwaves through the Democratic Party. The poll by NBC News and Marist found President Donald Trump leading Biden among Latino voters by four points, 50-46.

Four years ago, Democrat Hillary Clinton won Spanish voters in Florida by 25 points, 60-35, though she generally lost the state. According to the NBC poll, Biden Clinton underperformed by 29 points with a major demographic in a key state.

Historically, Republicans tend to do better with Latin American voters in Florida than they do elsewhere because of the state’s large concentration of Cuban Americans who lean toward Republicans.

Nevertheless, the NBC survey results resulted only 50 days before election day in sounding alarm bells at the Biden campaign.

On Saturday, the Biden campaign unveiled a trio of new Spanish-language ads that will be shown in Florida, each targeting a specific group of Spanish voters.

On Sunday, billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s aides announced that the former Democratic primary candidate will spend $ 100 million to support Biden in Florida, essentially freeing up the campaign to place money set aside for Florida in other battlefield states like Pennsylvania.

On Tuesday night, Biden’s first big speech was aimed directly at Latin American voters in Florida. But not just Latin American voters: Puerto Rican voters.

Biden’s pitch to Puerto Ricans

The former vice president gave his speech at a celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month in Kissimmee. While there were no crowds, the location reflected his campaign’s efforts to do justice to Puerto Rican voters. Kissimmee is home to Osceola County, the only county in America where Puerto Ricans surpass all other ancestral groups.

Before taking the stage, Biden was introduced by two world-famous Puerto Rican artists, Ricky Martin and Luis Fonsi, and by Spanish-speaking American actress and activist Eva Longoria.

Musician Ricky Martin speaks before the arrival of Democratic US presidential candidate Joe Biden at a Hispanic Heritage Month event at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, Florida, USA, on September 15, 2020.

Leah Millis | Reuters

In prepared remarks, former Vice President tore Trump’s approach to U.S. territory.

“Even after being president for four years, Donald Trump does not seem to understand that the people of Puerto Rico are already US citizens,” he said.

“I’m running to be president of all Americans, including 3 million Americans living in Puerto Rico. I do not want to steal the money desperately needed to reconstruct the island to build a wall that does nothing for teams “I’m not suggesting that we sell or trade Puerto Rico. I do not want to throw away paper towels whose lives have been destroyed by the hurricane,” Biden said.

Last fall, Trump moved $ 300 million away from cash-strapped disaster relief agencies to fund border security projects, including his “wall” project at the southern border. In the wake of Hurricane Maria in 2017, Trump reportedly wondered aloud whether the United States could “sell” the island or “sell off” it. And during a rare visit to Puerto Rico shortly after the hurricanes, Trump threw rolls of paper towels into a crowd of survivors in a relief center.

Biden also said Tuesday that while he personally supports the addition of Puerto Rico as a state, he will work on both sides of what is a bitter debate on the island, letting voters there ultimately decide their course.

A plan for Puerto Rico

Along with Biden’s visit, the campaign released a multi-stranded plan Tuesday afternoon to help rebuild and revive Puerto Rico, home to 3 million U.S. citizens. Two devastating hurricanes in 2017 left millions of Puerto Ricans without power for several months, causing more than a hundred thousand to move to the mainland.

Today, Florida is home to more than a million people who identify as Puerto Rican. Nationwide, Puerto Ricans represent the second largest pool of Hispanic voters in the country after Mexican Americans. In Florida, more than one in four Latino voters identify as Puerto Rican.

Key Elements of Bidens Puerto Rico Plan:

– Offer direct federal investment in infrastructure projects and forgive federal disaster relief

– Offers Puerto Ricans more access to community-based health care and SNAP food assistance

– Relieve Puerto Rico’s huge debt burden by reversing austerity measures and restructuring some of the debt

In a statement accompanying the new plan, the Biden campaign criticized Trump’s response to the 2017 hurricanes in Puerto Rico.

They also raised the account of Elaine Duke, a former top official at the Department of Homeland Security. Earlier this year, Duke told The New York Times that after Hurricane Maria, Trump pondered whether the United States could sell Puerto Rico.

Overall, Biden’s plan for Puerto Rico and his direct appeal to Puerto Rican voters on Tuesday is the best example to date of what the Biden campaign says is an ultra-targeted strategy with Latin American voters.

Micro-targeted outreach

In response to concerns over last week’s NBC poll, Biden’s campaign assistants over the weekend stressed that their outreach to Spanish voters has expanded dramatically in recent weeks and now includes full-time Spanish-speaking focused mobilization efforts in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, Nevada and Texas.

“The road to victory includes winning important battlefield states, and we will do so by building a culturally competent campaign targeted at states with heavy Spanish populations,” senior political adviser Jorge Neri said in a conference call with journalists on Sunday.

Biden helpers also stressed how carefully targeted their Spanish language spread is, up to and including the use of different Spanish accents in multiple versions of each campaign ad, accents tailored to the geographical origins of the Spanish population in different markets.

Below is one of the Spanish language ads that Biden launched this weekend.

Currently, Biden ads appearing in the media markets of Miami and Tampa are expressed in Cuban-accented Spanish. In and around Orlando, voters hear a Puerto Rican accent. And in West Palm, Fort Myers and across Arizona, the narrator has a Mexican accent.

“It is indispensable because we know that our society, we share a language, but we have a huge diversity of experiences, and from these experiences we have similar priorities, but we also have many unique interests,” said the Democratic National Committee. President Tom Perez to journalists. .

It is impossible to say at this time whether Biden’s play for Puerto Rican voters will bear fruit. But already this week, there are signs that the NBC / Marist poll may have been just an outlier, and that Biden is actually doing better with Latino voters in Florida than it seemed to be last week.

On Tuesday, Monmouth University released a new poll in Florida that showed Biden, who won Latino voters 58 to 32 over Trump, a figure much closer to Clinton’s margin in 2016.

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