Trump has seen his popularity reduced but the extreme suspicion on the part of the population towards the idea of Socialism could undermine Biden
The bombardment of election ads is relentless in Florida. One billboard every few hundred meters on highways. Radio radio spots in English, Creole and Spanish, with various accents, broadcast at each disconnection.
The sunny southern state of the country is one of the main places in contention in the elections of November 3, and the campaigns of Donald Trump and Joe Biden have put all the meat on the spit to scratch the largest possible number of votes.
Florida gives the winner 29 electoral college votes, essential for winning the Presidency. The current US leader won there with a mere 113,000 votes difference – 1.2 percentage points – over Hillary Clinton. Now Biden leads the polls, although just 3.3 points ahead of Trump, according to the consolidated of polls carried out by ‘The Guardian’, practically within the margin of error. Anything can still happen.
The battle for Florida is being fought in places like Little Havana, an area of Miami where the Latino community is the majority. Salsa is heard in restaurants and bars, and much of the signage in the place is written in Spanish. There are many buildings that share the American flag with the Cuban ensign – the largest resident group in the area – Puerto Rican or Nicaraguan.
Many go to the polls with an eye toward the situation in their home countries. “I am Cuban, very capitalist and super pro Republican. Biden is not a bad candidate, but he has the socialist agenda of his party behind him. I agree that they give everyone a hand, but not that my taxes keep the people, “says Ana María Hernández, a US citizen who came to the country from the Caribbean island 62 years ago.
Trump and his advisers have pointed out on numerous occasions that Biden’s environment is going to be friends with the ultra-left governments of Latin America, something that has earned them some popularity among part of the Latino community, which accounts for more than 17% of the voters of the southern state.
Biden leads among them, with a 6% advantage over Trump, according to an analysis by CNN, but the difference is less than what Clinton enjoyed in 2016. The former first lady won the Latino vote with a 21% difference over the current American leader.
Trump would have managed to reduce the distance, some of the analysts believe, due to the heavy-handed policy against the governments of Cuba, Nicaragua or Venezuela.
“I like that Trump has made another embargo against Cuba. People there will not have other opportunities until communism falls. My parents came here to work from Cuba. They made a life. We never had a lot of money … We came to work and we do not want free things, “says, while raising a flag in support of the Republicans, Orestes Padrón, a former employee at a telephone company, who arrived in Miami at the age of three.
PANDEMIC AND THE THIRD AGE
Another of the most relevant population segments in Florida is the elderly. They are more than 21% of voters in a state known to be a favorite retirement place for American retirees.
Trump easily won Florida among those 65 and older in 2016. He separated Clinton by 17 points, according to exit polls, in that segment. But now, that support could be eroding. Biden would prevail among the elderly with 47% of the votes, for the 45% that Trump would obtain, according to a poll published by The New York Times.
One of the main causes, according to analysts, is the contempt of the pandemic, which affects the elderly, by the president.
Something that has not made Ana María, who enters the segment, change her vote. “The coronavirus is a problem, but the president’s measures have nothing to do with it. Besides, if he, Castro or whoever tells me now that I have to jump off a bridge, I’m not going to do it because I have two fingers. But he will never look good. The president, unfortunately, cannot create panic, he did not create this pandemic, and unfortunately we are all the same in the world, “he says.
Daniel Thompson, a Biden follower who works in the financial sector, is not of the same opinion. “What about Trump with the pandemic is lie, after lie, after lie. He knew how dangerous it was, and he has belittled it, putting us all in danger,” he says, next to a cafeteria of a large North American chain, which does not serve in inside the premises and has placed their tables on the street, at a wide distance from each other.
“The president does not support liberal democracy as we know it. He clearly believes that it is above the law and wants us to accept that he will ruin the country as an apprentice dictator, which is what he wants to be,” he adds.
Biden’s supporters also refuse to be branded as radical leftists. “I’m not a socialist. I was a registered Republican voter for more than 30 years. I changed parties last year because I couldn’t take this anymore. Hate groups scare me. Four years ago you didn’t see so many militias. But this president has welcomed those groups, because they are part of his followers, “says Olga Guerra, a descendant of Cuban migrants, 53, in one of the most polarized states in the country.