Florida’s growing Latino electorate presents challenges for both parties

ORLANDO, Fla. — Election analysts are looking closely at Florida and Texas, both states where the Latino vote swung heavily for Donald Trump.

The size and extensive diversity of that growing voting bloc presents challenges for both Democrats and Republicans.

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Lorella Praeli of Community Change Action says these voters feel as though they’re ignored until there’s an election.

“Every four years, it is almost as if we were just discovering the Latinx electorate,” she says.

In a post-election conference call, leaders discussed the increased focus on this growing demographic.

“There are no shortcuts to organize Latinx voters. You have to do the work in Florida...the GOP did the work,” Praeli adds.

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That work included knocking on thousands of doors in South Florida and pushing an anti-socialist message, while Democrats and the Biden campaign came in late with ad-buys and outreach.

Ballots are still being counted in Florida, but one thing is clear: Donald Trump did much better with Latinos this year than he did in 2016. Now, both parties are trying to figure out what comes next.

Gary Segura of Latino Decisions points out- tracking the last several elections- Clinton and Obama both overperformed with the Latino community, while Biden underperformed.

“I think there is a little bit of regression to the mean here,” Segura notes.

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There is also the issue that the Latino vote is not monolithic...Different groups move in different directions.

For either party to consolidate a majority means reaching out to various groups with specific messaging.