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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Cuban American repudiation of Obama Cuba policy cost Hillary Clinton Florida

Trying to get the facts out on the 2016 Cuban American vote in Florida

Miriam de la Peña talks with Donald Trump about Brothers to the Rescue Shootdown 
On September 17, 2016 the Free Cuba Foundation published a blog that stated "Obama's Cuba policy to be judged by Cuban Americans at the ballot box." This was because a day earlier Donald Trump who had been lukewarmly supporting President Obama's Cuba policy vowed to roll it backThis change was reflected in a dramatic improvement in his polling numbers. On October 25, 2016 the Republican presidential nominee hosted a breakfast with a small group of Cuban American leaders and listened to their concerns. Later that same day he received a formal and public endorsement of the Brigade 2506 Bay of Pigs Association in Little Havana. Trump’s support among Cuban-American voters in Florida was at 52 percent, up from 33 percent in September, prior to the change on Cuba policy, according to Andres Oppenheimer days before the election. On the eve of the Presidential election the New York businessman tweeted the following pledge:

On election day the Pew Research Center placed the percentage of Cuban Americans voting for Donald Trump at 54% and that is asserted by some to be a conservative estimate.

Let us do the math if as some claim 570,878 Cuban Americans voted in the 2016 election and Mr. Trump saw a 21 point shift in support that correlates with his announced change in Cuba policy this translated to 119,884 additional votes. A total of  308,274 Cuban Americans voted for Mr. Donald Trump. Now Mauricio Claver-Carone makes the case that the actual percentage maybe above 60%.

Not only does that overall number increase to 342,527 but also the number of Cuban Americans that switched their vote in favor of the New York businessman after he rejected Obama's Cuba policy is also higher at 154,137 votes.

Considering that President Elect Trump's margin of victory over Hillary Clinton in Florida was just 119,970 votes and the argument is not just that Cuban Americans were critical to the New York businessman's victory but that the dramatic increase in support was linked to U.S. Cuba policy and its rejection by a large number of Cuban American voters according to exit polls. At the low range the shift in that vote alone, possibly Cuba policy single issue voters, was at a minimum 86 votes short of providing the margin for taking Florida or at the higher end exceeded it by 34,167 votes.

If the Florida International University Cuba Poll were accurate and a majority of voting Cuban Americans supported Obama's Cuba policy then President Elect Trump would not have seen a 19 point surge in support when he promised to rollback President Obama's Cuba policy. Furthermore in South Florida one would not have seen all the well financed anti-embargo candidates running for Federal office defeated by crushing margins, even in majority Democrat districts.

There are those now who claim that the Cuban American vote was not a decisive factor in Trump's victory in Florida. They are wrong. This is not a matter of opinion but of the course of events over the past seven months and the math explained above. 

The Latino Decisions poll used by those making this claim is problematic for a number of reasons such as: it being sponsored by the National Council of La Raza that has a vested interest in pushing a particular narrative, it is a push poll with questions that provide information that would negatively impact the Latino vote for Republicans and finally no questions were asked about Obama's Cuba policy and how it would impact the vote. They could have also asked some of the following questions:
Would you be more or less likely to vote for Hillary Clinton after learning that she pressed President Obama to normalize relations with the Castro dictatorship and remove economic sanctions with no regards to the human rights situation in Cuba? 
Would you be more or less likely to vote for Hillary Clinton after learning that not only did President Bill Clinton shake hands with Fidel Castro in 2000 and open up cash and carry trade with Cuba a few months later but also met with and warmly received Raul Castro in 2015 in New York City? 
Would you be more or less likely to vote for Hillary Clinton after learning that the Cuba policy she lobbied for in the Obama Administration approved deals that led to discrimination against Cuban Americans because of their national origin denying them equal treatment because American companies Carnival and American Airlines wanted to bend over backwards to Cuban government demands?
If Latino Decisions had asked these question and as it did with their push poll questions informing on Republican hostility to President Obama's executive orders on immigration then the depth of Cuban American outrage could have been reflected in the polling and so many would not have been surprised on election day.

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