Trump vs. Hillary 2016, Cuba policy, predictions and promises to keep.
|30+ precincts in MDC with highest CA voters concentration show Trump won by 58% and Rubio won by 69%|
The Free Cuba Foundation made bold predictions during the 2016 election that were proved true and now a founding leader of the group has made a bold and new prediction. "If Trump keeps his pledge to roll back the Obama Administration's Cuba policy replacing it with one that prioritizes U.S. interests, greater freedom and human rights for Cubans then Cuba will be free without the Castros during President Trump's first four year term," said Augusto Monge of the Free Cuba Foundation. This founding leader of the Free Cuba Foundation went on to say that the New York businessman's initial lukewarm support for the Obama Cuba policy had Cuban American support bottom out at 33% earlier this year. However Mr. Trump's support grew to at least 58% on election day after he had promised to roll back the Obama Administration's Cuba policy and reached out to Cuban American leaders.
If as some claim 570,878 Cuban Americans voted in the 2016 election and Mr. Trump saw a 25 point shift in support that correlates with his announced change in Cuba policy translating to 142,719 additional votes. A total of 331,109 Cuban Americans voted for Mr. Donald Trump on November 8, 2016.
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. The shift in that vote alone, possibly by Cuba policy single issue voters, provided the margin for taking Florida and exceeded it by 22,749 votes.
There was an attempt by some in the media to explain the low level of support for Donald Trump among Cuban Americans mentioning almost everything else but Cuba policy. There were also attempts to push the idea that if Mr. Trump rejected the Obama Cuba policy his numbers among Cuban Americans would go even lower. It was a Free Cuba Foundation member that reminded readers of The Miami Herald in May of 2016 that the Republican nominee's troubles with the Cuban American vote had little to do with immigration but a lot to do with his support for the Obama Cuba policy.
On September 17, 2016 the Free Cuba Foundation reported what the situation had been before the September 16th announcement:
"For the first time ever in a presidential election both major party candidates were backing normalizing relations with the Castro regime. This position would have hurt Republicans more than Democrats because part of their base of Cuban American voters, in Hialeah for example, are working class and vote Republican out of their anti-communism, not economic interests. Until yesterday Cuba policy was going to be a wash in the 2016 presidential election with both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump supporting Obama's failed Cuba policy."
If GOP strategists had bought into the FIU Cuba Poll's claim that the Obama Administration's Cuba policy was supported by a majority of Cuban Americans and adopted a new position then the Cuban American vote would have gone the way of the Chinese American vote from reliably majority Republican to reliably majority Democrat.
However with Donald Trumps rejection and pledge to roll back the new Cuba policy it was clear that this was a game changer in the Cuban American vote because now there was a clear contrast on this issue.
“The last time there was a clear choice, a referendum, on U.S. Cuba policy took place between two presidential candidates in 1980, where Jimmy Carter decided to open the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, lifted the travel embargo on Cuba and began direct negotiations with the Castro regime only to be defeated by Ronald Reagan who promised to reverse the policy,” explained Augusto Monge, co founding member of the Free Cuba Foundation. Augusto, also observed that “As in 1980, like today in 2016, the fruits of the normalization policy with the Castro regime are decidedly rotten. The human rights situation in the island has worsened; the regime's subversive influence in Latin America expanded threatening democratic governments friendly to the United States.”
The Free Cuba Foundation also predicted that this difference between the two candidates on Cuba policy would place the FIU Cuba poll under greater scrutiny:
"This new contrast over Cuba will test the FIU poll of Miami Cubans that claims strong support for Obama's Cuba policy among Cuban Americans. In stark contrast, Marco Rubio who repudiated the Obama Cuba policy won the Cuban American vote in Miami-Dade County handily even though he lost the rest of Florida in the Republican primary. Trump's about face on Cuba policy is good news for the GOP in South Florida where Cuban Americans upset over the the administration's December 17, 2014 announcement now potentially have a candidate that they can support."
The results on November 8, 2016 found candidates that rejected Obama's Cuba policy winning their elections in Miami-Dade County. Furthermore statewide Senator Marco Rubio, a tough critic of Obama's Cuba policy, decried by the anti-Embargo lobby as out of touch with his electorate won the state by a larger margin than Mr. Trump and got 69% of the Cuban American vote.
Those who advocate continuing Obama's failed Cuba policy are doing all they can to minimize the role Cuban Americans played in Florida in the November 8, 2016 elections but the emerging facts make it more difficult each day that goes by. However it is important to recall that these same people in 2014 downplayed how Cuba policy negatively impacted Charlie Crist in the Florida governor's race after he too initially bought into the anti-embargo lobby's siren song and contributed to Rick Scott's second term as the Governor of Florida.
There is an attempt to look at the vote in Florida and claim that it was the white non-hispanic vote with its increased turn out that won the state for Trump, but that does not negate that if President elect Trump had not courted the Cuban American vote and vowed to roll back the Obama Administration's failed Cuba policy it would have impacted the result. Like it or not facts are facts and the Republican nominees victory margin in Florida was 119,970 votes and the shift in the Cuban American vote for Mr. Trump from 33% support to at least 58% supports translated into at least 142,719 additional votes that made history on November 8, 2016.