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Presidential elections in the United States 2020: new poll of the Cuban-American vote

cubanoamericanos-votos-580x326Only one month remains before the new president who will occupy the White House in January 2021 is elected. To date, Democratic candidate Joe Biden leads his Republican contender Donald Trump by an average of 7.8 points in the intention to vote in the polls. of national opinion. According to the specialized portal Real Clear Politics, 50.5% of those surveyed indicated that they would vote for Biden, while 42.7 would vote for Trump.

As is known, the popular vote does not decide the winner of the elections, taking into account that it is a process of indirect suffrage. Candidates must win each state to add voters and obtain at least 270 electoral college votes out of a total of 538. According to Real Clear Politics, Biden has secured 226 electoral votes so far, Trump 125 and the remaining 187 are in dispute.

Taking into account the millions of dollars in advertising investment in television by the Democratic and Republican Party, the electoral battle is concentrated in Pennsylvania, with 20 electoral votes and Florida with 29, considered the most competitive and decisive states in these elections. Several studies indicate that if President Donald Trump does not succeed in Florida, he will lose reelection.

The Democratic candidate is also leading in Florida, by an average of 2 points. According to Real Clear Politics, 47.8% of those polled indicated that they would vote for Biden, while 45.8% would vote for Trump. It is precisely in that state where 70% of the Cuban-American community resides, with more than 1,200,000 people. Around 650,000 of them are registered to vote, which represents 6% of the electorate.

Historically, Cuban-American voters have favored the Republican Party, although that trend has been weakening in recent years. That is why both parties strive to secure the largest number of votes from that community, taking into account the closeness of the contest, and that it could decide if the competition is very close.

In this context, a new survey was carried out by Florida International University on the position of Cuban Americans, which has been carried out every two years since the 1990s. The results were published this Friday and are based on a telephone survey – between the July 7 and August 17, 2020- 1002 Cuban-Americans residing in Miami-Dade County. The criteria of the interviewees are very diverse and ambivalent, although there are greater percentages of agreement on some issues such as President Trump’s handling of the economy, medical care, and policy towards the island. [1]

The study shows that 59% of the Cuban-Americans interviewed indicated that they would vote for Trump, and only 25% would vote for Biden. 68% approve the imposition of new sanctions to force a “regime change” in Cuba and 54% support the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the US government against their country of origin.

However, 66% consider that the blockade has not worked or has not worked very well, and 57% support suspending sanctions against Cuba during the COVID-19 pandemic. 58% approve the resumption of the issuance of visas in the US embassy in Havana and 60% the family reunification program.

Research also shows that the community supports some of the policies implemented by then-President Barack Obama towards Cuba. 74% support the sale of medicines, 69% the sale of food, 65% the resumption of air travel to all regions of the country and 58% in maintaining diplomatic relations.

For Guillermo J. Grenier, director of the study and head of the Department of Global and Sociocultural Studies at Florida International University, the biggest surprise in the results is the progress of the Republican Party in the community, mainly among Cubans who recently arrived United States. 76% of respondents who arrived between 2010 and 2015 said they were Republicans.

This is a very complex subject to analyze and one that would require further investigation. The reality is that it is still very difficult to forecast the Cuban-American vote on November 3. It should be taken into account that these elections take place in the middle of a scenario of systemic crisis in the United States, aggravated by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which exceeds 208 thousand deaths and 7 million 300 thousand people infected ; the economic recession that has caused that 30 million people have had to request unemployment benefits and almost 40 million are threatened of being expelled from their homes due to accumulated defaults; and anti-racist mobilizations and police abuse.

In the past seven months, political polarization has increased and the current administration has fostered division, hatred and violence in American society. In this environment, the Cuban-American extreme right encourages the US executive to escalate hostility against the Cuban Revolution, using the alleged “communist threat” as a pretext. The unusual thing is that on this occasion they accuse the democrats of embracing socialist ideas, which has no theoretical or practical support.

It is part of his strategy to promote fear, chaos and uncertainty within the Cuban-American community. Trump uses the far-right of Cuban origin to discredit the Democrats and exacerbate the phobia against socialism. Furthermore, it is clear that there is a mutual convenience in employing Cuban Americans as a spearhead in the Latino community, which overwhelmingly rejects the tenant of the White House.

In recent weeks, desperate actions have been seen in the face of a possible Republican electoral defeat. It was the panorama that was experienced in the first presidential debate, which left much to be desired due to the embarrassing performance of Trump, who in the middle of the show showed serious personality problems and used his main political weapon: the lie.

The Washington Post recently acknowledged that past presidents have lied or misrepresented the truth, but Trump’s distortions are on an epic scale. As of July, according to a database maintained by the Post, Trump had made more than 20,000 false or misleading statements in just three and a half years, including more than 1,000 exclusively about the coronavirus. The most common false claims are that you have been a participant in the best moment of the economy of all time, and that you approved the largest tax cut in history. [two]

Among these repeated lies are those dedicated to attacking Cuba and trying to distance the Cuban-American community from its homeland, sowing hatred and neglect. For these purposes they allocate millionaire sums of money and use all the methods at their disposal, including internet social networks. It was to be expected that these positions would be stoked by Trump in the next presidential debate scheduled for October 15 in Miami, but it will not be possible because, paradoxically, the US president tested positive for COVID-19 and is admitted to be cured of the disease.

More than a century ago, the most universal of Cubans, José Martí, visited several American cities to contribute to the dissemination of the work that was being carried out in the resumption of the fight for the independence of Cuba, submitted as a colony and threatened by the desires of the “ a thriving and ambitious neighbor ”. On November 26, 1891, he gave an emotional speech at the Cuban Lyceum in Tampa and is known by the phrase “With everyone and for the good of all.” Due to its validity, I share only one fragment that invites all worthy Cubans to reflect: “Enough of mere words! From the torn entrails let us raise an inextinguishable love for the Homeland without which no man lives happily, neither the good nor the bad ”. [3]

(By: Abel González Santamaría/ Cubadebate)

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