Do Democrats Have a Hispanic Problem in Florida?

It was a hard wake-up call on November 6 for Democrats in Florida.  While collectively we need to do some soul searching about our underperformance, there will be detractors claiming to have “THE REASON WE LOST” explanations.  As we begin the process of analyzing data and breaking-down the complex question of what went right and what went wrong, let’s agree that there will be different perspectives to consider and strive to keep the discussion civil and productive.

One argument is our “Hispanic Problem” – that the diligent courtship and energetic pursuit of Latino voters contributed to victories for our opponents.  In Florida, Hispanics represent a much broader cross section of Latin America than elsewhere in the country and as a demographic make-up one-sixth of our state’s electorate.  Remembering that we are the ultimate swing state, the key to winning in Florida is all about MANAGING MARGINS.  The difference between winning and losing is BEING PRESENT ALL THE TIME and not just a few months before Election Day.  The difference between winning and losing is recognizing the diverse demographic within Florida’s “Hispanic Vote” – Cuban, Puerto Rican, Columbian, Venezuelan, Mexican, Ecuadoran, Peruvian, Guatemalan, Salvadoran – and mobilizing early in terms of campaigning and communicating.  The “Obama Playbook” included a Hispanic strategy that worked, but it took time and money.  Republicans have invested in Hispanic outreach for decades.  If Democrats want to win in Florida, MARGINS MATTER.  It’s not about mailers – it’s about MOBILIZING this diverse demographic group and understanding the complexity of winning this vote.

To explain what they perceive as “The Democrats’ Hispanic Problem,” writers Michael Grunwald and Marc Caputo provide insight in today’s Politico Magazine feature story.  We suggest you read it for a perspective on the issue.

Michael Grunwald is a senior staff writer for Politico Magazine.
Marc Caputo is POLITICO’s Florida political reporter.


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