As polls in Florida closed on Tuesday, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden led President Donald Trump in Miami-Dade County by less 10 percentage points with approximately 93 percent of the in-person and vote-by-mail results counted.
The modest lead—smaller than Democrats had anticipated in Florida’s largest county—weakens Biden’s chances of securing the state’s 29 electoral votes. The Trump campaign zeroed in on Miami-Dade in a strategic bid to shave Biden’s advantage in one of the state’s largest counties by targeting voters with family histories of escaping repressive socialist regimes, such as those in Cuba and Venezuela. Much of that is likely due to the Trump campaign’s disinformation strategies aimed at dissuading Latinos from voting for Biden. This included co-opting Latino mixed martial arts fighters for anti-socialism events and rallies.
Last month, Donald Trump Jr. orchestrated a four-part “Fighters Against Socialism” bus tour, which made its way across the state of Florida with events in Tampa, Orlando, Coconut Creek, and Miami. The events featured Ultimate Fighting Championship star Jorge Masvidal, who spoke at each of the rallies. As the son of a Cuban immigrant who escaped Cuba on a tire, the UFC fighter was more than happy to speak out against the “horrors” of communism and socialism. The reelection campaign hosted several Latinos for Trump events in various states involving Latino UFC fighters.
On Sunday, Nov. 1, the Trump campaign held a late-night rally at the Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport, where Masvidal was one of the main speakers.
“Latinos are not looking for free stuff. We want freedom,” Masvidal said at the rally in Miami. “We want opportunity. We want to know that if we bust our asses and make the right sacrifices, we will also get our share of the American Dream.”
On Monday, Masvidal appeared on FOX News, where he proclaimed a “red wave” in Florida. “People waited four hours yesterday for the rally and about 25,000 individuals were there. If that doesn’t tell you something, then I don’t know,” Masvidal told Laura Ingraham.
Trump’s campaign strategy of branding Biden as a vessel of socialism appears to have had an impact. While Latinos in Florida voted for Joe Biden over Donald Trump by 59 percent to 38 percent, Cuban Americans in Florida voted for Trump over Biden by 55 percent to 42 percent according to The American Election Eve poll., weakening Biden’s position in Miami-Dade as compared to that enjoyed in the county by Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Trump, who declared himself a Florida resident in 2019, won the state in the 2016 election. A renewed victory in Florida is critical to his chances for a second term.
The Miami Herald reports:
In 2016, Trump overcame a strong showing by Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in Miami-Dade to win Florida by 1.2%. Clinton dominated the county by 30 points and 290,000 votes.
Neither party expected Biden to perform as well as Clinton in Miami-Dade in 2020. But the question was whether Trump could cut into the size of Biden’s Miami-Dade win.
Early Tuesday evening, it looked like the president was on his way to doing so, as county elections officials began sharing the results of in-person voting from Tuesday.
Matthew Isbell, a Democratic data analyst, told the Miami Herald that Biden is making strong gains in “working class” and “suburban areas” like Pinellas, Duval and Seminole counties. But a “major swing in Miami-Dade is eating those up,” he said in a text message Tuesday night.