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Trump growth over 2016 with Latinos, blacks helped POTUS in Florida and other battlegrounds

"Overall, Trump is polling about 10 percentage points higher with African Americans than he did in 2016, and 14 percentage points higher with Hispanics," wrote Musa al-Gharbi in an essay for MSNBC.

Updated: November 3, 2020 - 11:54pm

President Trump's growth over 2016 with Latinos and black voters is helping the president lead election night in Florida and other key battleground states just before 11 p.m. Eastern Time.

Trump appears to be heading for victory in the electoral vote-rich state of Florida, a battleground that Democrats were hoping to pick up after losing narrowly in 2016. 

"How Latinos in Miami-Dade County helped Trump win Florida," read a Vox headline with reporting by Nicole Narea, pointing out how the Trump campaign's outreach to the prominent Cuban-American community in Florida (many of whose members say they are suspicious of the socialism of the Castro regime) took a big bite out of Hillary Clinton's 30-point margin in 2016 in Miami-Dade County, leaving Biden with just a 9-point lead, with 86% of precincts reporting. 

"Biden needed to win big in Miami-Dade County," Narea wrote. "But Trump ate into his margins among Latinos. Those gains — and Biden's failure to make up for those losses in other parts of the state — were significant enough to tip Florida in the president's favor in a tight contest."

In a story headlined "Can Biden Regain Lost Ground With Latinos?" the New York Times on Tuesday reported: "Several of the battleground states on a knife's edge ahead of Election Day — Florida, Texas, Arizona and even Pennsylvania — have large Latino populations. If Mr. Biden loses those states, let alone the election, the Democratic Party's post-mortem will surely include this question: Did Mr. Biden do too little, too late to court Latino voters, committing a strategic error that could be the 2020 version of Hillary Clinton taking Wisconsin for granted in 2016?"

The Atlantic's Christian Paz predicted an improvement by the president among Latinos in 2020 because of Trump's appeals regarding economic opportunity, traditional social values and "deeply held beliefs about individualism." 

"Democrats shouldn't be surprised if Trump matches or improves on his 2016 showing among Latinos, or if their votes help him hold battleground states," Paz wrote. "Republican Latinos have always existed, and the Trump campaign has dedicated significant resources to winning over more of the Hispanic community this election cycle."

Musa al-Gharbi, a fellow in sociology at Columbia University, wrote an MSNBC essay pointing out that despite mainstream media depictions of Trump as a racist, the president's approval rating has been rising among minority voters.

"His gains in the polling have been highly consistent and broad-based among Blacks and Hispanics — with male voters and female voters, the young and the old, educated and uneducated," al-Gharbi wrote. "Overall, Trump is polling about 10 percentage points higher with African Americans than he did in 2016, and 14 percentage points higher with Hispanics. Perceptions of Trump as racist seem to be a core driving force pushing whites toward the Democrats. Why would the opposite pattern be holding among minority voters — i.e. the very people the president is purportedly being racist against?"

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