Politics

Clinton Solidifies Her Grip On The Latino Vote Nationally With Big Florida Win

Hillary Clinton beat Bernie Sanders among Hispanics 69% to 31%, helping to power her to a major win in the state and dealing a blow to Sanders effort to court Latino voters.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

MIAMI — As Clinton supporters at her event Tuesday waited for the big win in Florida, a new song played on the speaker system. “La Gozadera,” a raucous Latino anthem by Gente de Zona and Marc Anthony blared, interrupting TV reporters with it’s first line: “Miami me lo confirmo.”

And just like the song, Miami and the rest of Florida’s large Hispanic community confirmed something for Clinton: Her strength with the critical voting bloc — one that looks different in key states — has now helped deliver big wins in Texas and Florida where 27.5% of all Latinos in the country live.

The results looked similar to Texas and other counties around the country where Hispanics are densely populated. Clinton won 69% of Latino support in Florida, compared to just 31% for Sanders. She performed well across all groups, with 74% support from Latinas and 72% from the sizable non-Cuban Hispanic population in Florida where Puerto Ricans, Colombians, Venezuelans, and others contribute to a Latino voter profile that is different than in other states.

Florida always looked like a tough state for Sanders, with its older population and demographics. And while he had support in a place like Nevada that has younger Latinos with 50% of eligible voters at 18 to 35 years old, that figure was only 35% in Florida.

“They are older Cubans and older Puerto Ricans,” said Pew Hispanic’s Mark Hugo Lopez. “They’re not recent immigrant communities.”

During a very bad night for Sanders where he lost all five states, there was a silver lining with Latino voters in Illinois, the only other state with a sizable Hispanic population, where they made up 9% of the electorate. There, Sanders battled Clinton to a 49-49 tie, according to exit polls.

Clinton devoted a fair amount of her speech to Donald Trump on Tuesday, saying that deporting 12 million people and banning Muslims from entering the country as he has proposed is not “strong” but “wrong.” Some on her campaign have been working behind the scenes on a major Latino unity show of force concert anticipating Trump.

At the famed Versailles in Little Havana, the self-proclaimed “world’s most famous Cuban restaurant,” Trump was on the mind of Clinton voters, too.

Luisa Benjabib, an American citizen from Peru who was once undocumented, stood away from the crowd enjoying strong Cuban cafecitos and pastelitos de guayaba y queso. As she held her little dog wearing an “I Voted” sticker, she at first hesitated to say who she had voted for, aware of the throng of opinionated Cuban Republicans arguing about politics just feet away. “Hillary,” she said, in a low whisper, after prodding.

“Trump will take away my citizenship and send me back to Peru and my baby will stay here,” she joked in Spanish, even though she is a citizen. Throughout its history, the United States has been a “country not just for white people but also for immigrants,” she said.


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Adrian Carrasquillo is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Adrian Carrasquillo at adrian.carrasquillo@buzzfeed.com.
 
 

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