As Trump Gained Latino Support in Florida, Biden’s Campaign Ignored Warnings

As Trump Gained Latino Support in Florida, Biden’s Campaign Ignored Warnings

On October 29th, Chris Wills, the Hispanic vote director for Joe Biden in South Florida, sent an e-mail to the campaign’s leadership, with the subject line “WE ARE ON TRACK TO LOSE FLORIDA.” In Miami-Dade County, a liberal stronghold, Republicans were ahead of Democrats in turnout by six per cent among early voters and held a lead among Latinos of eight per cent. If immediate action was not taken, Wills warned, Biden would fail to gain the level of support that Hillary Clinton had won, in 2016, in the state’s most populous county. “There is still time to get our vote out,” Wills wrote. “If the response continues to be excuses, the statement made in my subject line will become a reality.” His direct supervisors, members of the campaign’s national leadership and the state director, Jackie Lee, were copied on the e-mail. No one responded. Two days later, with less than forty-eight hours of early voting left, Wills followed up with a second message. “The Republicans wiped out another 40,594 votes from our lead,” he wrote. “Nothing different is being done in our state to change our trajectory towards a loss.” It, too, went unanswered.

On November 3rd, Donald Trump carried Florida by nearly four hundred thousand votes, more than twice the margin that he received in 2016. Four years after Clinton won Miami-Dade by thirty percentage points, Biden performed dismally—beating Trump by only seven per cent. Democrats lost two House seats, along with key races at the county and state levels. To the shock of many Democrats, Trump improved his standing in Miami-Dade in majority Latino, Black, and white precincts alike. Exit polls showed that he won roughly fifty-five per cent of the Cuban-American vote, thirty per cent of the Puerto Rican vote, and forty-eight per cent among myriad other Latino diasporas. Wills was shattered by the results but not surprised. For months, he had been pleading for help. Wills and his fiancée, Daniela Ferrera, a campaign volunteer, have blamed the campaign’s state leadership for contributing to Biden’s disastrous performance in Florida.