Sen. Bernie Sanders is facing some heat for his remarks about the Cuban Revolution. For all the media’s railing against President Trump for his supposed embrace of strongmen, Sanders showers some Latin American figures with roses; they’re fellow leftists. He’s loathed to condemn them. Authoritarianism is bad unless is some communist is engaging it. For Sanders, his 60 Minutes interview was ridiculous. The Cuban Revolution wasn’t all bad. Yeah, there were firing squads but hey—everyone knows how to read. That’s quite the pivot.
Florida Democrats are now saying because of those remarks, and for who Sanders is politically, that he’s the worst to take the fight to Trump. For the many Latino communities in Southern Florida, Sanders is peddling the exact same nonsense they fled in their home countries. By a wide margin, the socialist label is poison to these voters. Now, while some lawmakers in the state are Joe Biden supporters, they warn that if Bernie is the 2020 Democratic nominee, Trump wins the Sunshine State again. Other Democrats, who are neutral, have also signaled that Sanders’ remarks about the Cuban regime are troubling (via Politico):
“Donald Trump wins Florida if Bernie is our nominee,” said state Rep. Javier Fernandez, a Democratic candidate in a majority-Hispanic state Senate district.
“If Bernie Sanders is atop the ticket, it’s going to make it tougher for all of us to win in Florida,” said Fernandez, who has endorsed Sanders’s rival, Joe Biden. “No one really sees Sanders winning Florida and I don’t think his campaign does either.”
Florida doesn’t have a single Latino community. It has immigrants and exiles from multiple Latin American countries where “socialism” is a loaded term. When Sanders says he wants to lead a “revolution,” it sounds like “revolución!” to many in South Florida who fled Castro and other leftist regimes. Sanders’s supporters have even earned the nickname “Sandernistas,” a play on Sandinistas, the socialist guerillas who overthrew the right-wing Samoza dictatorship in Nicaragua in 1979.
…in South Florida, the totality of Sanders’ record promises to be a drag on Democrats keeping and turning out Latinos, said Christian Ulvert, a Democratic consultant who specializes in Hispanic outreach.
Last year, Ulvert conducted a poll that showed 68 percent of the Hispanic-heavy Miami-Dade electorate overall — and 65 percent of Hispanics — in the county said they would be less likely to favor a candidate who is aligned with Sanders or his ally, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Only 13 percent of Hispanics and 28 percent of voters overall favored Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez.
There isn’t any public polling that specifically tests Sanders favorability rating and perceptions about socialism among Florida’s Latino voters, but a survey released earlier this month from the Democratic firm Equis Research showed how unique Florida is when it comes to Sanders and Latinos. The state was the only one of 10 it surveyed where Latino voters viewed Sanders less favorably than favorably. His net image rating was -6, the same as Trump in Florida.
Nationwide, a Telemundo poll showed Latinos would be less likely to vote for a socialist candidate by a 41-point margin.
It’s a mixed bag. Jeff Weaver, a top Sanders adviser, doesn’t sweat the polling. He told the publication that Sanders’ strength with young voters is what will give the self-described democratic socialist and left-wing Latin American strongman admirer a chance in Florida. Still, there are plenty of Democrats in the state, like Rep. Stephanie Murphy, who worry about his rhetoric. She told Politico the Vermont senator’s remarks were insulting and eye-rolled at Castro’s literacy pivot, which she noted was just a ploy for him to increase and consolidate his power by brainwashing the masses to his political whims. As with any election, this is going to be about turning out the most hardcore and energetic from both bases. It’s going to be very, very nasty.