Hispanic Democratic caucus chair fights for his party
Minutes before the Florida Hispanic Democratic Caucus meeting at the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando last Saturday afternoon, caucus chair Cesar Ramirez reviewed the list of speakers planning to address the rally, which included all main candidates for party governor, three US Senate candidates and one candidate for commissioner of agriculture.
âI want them to show emotion about the things that are going on right now that are hurting our community,â he said.
What would you like to know
- President Joe Biden won the Hispanic vote nationally 59% versus Donald Trump’s 38%
- In Florida, however, Trump won 55% of the Cuban vote, 30% of the Puerto Rican vote, and 48% of other Latinos.
- Florida Democrats say party candidates must get 60% of Hispanic vote to be successful in 2022
Although Donald Trump made inroads with the Hispanic vote nationwide in 2020, Joe Biden has consistently won that voting block, getting 59% of Trump’s 38%, according to Bench search.
In Florida, Trump won 55% of the Cuban vote, 30% of the Puerto Rican vote and 48% of “other Latinos,” according to NBC News at the end of the polls.
Florida Democratic Party Chairman Manny Diaz said Florida Democrats need to get 60 percent of the Hispanic vote to be successful in 2022.
Ramirez is determined his caucus will make a difference in the 2022 election, where Democrats are seen as underdogs in the first two races of the statewide ballot for Governor and Senate.
The South Bronx native said the Hispanic caucus is now running on all cylinders with 17 chapters in the state, nearly double the amount when he took the job a year ago.
But the narrative is that Democrats have issues with Latino voters, particularly in South Florida, where the GOP accuses the party of supporting socialist policies has resonated with a number of Cuban voters, Venezuelans and Colombians who escaped oppressive regimes.
âIt’s unfounded – these are sensational fears and we have to do a better job with our messages to let people know that,â said Ramirez, who is Puerto Rican. “You know what? I’m a Democrat and a Capitalist. I’m a Democrat and I love my money. I love making money. I love the Constitution. I love the First Amendment, the Second Amendment, the Third Amendment .
“You know, being a Democrat isn’t taboo, that doesn’t mean we don’t support small businesses.”
Ramirez said people need to understand that in many ways Hispanic voters are conservative and religious people, and Democrats need to meet them where they are.
He admits Democrats lack the financial resources that the Florida Republican Party enjoys.
âLet’s face it, we are working with 10 cents on their $ 10,â he said. “So we have to do it by the workforce. Social media. The things that don’t cost that much.”
Not all Florida Democrats think the situation is this bad.
âWe cleaned Republicans’ clocks in 2018 during congressional races,â said Orlando-area congressman Darren Soto. âThese races will come and go. Everyone acts as one electoral cycle and it is like a permanent victory. It’s bull.
Soto said it’s important to counter the misinformation Democrats encountered on Spanish radio in South Florida last year.
He said the Energy and Trade Committee will hold a field hearing in Miami in 2022 “on disinformation in Spanish to highlight all those people who are using fear to scare our seniors in the south of the Florida”.
Committee officials did not respond to Spectrum Bay News 9’s request for such a hearing.
On the west side of Corridor I-4, Hillsborough County also continued to have positive results for Democrats in 2020, but overall the election was seen as a debacle for the party, which also recently endured the indignity of losing its historic advantage among registered voters in the state.
The first candidate to address the Hispanic caucus on Saturday was Miami-Dade State Senator Annette Taddeo, the most recent major candidate to enter the Democratic race for governor.
“We are going to bring back the voters we lost, which is the Latino voters from all over the state,” she said. âYes, we’ve lost a lot, but we have to get them back. It’s about talking about our culture, understanding our values ââand getting them excited to vote.
Diaz later admitted the party had a messaging problem – claiming it was just missing one.
“We have to spend time together first of all, to talk about messaging, because obviously we don’t have a message,” he said in his remarks. “The message is there, it has always been there.”
Diaz then deduced that the party failed last year when it came to being labeled as a socialist.
He cited a 1984 Miami Herald article he had recently read, which cited him as responding to claims by Republicans in Miami at the time that Democrats were Communists and Socialists.
He said he responded by talking about issues affecting seniors and low income people.
âThat was almost 40 years ago – we’re still talking about the same thing,â Diaz said. “The difference is that back then, we were talking about other things. Today, we have stopped talking about other things.”