TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Political experts believe the Latino vote can tip the scale in this year’s presidential election. The changing landscape of Hispanic subgroups and changing political values are making it a tight race in the battleground state of Florida.
We often think Latinos share similar values, but Latinos are not a monolith. You need to take into consideration our heritage, upbringing and socio-economic status when you look at which side – Democratic or Republican – members of the large voting bloc will lean toward.
Historically, Cubans in Miami-Dade and Broward counties have leaned conservative at the polls, as many immigrated during the Castro regime.
In Tampa, it’s not the same. Cubans in the bay area can vote either way depending on their heritage. Many can trace their lineage to immigrants and laborers who helped develop Ybor City and identify with Democratic values passed down through the generations.
USF Political Science Professor Dr. Ed Benton says younger Cuban-Americans also lean left.
“They don’t identify with the anti-Castro feeling which benefits the Republican candidate,” Dr. Benton said.
Elio Muller of Tampa is a Cuban-American whose father was exiled from the communist country three times for having opposing political beliefs. That has driven Muller to fervently fight to maintain a democracy in the U.S.
“I was born in Cuba and lost my country to a totalitarian dictatorship. We