“We are working with Latinos and Latinas around the state who understand our differences and our subcultures, because we live in them every day.”
MIAMI — Latinos are a coveted voting bloc in the battleground state of Florida — but they’re not one group when it comes to their countries of origin and the issues on which they focus.
To that end, a progressive political action committee has been releasing a series of ads targeting specific Latino groups as the voting registration deadline approaches.
Forward Florida Action has begun airing Spanish-language radio ads this month across the state encouraging voters to register as Democrats before the deadline of next Tuesday to participate in the presidential primary.
One radio ad targeting Puerto Ricans tells prospective voters that as “our families suffer the impact of hurricanes and earthquakes, this president throws paper towels at our people,” referring to President Donald Trump’s gesture during his visit following Hurricane Maria.
Another radio ad, aimed at Florida’s Mexican American voters, tells them that after they made it in the United States through their labor and worked to become citizens, Trump and his administration don’t value them. “They tell us to go back to where we came from because they see our skin color and they hear us speaking Spanish,” the ad says. “Demand respect. … Be part of the change, and let’s choose a new president together.”
In a third radio ad geared toward the general Latino population, different narrators say things such as, “We came to escape oppression and to live in a country with democratic values,” as well as “We work, we study, and some of us do the work no one else wants to do. … We are fed up with the discrimination.”
Latin America “becomes domestic policy”
“We are so close to Latin America and the Caribbean that Latin America policy becomes domestic policy,” said Evelyn Pérez-Verdía, Forward Florida Action’s adviser for Latino issues. Former Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum founded the PAC after he lost a tight gubernatorial race in 2018.
On Wednesday, the group released a Spanish-language digital ad, featuring a young woman who is a recipient of DACA, the Obama-era program that allows young immigrants without legal status who have been in the U.S. since they were children to work and study in the country without fear of being deported. The Trump administration, as well as Republican governments in several states, want to get rid of the program, and the case is with the Supreme Court.
The ad features the young woman, a college student, saying her parents were deported back to Ecuador after having been in the U.S. for 20 years. “Voting has consequences,” she says.
Billboards also went up in Central and South Florida criticizing Trump’s hard-line immigration policies.
Fending off Republican efforts
Trump won Florida in 2016 by less than 1 percentage point, and he needs to win it again to be re-elected. The president and other Republicans have been campaigning hard in Florida and zeroing in on Hispanics.
Trump kicked off his 2020 campaign from Orlando and his Latinos for Trump coalition from Miami in June. Trump and the Republicans have held numerous campaign rallies and events throughout the state and engaged with Latinos here with constant messages branding Democrats as socialists and touting a strong economy.