Monthly Archives: October 2016

7 posts

Faux Outrage Over Trump

Donald Trump’s latest has generated a faux outrage. He is running out of voters to which appeal. /screenshot

It was 20 years ago that former senator and GOP presidential candidate Bob Dole asked, “Where’s the outrage? When will the voters start to focus?” during his campaign against Bill Clinton, then running for a second term. (And that was before Monica Lewinsky.)

Today the public has turned the tables, asking the GOP where’s the outrage in connection with their candidate Donald Trump‘s latest offense du jour.

Straight to the point: It is calculated faux outrage, for the Republican Party has known all along that Trump does not measure up to past presidential candidates, especially their own.

Down the Escalator

From day one, when Trump rode the down escalator – how’s that for symbolism? – of Trump Tower in New York to announce his candidacy, a string of offenses have livestreamed from his mouth. That includes his initial shot against undocumented immigration and Mexicans, in particular, whom he said were criminals and rapists, followed by “and some I assume are good people,” as if the latter statement erased the former. It does not.

So what’s different now? His pussy riot is so offensive that it risks totally alienating female voters, who – lest we forget – comprise more than half the U.S. electorate

Women vote. That’s it right there. Women vote and most times in higher ratios than men. They may be undecided about Hillary Clinton, but increasingly they are lining up against Trump, who may take the down ballot with him in a potential presidential defeat. Congress, Senate, state and local candidates.

So just weeks before the November 8 elections, the GOP is trying to salvage voters. But it’s too late.  Trump cannot be walked back. He is what he is and the GOP cannot recall its candidate.

Big Miscalculation

The Trump-GOP miscalculation is bigger than each of them. Trump’s perception and treatment of women is degrading and predatory, possibly tipping the scales against the GOP.

But there’s no real outrage here. The party coldly and strategically (mis)calculated that it didn’t need the black vote. Or the Latino vote. Or the Muslim voter. Or the disabled voter.

It thought it could pick up other voters along the way:  more white men, maybe more white women, more working class voters.

The latest Trumpism is destroying those prospects.

˜˜Maria Padilla, Editor

Poll: 84 Percent of Puerto Ricans Plan to Vote

Democratic Congressman Patrick Murphy (left) and Senator Marco Rubio. Murphy has little name recognition among Puerto Rican voters, according to a new poll. /Official photos

A new poll of Puerto Ricans in Florida indicates that 84 percent plan to vote in the upcoming November elections, while 14 percent said they would probably vote.

Just 2 percent said they would not go to the polls, according to the 504 Puerto Ricans surveyed by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a progressive leaning pro-labor group, and Latino Decision.

Hillary Clinton would appear to the big winner, while in the U.S. Senate race Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy has much work to do to raise his profile among Puerto Ricans.

Clinton holds a big lead over Donald Trump, with 61 percent certain they will vote for Clinton and  another 13 percent leaning toward Clinton. Meanwhile, 12 percent are certain they’ll support Trump, with an additional 5 percent indicating weak support for the Republican candidate. About 78 percent of Puerto Ricans have a negative view of Trump, according to the poll.

Unique Poll

The poll, conducted in mid September, is unique for focusing on the Puerto Rican electorate. Such polls are hard to come by in Florida, although the Puerto Rican population has doubled since 2000, reaching 1 million.

Puerto Ricans make up about 27 percent of Florida’s Hispanic eligible voters, just below the 30 percent of Cubans who are eligible to vote, according to Pew Research Center. That translates to about 700,000 Puerto Rican voters versus 800,000 Cuban voters.

Therein lies the increasing fascination with the Puerto Rican vote.  “The Puerto Rican voting bloc is set to become a major influencer in shaping the 2016 elections,” the organization stated.

Interest in the election is high among Puerto Ricans, yet they are not being courted.

About 59 percent of Puerto Ricans polled said they talk about the elections either every day or several times a week. Yet, 63 percent said they had not been approached by a community group or political party to support a candidate or register to vote. 

Rubio versus Murphy

The poll brought bad news for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy. Only 44 percent of Puerto Ricans polled backed Murphy, a virtual tie with incumbent Sen. Marco Rubio, who got 42 percent. Among those certain about their vote, Murphy had slight advantage, 34 percent to 30 percent for Rubio. However, the difference falls within the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percent.

That is revealing finding. Puerto Ricans in Florida tend to lean Democrat, yet they are splitting the vote with Republican Rubio. Worse still, 47 percent of Puerto Ricans polled said they didn’t know enough about Murphy.

With about a month left to the November elections, half of Puerto Ricans in the poll know little about Murphy, who has been absent from the Central Florida campaign scene.

That’s an advantage for Rubio, who has name recognition. Although Puerto Ricans have issues with Rubio’s position on Puerto Rico’s debt crisis – 82 percent of Puerto Ricans polled said they favor more economic aid to Puerto Rico – 41 percent view him favorably, while 43 percent said they have a negative view of Rubio.

What Concerns Puerto Rican Voters

Economy / jobs / unemployment   33%

Health care / insurance  19%

Immigration / deportations   13%

Education / schools   12%

Puerto Rican debt / financial crisis    11%

Anti-Latino / immigrant discrimination   10%

Terrorism / national Security / ISIS   7%

Stop Trump / anything negative Trump   7%

Something else    6%

Crime / safety     5%

˜˜Maria Padilla, Editor

Chasing the Puerto Rican Voter

Puerto Ricans need to vote in order to make a political and demographic difference.

With barely a week to go until Florida voter registration closes on October 11, a number of  groups are chasing Puerto Rican voters in hopes of impacting the November elections.

The state’s 1 million Puerto Ricans are a tempting target because they are relative newcomers and they have no obstacle to 1 mil tagvoting since all are citizens. Let’s take a closer look at the Puerto Rican voter profile.

According to Pew Research Center, there are 2.6 million eligible Hispanic voters in Florida. Of that number, about 27 percent or 700,000 are Puerto Rican. (Another 806,000 are Cuban, the highest number.) The remainder are made up various Latino groups, including Mexican, Colombian, Venezuelan, Dominican and more.

About 27 percent of Florida’s eligible Hispanic voters are Puerto Rican.

The universe of Hispanic voters diminishes when active registered voters are factored in, that is, those who actually vote. In 2016, that number is about 1.8 million active Latino voters, according to Pew Research. For argument’s sake, let’s assume the ratio of eligible voters and active voters remains the same (which it may not),  that reduces active Puerto Rican voters to 486,000 , a difference of almost 300,000.

Not Just Voter Registration

A great deal of work remains to be done to get 700,000 eligible Puerto Rican voters to the polls – and it’s not just voter registration.

Local Democratic Party activist and numbers cruncher Doug Head published on Facebook some cool stats on actual Orange County voting patterns, including among Hispanics. (The figures are available on the Orange County Supervisor of Elections website, but Head saved me the trouble.)

Using Orange County as a barometer – it has the highest population of Puerto Ricans in the tri-county area – the figures show that Hispanic voter turnout was 59 percent in 2012, the last presidential election year.

The Latino turnout in Orange County was below that of non-Hispanic whites, African Americans and Asian Americans, whose rate was 72 percent, 71 percent and 64 percent, respectively.

Lower Hispanic Turnout

A 59 percent turnout is good …  still, it means that about 4 out of 10 Hispanic voters (40 percent) were no-shows at the polls. A good chunk of those were Puerto Ricans because the group comprises half of Orange County’s Hispanic population. And, again, Puerto Ricans have no barrier to voting. Which means that, among Hispanic voters, Puerto Ricans may make up more than 50 percent.

Will Hispanic-Puerto Rican turnout in Orange County equal or top 59 percent in 2016? Will voter drives light a fire under the 40 percent of Hispanic-Puerto Ricans who couldn’t be bothered to vote in 2012?

That’s the 1 million Puerto Rican question.

˜˜Maria Padilla, Editor