Sunday, June 23, 2024

Trump’s reelection campaign trying to win over Latino voters in unusual states

President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign is making contrarian appeals in the most unusual places, trying to win over Latino voters in states not known for them, like Pennsylvania.

His second campaign, far better financed and organized than his first, is pressing every potential tactical advantage, including trying to capture even small slivers of the Latino vote, hoping it adds up to the narrowest of winning margins. “I think that you win campaigns with what we call ‘tajaditos.’ Little bits. You have to have a little bit of this and a little bit of that,” said Bertica Cabrera Morris, a Cuba native and “Latinos For Trump” advisory board member.

For many reasons, not the least of which is the president’s hostility toward immigrants, it will be a difficult sell. Those on the front lines of Trump’s effort concede that the president’s anti-Latino fervor doesn’t help, but they say many Latinos will be won over by a strong economy and conservative social values.

The reelection campaign’s efforts are understandably focused on key swing states like Florida and Nevada and could also shore up Trump’s hold on Arizona and Texas. Increased outreach may also have an effect in less obvious areas where Trump eked out a 2016 victory, though, like parts of Pennsylvania where the Latino population is booming and where his margin for error is slender.

“Latinos are moving out of the urban centers, moving away from the stronghold of the Democrats,” said Jose Fuentes, a former attorney general of Puerto Rico who is advising the president’s reelection effort and called Pennsylvania “a perfect example.” Fuentes said a key to winning Latino support is tailoring messages to people who have ancestral roots in different parts of Latin America.

Cubans are chiefly interested in U.S. relations with the island and with Venezuela, he said. For Puerto Ricans, it’s recovery after the devastation of Hurricane Maria in 2017 and U.S. statehood questions. Mexicans tend to be most motivated by commercial relations, as are people from most of South America. Central Americans tend to be most focused on immigration policy. Messages targeting those types of voters in specific areas can resonate, Fuentes added, even if the president’s rhetoric sometimes doesn’t.