TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Political experts say President Donald Trump must win Florida to win the presidency. But the battleground state comes with a wildcard – the Latino vote.
The Trump Campaign has turned to Steve Cortes, who helped the president during his run in 2016, as a member of the Hispanic Advisory Council. The talk radio host and son of Colombian immigrants is the Senior Advisor of Strategy for the campaign in 2020.
Cortes knows there’s a lot at stake and says the Trump Campaign has worked to reach Latinos across the country since 2019, knowing each vote is critical.
“Very early on, the president determined that Hispanic voters would be the group that we would want to intentionally speak to and votes we wanted to earn,” said Cortes.
He says the president has taken an aggressive approach in courting this voting bloc compared to 2016. The president has held round tables with Latinos leaders and attended Latinos for Trump events in key battleground states, mainly Arizona and Florida.
Polls have shown him neck and neck with former Vice President Joe Biden. That’s a major win, says Cortes, referencing 2016 when Hillary Clinton won the Latino vote, according to polls at this point in time four years ago. Cortes says President Trump’s stance on capitalism and focus on creating a strong economy is helping court Latinos particularly those from socialist countries.
“They didn’t come to the U.S. to replicate those problems here in the U.S., particularly Venezuelans and Cubans are sensitive to this issue,” he said. “It’s an economy that is rewarding a lot of Hispanics because blue-collar labor is doing particularly well right now.”
A national survey by Latin decisions reports Florida Latinos ranked COVID-19 response, health care costs and creating jobs as top issues.
Hispanics, many who have been serving on the frontlines of the pandemic, have been hit extra hard by the virus. The CDC reports more than 20,000 deaths among Hispanics in the U.S.
8 On Your Side asked Cortes if the president is aware of just how vulnerable Latinos on the frontlines are and if his administration will assure Latino communities have access to adequate COVID-19 and health care.
“I think his actual record of crisis management is actually quite exemplary. He was able to marshal all the resources of a public government to manufacture in gigantic quantities, PPE, testing capabilities (and) therapeutics, as well overflow of hospital capacity,” answered the senior advisor.
The president has made several visits to the Sunshine State trying to shore up votes since he recovered from the coronavirus.
8 On Your Side also spoke with the Senior Advisor of the Biden Campaign, Julie Chávez Rodriguez, about their plan to court Latinos and convince them to lean left at the polls.
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