Although several polls have shown Florida remaining frustratingly within Donald Trump’s short-fingered reach, he ain’t winning the state without Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties, and certainly not without the redoubtable I-4 corridor , home to an alert and empowered Puerto Rican base whom Hillary Clinton has courted without fuss since her last presidential run (a former student and friend of Puerto Rican birth, whose mom was a delegate in 2012, attests to the Clinton campaign’s diligence). The New York Times reports:
Republicans could once rely on solidly conservative Cuban-American political refugees in Miami as a crucial source of support. But it is not so simple anymore: Young Cuban arrivals are less reliably Republican; South Americans now make up a growing segment of the Latino population in the state; and Puerto Ricans, who at more than a million statewide now rival the Cuban-American population, are flocking to Orange, Osceola and Polk Counties in Central Florida — once the heart of the state’s white working-class vote.
Those demographic changes have already had consequences: George W. Bush lost to John Kerry in Orange County by fewer than 1,000 votes in 2004, but in 2008 and again in 2012, President Obama won there by about 85,000.
Let me remind my audience again that most of the victims at Pulse last June were not only Orlando residents but Puerto Rican.