The evidence is mounting that President Obama’s overzealous defense of his “opening Cuba” gambit cost Hillary Clinton the state of Florida. That misstep could end up wiping out most of the president’s carefully curated “legacy” achievements.
[I]n late October, President Obama... lifted limits on the import of cigars and rum, and then ordered our ambassador to the United Nations to abstain from a vote condemning the US economic embargo on Cuba.
... The Cuban-American community in Miami was irritated enough to give a second look to Donald Trump, who quickly reacted by shifting from his earlier tepid support for Obama’s Cuba policy to a promise that he would end relations unless Raul Castro began democratic reforms.
A New York Times-Siena poll, headlined “Cubans Come Home to Trump,” confirmed that all this was enough to add almost 20 percentage points to Trump’s support among Cuban-Americans.
... Clinton ended up losing the election to Trump by the razor-thin margin of 125,000 votes out of more than 9 million cast, in a state where Cuban-Americans number more than a million.
... Why did the president feel he could take such steps without endangering Clinton’s chances in Florida? He misinterpreted a poll by Florida International University which showed strong support for his policies among Cuban-Americans.
... The problem was, when you broke down those [poll] responses by the wave in which exiles entered the US — 1960-1980, 1980-1994, or 1994-2016 — the results varied greatly. The first two waves, especially the 1960s crowd, are staunch anti-communists; on principle, they did not want to deal with the Castros. The latter wave, more likely to be economic migrants with no fixed political philosophy, are eager to deal with the government of the country they just left.
Only 36 percent of the first group want to expand business relations with Cuba’s government, for instance, while twice as many — 73 percent — of the latter group do.
There is another difference among these groups: 98 percent of the first wave are American citizens, and 97 percent are registered to vote.
President Obama seems not to have realized these differences existed, or if he did, he may have thought that personal charisma or force of personality would preclude paying an electoral penalty.
Yup. And so went Florida. But let's not just focus on Florida and its Hispanics: Hillary gave the entire block of white middle class and poor Americans to Trump. She called them a basket of deplorables and "irredeemable" which was understood exactly as she meant it: worthless. Dismissing a large bloc of people as worthless, calling them racist, toothless idiots who have no business voting unless they vote for you, is a bad policy when running for national office, especially if you've miscalculated the number of people you're telling to fuck off; it turned out, the group she dismissed comprised more than half the country, which is why Hillary is now in Chappaquiddick - Chappaqua, planning a Thanksgiving dinner for one (more, if she breaks tradition and invites her Secret Service detail in from the garage).
And there was the hubris of the entire Democratic Party: Obama travelled to the rust belt in 2008 offering hope and change and persuaded most voters there to vote for a black president whose middle name was, as the dreadful Michael Moore pointed out (when disputing a fellow liberal's claim that Trump voters were racist), "Hussein". That's what he promised: what he delivered was gay marriage, transgender bathrooms and an unrelenting campaign against them, castigating and shaming them for enjoying their "white privilege". An unemployed steel worker can be forgiven for not readily seeing the relevance of letting little boys into girls' bathrooms, or recognizing his white privilege, let alone feel guilty about it. The Democrats tried winning this election by telling a little crippled boy that his Christmas present this year was a dress, given to a pretty girl five towns over, and that he was an ungrateful little brat for whining.
And when he did whine, Democrats didn't care; like their candidate herself, they wrote off flyover country as an insignificant part of the nation, banking on "their kind of people" in the Acela Corridor and California to carry the day. As their budgets over the past 60 years have shown, Democrats aren't good at math.
And blame the media, for its two-year focus on dismissing Trump supporters as uneducated, hateful people with no issues or concerns other than punishing Muslims and black people. I know that I personally grew so tired of being patronized by my lessers, called an idiot racist by people who clearly were my inferiors in everything from education, knowledge of history and even, probably, IQ, that I moved from being a hold-my-nose Trump voter to an advocate, and nothing would have deterred me from making sure I voted last Tuesday. Multiply this angry voter by millions, and there you have it.
Had Hillary, her party and their media spent any time at all actually listening to Trump voters' concerns and even pretending to understand them they could have won hearts and minds, and votes. Thank Jon Stewart for reminding Trump World that the liberal establishment cares nothing at all about them, and considers them sub-human trolls.
Trump did the opposite, and they responded, a result that could only surprise people as isolated and sure of themselves as Hillary Superiorettes. John Prine wrote a song about this in 1971, although I doubt he was thinking of Trump back then: "Hello in There".
Trump stopped and said hello, the Democrats walked on by.