In Miami, Trump’s ardent backers are a sign of the city’s rightward shift

by Ethan Kim
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rightward shift

Miami’s Rightward Shift: Trump’s Support Base Shaping the City’s Political Landscape

The political landscape in Florida has undergone a significant shift to the right, particularly in the vibrant southeastern coast of the state, where the latest developments surrounding Donald Trump are capturing attention.

In recent years, Republicans have steadily gained ground in this former Democratic stronghold, culminating in their success in carrying Miami-Dade County in the midterm elections last year. The GOP’s future prospects now seem to depend on the happenings in South Florida, albeit for a different reason.

Donald Trump, the former president and frontrunner for the 2024 GOP nomination, is scheduled to appear in federal court for the first time in Miami on Tuesday. He faces 37 felony counts related to charges of illegally retaining classified information.

These charges have thrust Miami into the center of a narrative that was primarily believed to be unfolding within a grand jury room in Washington. They have also brought attention to Trump’s rising popularity among Florida’s Latino population, with some drawing parallels between the former president’s prosecution and the persecution of opposition leaders in other parts of the world, despite the longstanding U.S. tradition of upholding the rule of law and an independent judiciary.

Miami-Dade County, with its 1.5 million eligible Latino voters, stands as Florida’s most populous county. In 2016, Democrat Hillary Clinton won the county by a margin of almost 30 percentage points against Trump. However, Trump made significant gains in 2020, narrowing the margin to 9 percentage points in favor of Democrat Joe Biden.

The county’s political shift was evident when Trump, on the day his indictment was unsealed, played golf with Republican U.S. Rep. Carlos Gimenez, whose district covers parts of Miami-Dade. Gimenez, who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, supported Trump in 2020 and even backed efforts to challenge the election results following the Capitol insurrection on January 6.

Trump’s visit to his golf resort in the Miami suburb of Doral, also known as “Doralzuela” due to its sizable population of Venezuelans, further underscores the substantial gains made by the GOP among certain demographic groups.

Ernesto Ackerman, a member of the Venezuelan-American Republican Club, expressed the sentiment among some Miami residents, stating, “There is no equal justice for all. Trump has been persecuted for six years. They are looking for excuses to impeach him because they are terrified of him.”

To mobilize his Miami support base, Trump used his recent campaign rally in North Carolina to remind voters of his hardline stance against Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro, juxtaposing it with the Biden administration’s efforts to ease sanctions on the socialist leader.

With Miami serving as a hotbed for far-right ideologies, there are concerns about the potential for protests to escalate on Tuesday. Miami Police Chief Manuel Morales declined to provide specifics about security precautions but expressed confidence that no issues would arise.

The Wilkie D. Ferguson Federal Courthouse in Miami is now heavily guarded by security personnel and federal officers. Numerous media tents have been set up to cover this historic case.

Alex Otaola, a Cuban-born YouTube personality running for Miami-Dade County mayor, has been rallying his significant following to protest Trump’s prosecution. Otaola is known for organizing pro-Trump caravans in Miami’s Little Havana and other neighborhoods.

While Miami has seen its share of high-profile national security cases in the past, such as the prosecution of Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega in the 1990s and the trial of American al-Qaeda recruit Jose Padilla, Trump’s case was filed in West Palm Beach, 70 miles north of Miami. The initial assignment of the case to Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee who faced criticism for rulings in his favor during a dispute over seized classified documents last year, raises questions about potential advantages for the former president’s defense strategy.

Former federal prosecutor David Weinstein suggests that Trump’s initial appearance in Miami may be due to the media’s keen interest and the need for heightened federal law enforcement to ensure a safe and secure proceeding.

Although Trump denies seeking attention through his federal indictment, he frequently boasts about the love and support he receives from his followers.

Prior to the midterm elections last year, Trump held a rally in Miami alongside U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, attracting thousands of supporters who proudly displayed signs reading “Cubans for Trump,” “Nicaraguans for Trump,” and “Venezuelans for Trump.”

When Trump praised Hispanics as “great people,” the crowd responded with cheers and chants of “We love you! We love you!”

In response, Trump affectionately replied, “Oh, do I love you, too. You have no idea how much.”

Gisela Salomon, a writer for Big Big News, contributed to this report from Miami.

For more information on Donald Trump-related investigations, visit: https://bigbignews.net/donald-trump

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about rightward shift

What is the political shift happening in Miami?

Florida’s political landscape, particularly in Miami, is undergoing a rightward shift. Republicans have made significant gains in this former Democratic stronghold, highlighted by their success in carrying Miami-Dade County in the recent midterm elections.

Why is Donald Trump’s appearance in federal court significant for Miami?

Donald Trump, the former president and leading contender for the 2024 GOP nomination, is facing 37 felony counts related to charges of illegally retaining classified information. His court appearance in Miami puts the city at the center of a high-profile storyline that was previously thought to be unfolding in Washington.

How has Trump’s rising popularity among Florida’s Latinos impacted Miami?

Trump’s rising popularity among Florida’s Latino population, especially in Miami-Dade County, is notable. The Latino support for Trump has grown, with some drawing comparisons between his prosecution and the persecution of opposition leaders in other parts of the world. It highlights the shifting dynamics and sentiments within the Latino community in the city.

What is the significance of Miami-Dade County in Florida’s political landscape?

Miami-Dade County is Florida’s most populous county and holds considerable electoral influence. The county has experienced a political transformation, with Democrats losing ground and Republicans making gains. It serves as a bellwether for the broader political future of the state.

How has Miami’s political shift influenced GOP prospects?

Miami’s rightward shift has implications for the GOP’s future prospects in Florida. Republicans have made steady inroads in the county, flipping it in recent elections. The party’s success in Miami-Dade County and its ability to maintain support in this diverse urban area may impact the broader electoral strategy and success of the GOP in the state.

Is there concern about protests or security issues in Miami related to Trump’s court appearance?

There are concerns about potential protests given Miami’s reputation as a hotbed for far-right ideologies. However, Miami Police Chief Manuel Morales expressed confidence in the security precautions in place and did not anticipate any problems related to Trump’s court appearance.

Where was Trump’s federal case filed, and why is his first appearance in Miami?

Trump’s federal case was initially filed in West Palm Beach, 70 miles north of Miami. However, his first appearance is scheduled in Miami due to the large media interest and the need for increased federal law enforcement to ensure the safety and security of the proceedings.

How has Trump’s indictment and court case affected his support base in Miami?

Trump’s indictment and court case have galvanized his support base in Miami. Some of his followers view the charges as persecution and draw comparisons to political situations in other countries. Trump’s popularity remains strong among his supporters, as evidenced by the enthusiasm and love he receives at rallies and events in Miami.

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