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“The Least Woke City in America”




Miami’s increasingly conservative political culture reflects the influence of immigrants fleeing socialist dystopias. Oliver Wiseman writes:

They’re still talking about the caravans: the miles-long lines of cars, their passengers waving American flags, Cuban flags, and Donald Trump banners, that painted streaks of red, white, and blue down Calle Ocho and around Little Havana, bringing much of Miami to a halt for hours at a time ahead of the 2020 election. On a recent trip to the city, those I spoke with—Republican operatives and supporters, as well as more impartial observers of Miami’s political scene—described these demonstrations vividly. The multinational, multilingual expressions of support for a Republican presidential candidate were unmistakably Miami. They displayed a flavor of GOP enthusiasm that couldn’t happen anywhere else, at least not on this scale. The demonstrators took cues from the city’s proud anti-Communist past. Some of the organizers of the events—officially known as the “Anti- Communist and Anti-Socialist Caravans for Freedom and Democracy”—included groups established to fight the Cuban dictatorship. The parades were a rejoinder to pollsters who warned not to read too much into enthusiastic displays of support for a given candidate. Miami was the site of major political change in 2020, and if you watched the car parades, you saw the indicators earlier than most.

Miami-Dade, Florida’s largest county, is two-thirds Hispanic and shifted dramatically toward the Republicans in the last election. In 2016, Hillary Clinton won by 64 percent to Trump’s 35 percent in the county. Four years later, Joe Biden triumphed, but in a much closer contest: 53 percent to 46 percent. That huge swing in such a big county was key to Trump’s relatively straightforward Florida win. In raw numbers, Trump nearly doubled his vote count in Miami-Dade, from 333,000 in 2016 to 617,000 in 2020. His statewide margin of victory, under 120,000 in 2016, more than tripled, to 372,000 in 2020.

The changing habits of voters in Miami are perhaps the most important part of the story of why what was once the most coveted swing state in the Electoral College has taken on a reddish hue. What’s true on a presidential level is true on a gubernatorial level. Ron DeSantis sneaked into office by just 30,000 votes in 2018. Since then, his stock has soared; his 2022 reelection seems likely. The swing in 2020 was also enough to flip two South Florida House seats from blue to red.

[Oliver Wiseman, "The Least Woke City in America,” City Journal, March 12]


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