Dumb as a box of rocks: Democrats suddenly realize their Maduro-love will cost them Florida in 2020
For years, Democrats have fallen over themselves to defend Latin American communist dictatorships. Who can forget Rep. Maxine Waters's apology to the Castro regime for the U.S. on her pilgrimage to Cuba or Rep. Jim McGovern's secret collaborations with Colombia's Marxist FARC terrorists or New York mayor Bill de Blasio's "help" to the Nicaraguan Sandinistas or Sen. Bernie Sanders's open praise for Hugo Chávez's Venezuela? And don't forget Joe Kennedy's Dial Joe-4-Oil, which was a gusher of propaganda praise for Venezuela's oppressive socialist regime.
They've always gotten away with it. Until now.
They suddenly are realizing that the Maduro-lovers and Trump-resisters in their ranks, who happen to be some of their biggest "it" girls with the loudest voices — Rep. Ilhan Omar, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard — have supported Venezuela's detested Maduro regime in recent weeks ... and it's not just them. Other Democrats are also in their tree - think of old dinosaurs such as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who was all worried about the U.S. invading Venezuela, and Silent Ted Deutch representing south Florida in Congress. Supporting a socialist regime just seems to come natural in the Democratic Party. And for that, they're all kissing the purple swing state of Florida goodbye for the Democrats in 2020.
The New York Times reports this as an alarming development for Democrats:
Venezuela, not Cuba, now dominates Miami's political conversation. A television anchor not long ago ended a somber segment with a promise to keep praying for the troubled South American country. Venezuelans in the city have gathered for demonstrations to coincide with protests back home. Even the Miami-Dade County Commission, a local body with no control over foreign policy, voted unanimously to recognize the opposition leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela's interim president.
The shift has been coming on gradually for years, but it has accelerated in recent weeks as Venezuela has sunk further into crisis and its leftist president, Nicolás Maduro, has clung defiantly to power. The showdown in Caracas is reshaping Latino politics in South Florida, home to the highest concentration of Venezuelans in the United States.
The change is not a mere demographic curiosity. In Florida, where major elections have repeatedly been decided by tiny margins, an inflection point around Venezuela's leadership could help define a generation of Venezuelan-American voters, who number in the tens of thousands in this state. President Trump is pushing Mr. Maduro to step aside, and if he succeeds, Democrats fear it could transform Venezuelan-Americans into loyal Republicans, much like Cuban-Americans.
What politician of any smarts couldn't see that happening? In Omar's case, I think Russian sponsorship is worth looking at, but the others just don't seem to think about these politically strategic things at all. To ditzes such as Ocasio-Cortez and Gabbard, Venezuela is a cartoon drawing on a map mainly useful as a chit for beating President Trump with, even if it involves supporting Russia. And as for how Venezuelans feel about these things, well, the place is socialist and they support socialism, so 'nuff said. Not one of these people considers the feelings of the Venezuelans, or considers that there are living, breathing Venezuelans in Florida. Remember those three million Venezuelans who have fled their country? Well, yes, some have ended up in Florida, with a strong enough presence to swing the vote. The Times mentioned that the other Latinos in Florida tend to support them — Colombians, Nicaraguans, Bolivians, Puerto Ricans, Argentines, and of course Cubans, which magnifies their numbers. These people are a critical mass in Florida, and they know the deal in Caracas.
President Trump could see that and made a smart alliance with GOP senator Marco Rubio, a former GOP rival, and the pair of them worked as a tag team, with Venezuelan-Americans likely advising them on how to achieve the common goal of getting rid of Maduro. Maduro is on his way out due to that master squeeze from the U.S., with Venezuelans cheering (over in Caracas, they are actually cheering Trump) along with almost all of Latin America and Europe. Omar, Ocasio-Cortez, and Gabbard are going to be left with their Maduro endorsements and no Maduro to speak of in coming weeks, which suggests quite an absence of strategy. More important, they are going to lose their fellow Democrats the huge swing state of Florida. In soccer, this is recognized as kicking the ball into your opponent's net to give them the points, an 'own goal.' Talk about an 'own goal.'
Image credit: Zakipedia via Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 4.0.