Sanders’ Praise Of Cuba & Attacks On Israel Hurt Him With Some Florida Latino & Jewish Voters
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) contends that he is the Democratic candidate best equipped to defeat President Donald Trump in the 2020 U.S. presidential election. But Florida Democrats are worried over nominating a self-declared socialist who loudly criticizes Israel for president.
Sanders made the comments ahead of Super Tuesday on March 3 in which voters from 16 states and U.S. territories will cast ballots.
His remarks may harm his support from vital minority groups – including the 600,000 registered Jewish Democratic Florida voters and other ethnic minorities whose support is essential to his election.
Florida is a crucial battleground state that the Democrats would very much like to win. Still, after Sander’s refusal to condemn the 1959 Cuban Revolution on an interview with 60 Minutes, Democrats in the Sunshine State are revolting against him.
Democratic Congress members, state legislators and party leaders have urged the party to take caution saying that Sander’s nomination would cost them the state of Florida, which is the largest battleground state in the presidential election.
The interview had pressed Sanders on his 1985 comments regarding the 1959 Cuban Revolution. He stated in the interview that the Cuban people did not “rise up in rebellion against Fidel Castro” because “he [Castro] educated their kids, gave their kids health care, totally transformed society.”
“We’re very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba, but you know, it’s unfair to simply say everything is bad. You know?” Sanders retorted Sunday when questioned about the remarks. “When Fidel Castro came into office, you know what he did? He had a massive literacy program. Is that a bad thing? Even though Fidel Castro did it?”
Rep. Javier Fernandez, a Democratic candidate in a majority-Hispanic state Senate district, stated, “Donald Trump wins Florida if Bernie is our nominee.”
Florida is a state which has an influential cross-section of Latinos many of whose families fled leftist Latin American regimes.
Sander’s campaign has cast off concerns about socialism as modern-day “red-baiting” and has pointed to polling.
Democrats in Florida are also pointing the finger at Sander’s open criticism of Israel, which could prove problematic in the March 17 primary.