Caribbean-Americans votes more important than ever in Florida Primaries

Voters head to the polls March 15

The presidential primary race gets more competitive than ever as it heads to Florida for March 15. The fierce competiveness of this year’s campaign on both sides has spiked voter interest in the primaries, including among Caribbean-Americans. The Florida Division of Elections (FDE) reports that they expect more than 50 percent of the votes to be cast before March 15, with a heavy turnout anticipated on the big day. Up to the close of early voting polls on Tuesday, a survey by National Weekly determined significant numbers of registered Caribbean-Americans voters have already voted, and over 70 percent of those who have not voted either plan to vote by March 13, when early voting closes, or on March 15.

With some 85 percent of the 30,000 Caribbean-American voters registered as Democrat, the community will have the most impact in the current run-off between Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. A recent survey conducted on behalf of National Weekly among Caribbean-Americans voters show a strong push for Clinton, with 62 percent supporting her, versus 30 percent for Sanders.

Read more: Voting underway for Florida’s presidential primary

And this fact is not lost on the Democratic Party, said Democratic party’s committee chairwoman, U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, in a recent interview with the National Weekly. Schultz said the party has been grateful and proud of the strong support from Caribbean-American voters “for so many years.”

Addressing criticism that the party may be taking the Caribbean-American vote for granted, Schultz asserted that the party remains as committed to the needs of community as ever.

“The issues of the Caribbean-American community lines up with the issues of the Democratic Party,” said Schultz. “We share the same values, we fight for people who have no voice, and we focus on lifting people up economically.”

Whichever Democratic presidential candidate is nominated, Schultz affirmed that the Democratic nominee will focus on building on President Obama’s legacy. This includes building on the 71 months of positive job growth recorded in the U.S. economy, and ensuring millions of Americans who now can afford health insurance will be able to keep their coverage.

Though the party still has work still to be done for the Caribbean and African American communities, “we have made tremendous progress,” said Schultz, “and I’m not hearing those same (concerns) from the community as I use to.”

Addressing the national surge of support for Trump, Schultz remained “very confident that our nominee will become the 45th president.

“Our party stand for helping people to build cornerstones of the middle class,” said Schultz. “So our nominee versus the Republican’s likely nominee of Trump, the most offensive vulgar president candidate to run for president, at least in our memories – there will be a very stark contrast with a nominee who has said we should bar an entire region from entering the country, reject refugees who are fleeing for their lives, and deport 11 million people who are only trying to remain here so they can fight for themselves and lift up their families.”

 

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