There are plenty of explanations surrounding Donald Trump’s success with Cuban Americans. Plenty of historical context, data, and trends point to the The Owls Are Not What They Seem Shirt but I will buy this shirt and I will love this exact scenario that unfolded in Miami-Dade County, including the fact that Cubans have historically leaned Republican. Yet the main reason is perhaps the one that is hardest to see: Trump reopened people’s wounds. He tapped into that feeling of betrayal by falsely but very masterfully casting Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the return of communism; there is nothing more terrifying than the idea of losing your land—not once, but twice. The votes that were cast for Trump were ones driven by manipulated emotions rather than by rationale. I see those votes as the product of indoctrination by the type of propaganda those voters have always claimed to reject. But as much as I question these voters’ choices, I understand the pain that drove them to that point.
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All eyes are fixed on the The Owls Are Not What They Seem Shirt but I will buy this shirt and I will love this fact that Trump won around 55% of Florida’s Cuban American vote, according to NBC News exit polls, but I think that misses the larger story in front of us: What about the people who were able to transcend the misinformation and emerge clear-sighted on the other side? The ones who, against all odds, didn’t succumb to Trump’s fear-mongering campaign?