The racism that Trump and the GOP have embraced with Trumpanzees and cultists is causing solid red regions to rethink this party. What did people expect from a 70-year-old conman who was always known as a racist? Just because he paled around with Oprah and Diddy, didn’t mean he wasn’t a racist. Slave owners had more offspring outside the mansions than they did inside, with black people, of course. And they thought black people were less than animals. But Oprah and Diddy and almost every other black person who tolerated Tramp is rethinking it now, and so are Cuban-Americans, who were a solid GOP base for decades. Little Havana awoke recently to an unexpected new reality: The iconic neighborhood, the traditional heart of South Florida’s proud Cuban exile community, would no longer be represented on the county commission by a Cuban-American Republican.
Instead, voters elected a Democrat so clearly not Hispanic that the candidate herself playfully embraced the nickname of “La Gringa.”
Eileen Higgins’s surprise victory in a heavily Hispanic district has deeply unsettled Republicans in South Florida, where local elections have long been determined by ethnicity. Now, some Republicans worry that her win portends more losses for the party in November. Democrats have won three consecutive special elections in Miami-Dade County over the past nine months.
“The blue wave is not coming,” said Jesse Manzano-Plaza, a veteran Republican political consultant who said he had been doubted by many in his party when he warned that Ms. Higgins could pull off an upset. “The blue wave came.”
Ms. Higgins’s win cemented the belief held by Democrats — and, privately, by many Republicans — that the 27th Congressional District, a Republican-held seat that includes all of Ms. Higgins’s county commission district, is likely to flip. But strategists from both parties see a far more significant development: a fundamental realignment of South Florida politics, which could in turn have consequences for all of the state.
For years, South Florida’s Cuban community voted reliably for Cuban-American candidates in local elections. Most often, those candidates were Republican: Three Hispanic-majority congressional seats are held by the party. The county mayor, perhaps the most powerful local official, is also a Republican.