As a result of the Republican downward spiral due to the Trump tour of hate, the Republican Party continues to lose control over the battleground state of Florida, due in large part to the massive influx of Puerto Ricans to the Central Florida region.
These past primary elections in Orange and Osceola counties resulted in the election of the first Puerto Rican to obtain the Democratic nomination to U.S. Congress in Darren Soto, who is well on his way to becoming the sixth Puerto Rican member in U.S. Congress. In addition, Aramis Ayala, whose husband is Puerto Rican, became the first African American elected as State Attorney in Florida's history. Hispanic democrats all scored huge wins and there was a historical increase of 11% of African American voters in the past primary election which has sounded off panic sirens within the Florida GOP.
These significant political advances by the African American and Puerto Rican communities in Florida has made Republicans very uncomfortable. It really does make sense though. The Republicans were so used to dominating local elections in Florida for decades and they never had to worry about the Latino vote, because the Cubans in Miami (who have historically voted Republican) would always be there to tell Hispanics in the State whats best for them. Cuban republicans have been known to compare the Democratic Party with Fidel Castro's Communist regime, and have used scare tactics for decades stating that a vote for democrats, is a vote for communists. This is beginning to change within the younger generation of Cubans in South Florida who are voting democrat, therefore we cannot generalize Cubans as being all Republicans, but historical data has proven a large inclination towards conservatism and alliance with the Republican Party.
One event that many people tend to forget is how it was precisely Cuban Republicans among the group of five men who broke into the Democratic National Committee to wiretap and steal private documents for political gain in the 1970s, which would eventually go on to become the Watergate Scandal.
Three of the men were native-born Cubans and another was said to have trained Cuban exiles for guerrilla activity after the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion.
They were surprised at gunpoint by three police officers at the sixth floor office of the Democratic National Committee at the old Watergate building, 2600 Virginia Ave., NW. This scandal, as all of us know, caused President Richard Nixon to be impeached after a secret recording proved he was the mastermind behind the entire operation.
Fast forward to today and Republicans are again panicking, but this time because they are well on their way to losing control of Florida forever. As a result of a massive exodus of Puerto Ricans to Florida (who overwhelmingly vote Democrat) and younger generations of Cubans voting democrat, Republicans are no longer the influential political powerhouse they once were in the Sunshine State within the Hispanic community. Recent updated census data reveals that the Puerto Rican population is on the verge of surpassing the Cuban population in Florida and that is devastating news for the GOP.
So what is the GOP doing to fight back against democrats? Besides continuing to throw African Americans in prison through their private prison industry donors (huge donors of Marco Rubio) to keep black people from voting or changing the district lines through gerrymandering , the GOP continues to use "non-partisan" races throughout Central Florida to cloak their candidates and slip in their ultra conservative agendas into local commission and Mayor races. Since over 50% of the entire state of Florida's voters are in Central Florida, Orange and Osceola counties are prime targets for the Republican Party to regain ground.
Such is the case of Mr. Jose Alvarez, a who unsuccessfully ran as a Tea Party candidate in 2010 at the height of the Tea Party uprising known for its harsh racial tones against President Obama after his historic election as the first black President of the United States. Mr. Alvarez's entire Tea Party campaign was almost entirely funded by the Tea Party of Florida according to official financial documents all public information which is online.
Mysteriously, Mr. Jose Alvarez, remains very silent of the fact that he was a member and candidate of the racially charged Tea Party in 2010, he switched his voter registration in 2012 to land a seat on the city commission and is now running for Mayor of Kissimmee which is a "Non-Partisan" race. Its perfect for conservatives, because they get to court a former Tea Party candidate for the 2016 Mayor race who has a Hispanic last name that could easily snag significant democratic Hispanic voters to slip in their ultra conservative and trickle down economics policies to favor the rich and ignore the poor.
The word "republican" thanks in great part to Donald Trump's antics has become synonymous with racism and hate, making it harder and harder for the Republican Party of Florida to win races in heavily democratic districts and counties. The "non-partisan" races in Orange and Osceola Counties are a great escape valve for them to get Tea Party candidates elected without the people ever knowing where they stand on the national issues. This is something that needs to change . The people of Orange and Osceola counties need to know where their elected officials stand on the political spectrum of our Nation and their social economic ideology. Non-Partisan races in the view of many is basically keeping voters in the dark while they go to the polls and has been subject of continuos debate.
Former candidate for US Congress Susannah Randolph fought this tooth and nail when Orange County decided to change races such as the Orange County County Tax Collector and Sherriff to "Non-Partisan" in 2014. Activists in Central Florida expressed this was an attempt to hide voter affiliation of conservative candidates to make them more electable. Current Orange County Democratic Executive Committee Chairman Juan Lopez has expressed in the past when discussing "non-partisan" elections, " The Democratic committee would love everything to be partisan. Nonpartisanship is just a veil. Look at who are mailing the mailers out, and follow the money trail."
As a result of my national articles and live debates on Univision and other political talk shows where I have exposed the Republican Party's strategies and criticized their Presidential candidate Donald Trump and Senator Marco Rubio, they now have recurred to attack me even going as far as to call me a terrorist.
Just this week, Mr. Jose Alvarez posted a video on his campaign website slandering me as an alleged "political operative" and "Campaign Manager" of his opponent that has attacked him . This is totally false. I was never Mr. Otero's campaign director but did assist him with his campaign through Hispanic media consulting. His ad is another example of a desperate attempt in politics to derail public opinion because they are in a tight race.
It's truly sad that the Mayor race in Kissimmee has risen to such a grotesque level of mud slinging, where even foul language is being used online by family and supporters. Seeing two Hispanics attack each other only divides our community more.
As a political commentator and writer, I respectfully posted that utilizing foul language was not necessary in a friendly debate. I then proceeded to post Jose Alvarez's past political contributions from when he was a Tea Party candidate because it is important for voters to know the truth about nonpartisan candidates and the influence of money in the poltical process. This triggered the tasteless and desperate attack ad against me.
However, our first lady Michelle Obama taught us all recently at the Democratic National Committee when referring to the extremist republican Tea Party that "When they go low, we go high".
That is what I shall do by not directly responding to Mr. Jose Alvarez. Besides, I don't even live in Kissimmee, so I will leave his fate in the hands of the people of Kissimmee where he is running for Mayor.
Is this a strategy by the GOP to regain political grasp of Central Florida, as a preamble to a second presidential run by Tea Party backed Marco Rubio in 2020? Is Rubio laying the bases and political structure in Central Florida to be up and ready for another presidential bid after Donald Trump is defeated in November?
Its no coincidence Marco Rubio was celebrating his primary victory this week in none other than the city of Kissimmee. Why was he in Kissimmee and not in Miami? This is highly suspicious and democratic voters should remain very vigilant and make sure the candidates they are voting and truly represent the best interests of our Hispanic community and social justice, and not vote blindly just because a candidate like Rubio who has a Hispanic last name but represents the total opposite of our community's needs.
I truly hope I am wrong about Tea Party and Republican influence in Orange and Osceola counties, however, the facts are all pointing in that direction.
I wish good luck to both candidates and I hope the debate will focus more on the issues rather than mud slinging.
I close with a quote from our next President Hillary Rodham Clinton who said: "We believe that cooperation is better than conflict, unity is better than division, empowerment is better than resentment and bridges are better than walls."
Disclaimer: We selected this Op-Ed to be published in our opinion section as a contribution to public debate. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of its author(s) and/or the organization(s) they represent and do not reflect the views or the editorial line of Univision Noticias.