New civics initiative launches in Florida targeting potential minority voters

(The Center Square) – A new civics initiative launched Thursday in Miami-Dade County in Florida targeting potential minority voters.

The Republican National Committee launched the initiative at its Hispanic Community Center in Doral, Florida, Thursday. It’s designed to help future voters learn more about American history and help lawful permanent residents (LPRs), or green card holders, prepare for the civics portion of their naturalization test.

“The RNC is growing our Party through purposeful education and engagement,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said. “Our commitment to provide opportunities for all to live out the American dream is broadening our base because our ideas transcend all backgrounds. Unlike Democrats, Republicans do not take minority communities for granted and we will continue to work to earn each vote ahead of November.”

It was launched after more Hispanic Democrats than Hispanic Republicans are considering leaving their party “by a double-digit margin,” according to a recent ICR-Miami poll commissioned by Americano Media LLC. Sixty percent of respondents identified as Hispanic; 30% as Latino. Only 29% gave a favorable approval rating of President Joe Biden; the majority cited high inflation as their top concern.

It was also launched after more Cuban Americans are building up the Republican Party in Florida and elsewhere. In the 1970s, half of Cuban-Americans were registered Democrats, Mike Abrams, a former Florida state legislator and chairman of the Dade Democratic Party, wrote in a Miami Herald op-ed.

Democrats’ base in Miami-Dade, the largest county that’s historically been left-leaning, “is slipping away,” Politico reports. In 2020, Biden won the county by 7% and two House seats flipped red. One of them was won by Republican Cuban American Maria Elvira Salazar, a vocal critic of the Biden administration.

Former mayor of Miami-Dade County and Republican Congressman, Cuban American Carlos Gimenez, argues, “Rather than viewing Cuba, Venezuela, and Russia a WARNING about what happens when you embrace socialist and communist ideas, Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi are using it as a GUIDEBOOK.”

When discussing Biden’s policies and inflation Wednesday, he told Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo, “Biden puts our enemies first and America last.”

According to a Bendixen and Amandi poll conducted in March, Gov. Ron DeSantis had a 48% favorability rating among Democrats and Republicans in the county.

“I think the poll confirms what we’ve seen,” pollster Fernand Amandi told the Miami Herald. “There’s a cleavage in the Hispanic vote between Cuban and non-Cuban Hispanics … For Democrats to enjoy the type of margins that they’ve historically been accustomed to in Miami-Dade, they need to go back to basics.”

The RNC civics initiative launched after First Lady Jill Biden referred to Latino/Hispanic Americas as “breakfast tacos.” Her press secretary later apologized on her behalf but the remarks spurned outrage among Cuban Americans in Florida.

Among them, Gimenez said, “The First Lady uses Taco Tuesday as a great opportunity to send her press secretary out to apologize for her calling Latinos breakfast tacos.”

And Jacksonville, Florida, councilwoman LeAnna Cumber said, “Love it when they try to turn us into tokens (or tacos as the case may be which is especially interesting as a Cuban) when they don’t agree with our message.”

There are currently more than 9.2 million LPRs who legally reside in the U.S. who are unable to vote or hold federal office. As of January 2021, they’re eligible to become naturalized citizens, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

The RNC, working with nonprofits nationwide, including Civics Fundamentals, is hoping to reach many of them. Its Republican Civics Initiative is being launched in other parts of Florida, as well as Texas, Georgia, Nevada, California, Pennsylvania and other states.

Instructors use materials adapted from USCIS civics curriculum and have been trained by USCIS and by RNC Strategic Initiatives staff. The course is four sessions totaling roughly 10 hours. LPRs will learn fundamental U.S. civics and history topics based on questions that could appear on the civics portion of the naturalization test.

According to USCIS 2021 data, the greatest number of LPRs reside in California (2.3 million), New York (1.1 million), Texas (990,000), Florida (900,000), and New Jersey (400,000).

They’ve primarily come from Mexico (2.45 million), China (540,000), Cuba (390,000), the Philippines (370,000), and the Dominican Republic (360,000).