The battleground states in the 2016 Presidential election cover the usual and the surprising, Florida, Ohio, Nevada, Iowa, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Arizona and some tighter states where Hillary still leads but the polls have tightened: Colorado, Virginia, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
Only a few of these states have enough electoral votes to be key to a victory, Florida leading the pack with 29 electoral votes which helps the winner amass the required 270 electoral votes.
Why does the Caribbean American Vote matter so much?
- If Hillary Clinton loses Iowa, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin but wins Florida and the other states leaning or solid Democrat then she wins the election. The same happens if she loses Iowa, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Colorado and Michigan but wins Florida and the other states leaning or solid Democrat
- 58% of the 4 million immigrants from the Caribbean are naturalized US Citizens and 70% of those are 18 or over which means that they are eligible voters
- More than 90% of Caribbean immigrants come from just five (5) countries: Cuba (29.3%), Dominican Republic (24.9%), Jamaica (17.6%), Haiti (15.7%) and Trinidad and Tobago (5.5%)
- Jamaicans have the highest naturalization rate of Caribbean immigrants at 66%
- 40% of Caribbean immigrants live in Florida
- Florida has voted for the winning candidate in all but one (1) of the last ten (10) Presidential elections
- The Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach metro region has 1,176,000 Caribbean immigrants; Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford has 110,000; Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater has 90,000
- In 2012 President Obama won Florida by only 73,189 votes
Based on this data from the US Census and the Migration Policy Institute, there are roughly 558,656 eligible voters that are Caribbean immigrants in Florida. All things being equal to 2012, we can show up and make a huge difference in electing the candidate that stands for progressive issues such as comprehensive immigration reform, affordable healthcare, college affordability, raising the minimum wage and much more.
We have an opportunity to leave a lasting positive impression on the government of our adopted country and our children and grandchildren will thank us.
David Mullings is a Deputy Regional Organizing Director for the Florida Democratic Party in Miami-Dade focusing on Caribbean American Outreach. He was the first Future Leaders Representative for the USA on the Jamaica Diaspora Advisory Board.