MIAMI, Florida — Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump’s unorthodox campaign in Florida is still neck-and-neck with Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the latest polls, despite being outmatched in spending in this critical battleground state. The race remains close in large part thanks to the “movement” he often references from the stage at his rallies nationwide.
Over the past several weeks, Breitbart News has spent time with a variety of Trump backers in Florida—ranging from his campaign’s state co-chairman and Florida GOP vice chairman Joe Gruters to grassroots activists and die hard supporters—to figure out what exactly is driving Trump’s appeal in a state with 29 electoral votes critical to either candidate’s White House chances.
Carlos Arias, a second-generation Cuban-American and die hard Donald Trump supporter, is a Miami native who works as a biomedical professor by day. But, by night, he is on his own dime and with his own time building support for the Trump campaign in the Cuban community here—using traditional grassroots organizing tactics, and newer ones through social media. As part of his effort, Arias manages the Cubans for Trump Facebook page. But he also walks the streets of Little Havana working his friends, family, and neighbors over to Team Trump.
“What’s there not to support about the guy?” Arias told Breitbart News in a sit-down interview before taking reporters on the streets with him. “I mean, he’s an amazing leader. He’s a very intelligent guy. He has an expertise for making deals, for making trade deals, for the economy, for money, for running business. He’s an entrepreneur, he’s a successful family man. He obviously loves his family.”
Jose Uz, a 48-year-old native Miami resident of Cuban descent, told Breitbart News he’s similarly impressed with Trump’s business acumen. Yet Uz places even more weight on Trump’s desire to help the country—without any competing interests other than his love for the United States.
“I believe that Mr. Donald Trump is an individual that has the best interest for the United States, for America, and for its citizens,” Uz, who runs the 2,600-member Facebook group Cubans4Trump, said in an interview. “He doesn’t need to prove anything, he doesn’t need to become famous, he doesn’t need to become rich, he is already there – on the contrary, this is actually something, when I view it, I say, my God, what a huge burden he has voluntarily placed on himself. It’s almost to the point of masochism. He didn’t need this, he has a privileged beautiful life. One that he has earned with his hard work and intelligence. Why would he do this? There is nothing for him to gain out of it. But there actually is, when you look deep into it. What he actually has to gain is ensuring and securing the future of his children, his grandchildren, and his great-grandchildren, and everybody else down the line, and all of us that are within the United States. He is going to secure us in the way of keeping us safe.”
Joe Fernandez, a Cuban immigrant in his late 50s, told Breitbart News he supports Trump for similar reasons.
“I believe he is a patriotic man, he knows a lot about international relationships, and business, he will bring some new ideas,” Fernandez said. “He looks like a tough guy. He is from New York. Now a days life is very strong [hard], a lot of difficult times. We need a strong man.”
Ariel Martinez, a 42-year-old man from Havana now living in Florida whose father and other family members were political prisoners under the Castro regime in Cuba, supports Trump for president as well. He said there is broad support for Trump in the Cuban American community.