The Trump campaign’s latest reelection strategy combines communism, Cubans and cage fighting in a way that only a play on the state of Florida could prove successful – and that’s precisely the point.
The “Fighters Against Socialism” bus tour, which will make three stops spanning the state in Tampa, Kissimmee and Coconut Grove on Saturday, exemplifies the campaign’s strategy of targeting microconstituencies and homing in on specific demographics – no matter how small in numbers they may be – in certain key states with the goal of generating enough support among targeted voters that, collectively, it has huge implications for statewide tallies.
In this case, Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son and campaign surrogate, plans to travel across the Sunshine State with Jorge Masvidal, a professional mixed martial artist whose father fled Cuba when he was a teenager, and Maximo Alvarez, a Miami businessman who fled Cuba with his family and delivered one of the Republican National Convention’s most moving speeches.
Cartoons on the 2020 Election
It’s an attempt to peel off even a handful of voters in a crucial state that Trump won by just 1.2 percentage points out of more than 9 million votes cast in 2016 – and one that remains tightly contested today.
Though former Vice President Joe Biden enjoys a much wider margin of support from Hispanic voters than Trump, the president has been chipping away at that lead in Florida, in large part thanks to the support of Cuban Americans, who traditionally support conservative Republican candidates and who are distrusting of socialist policies.
“I have seen people like this before,” Alvarez said of Biden during his speech at the convention. “I have seen movements like this before. I’ve seen ideas like this before. I am here to tell you that we cannot let them take over our country. I heard the promises of Fidel Castro and I can never forget all those who grew up around me, who looked like me, who suffered and starved and died because they believed those empty promises.”
“Those false promises – spread the wealth, free education, free health care, defund the police, trust a socialist state more than your family and community – they don’t sound radical to my ears,” he said. “They sound familiar.”
Masvidal embodies an ever smaller sliver of the electorate the Trump campaign is aiming to motivate to the poll – UFC fighters and their fans. Since Trump entered the political arena, he’s enjoyed support from them both. UFC President Dana White is a prominent Trump donor and spoke at both the 2016 and 2020 Republican National Conventions.
“The anti communism bus tour will be arriving at a city near you,” Masvidal tweeted to his more than 620,000 followers Tuesday. The final stop of the tour will be at a gym where the campaign has said multiple UFC fighters will be in support of the president.
The stated purpose of the tour – “reinforcing the President’s commitment to defeat the socialist mobs wreaking havoc in Democrat-run cities” – is a theme the president tried to hammer Tuesday evening during the first presidential debate, arguing cities like Baltimore, Chicago, Portland and others, all run by Democrats, showcase what’s to come should the Biden win the election in November.