Critics of the president’s move say they expect older Cuban-Americans with vivid memories of the Castro regime’s oppression to become more politically engaged – and to turn against Democrats in 2016.
Republican operatives who worked for Republican Gov. Rick Scott this year believe that challenger Charlie Crist’s expressed support for easing relations with Cuba cost him votes. The Scott campaign’s internal polling shows that the governor racked up big margins among Cuban-American voters but also made inroads with Venezuelan expatriates who blame the Castro brothers for recent turmoil in their home country.
The core of the Republican argument is that older voters who oppose loosening the embargo care the most about the issue and will vote on it. They believe that few people who want to relax tensions are motivated to vote.
“The people who are most passionate about this issue do not have short memories,” said Republican consultant Adam Goodman, CEO of the Tampa-based Victory Group.