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NEW YORK — The “sleeping giant” as its called of American politics has awakened.

In hard fought battleground states like Arizona, Texas and Flordia, Latino voters played a crucial role.

“We’re very proud we’ve broken record partcipation rates across the country,” said Frankie Miranda of the Hispanic Federation.

President Donald Trump gained ground this year over 2016 with Latino voters in Texas and Florida. Cuban-Americans in the Miami area helped the president secure 40% of Florida’s Latino vote.

Esteban Garces of Voter es Poder explains why in Florida the Trump campaign had success.

“A large portion of them are conservative, they came to South Florida because of Cuba and the changes with Castro,” Garces said.

Nataha Bannon of Latino Justice and every other expert agreed that the election showed Latinos are not a monolithic community and effective political outreach to voters needs to reflect that ideological diversity.

“A Chicano or Mexican-American living on the border in El Paso, it’s not going to be the same needs as if you’re in the South Bronx,” said Bannon.

When Trump called Joe Biden weak on socialism, Bannon believes it resonated differently for some Latino voters.

“Trump has stirred up kind of the Red Scare in some communities where they may come from countries where they disagree with that political model.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made the point that the Democrats had come up short with the community. She tweeted out that “we’ve been sounding the alarm about Dem vulnerabilities with Latinos for a long, long time.”

But Biden did find strong support from Latinos in Arizona, helping him win the state according the AP’s projection. Voters trusted him to handle the pandemic.

“The candidates needed to understand the disproportionate impact that the pandemic had on our community,” said Miranda.