Mayor Wayne Messam, “Democratic Party more Organized in Targeting Caribbean-Americans Voters in 2020”

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Mayor Wayne M. Messam

by Howard Campbell

[MIRAMAR] –  Miramar mayor Wayne Messam believes the Democratic party is more organized in its approach to Caribbean-American voters for the November 3 election than four years ago.

Messam, a Democrat who launched a longshot run for his party’s presidential nomination last year, pointed to an  increased presence for the Joe Biden/Kamala Harris campaign in the Caribbean community, than 2016 when Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine were candidates.

They lost by just over 100,000 votes to Donald Trump and Mike Pence.

“I think unlike 2016 you do see a more concerted effort in terms of outreach. There’s more advertising in Caribbean media and they have in my estimation, done a better job of engaging the Caribbean community,” said Messam.

He added that the Biden campaign’s decision to select Harris as his vice president running mate has galvanized Caribbean-American voters in South Florida, especially women.

Harris, a Senator and former Attorney General of California, was also a candidate for the Democratic nomination. Her father is Jamaican and her mother is from India.

For 45 year-old Messam, whose parents are Jamaican, she is “a good compliment for Biden” who has vast experience as a Senator and vice president to Barack Obama.

“When you talk about a country becoming more black and brown, and with the Caribbean Diaspora growing at a very high rate, I think she would bring the sensitivity of immigration issues to the White House,” said Messam. “She would definitely be able to speak from her own personal experiences, so I think the Caribbean community would have an ear and an advocate in the White House.”

Haitians and Jamaicans comprise the largest bloc of registered voters among Caribbean-Americans in Florida.  According to US Census data, over 500,000 of the more than 800,000 persons of Caribbean heritage in the Sunshine State, have a vote.

Most of them are in Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

Messam has been campaigning for Biden-Harris. On October 13, he announced Biden at a drive-in event at Miramar Regional Park where the candidate courted Caribbean-Americans.

Currently in his second term as Miramar mayor, Messam thinks the election will be close.

“If you listen to the polls, then Biden should win. However, we know that conventional wisdom says that when it comes to counting the Electoral College vote it’s a different story,” he said. “I think the race is going to be very close, but if Biden wins Florida it’s going to be very difficult for Trump.”


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