Trump’s Biggest Florida Influencer: A Cuban YouTuber with a Pet Monkey

10.07.2020 - By The Mother Jones Podcast

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Could one Cuban American Youtuber swing the presidential election? Four years ago, social media and the stars who populate its platforms already exerted an outsized influence on the election. In 2020, influencers are wielding even greater power. With a handful of swing states set to make all the difference in this election, today's show takes you to Florida, where intense scrutiny is swirling about the direction of the Cuban American vote, again: A recent poll found that 56 percent of recent Cuban immigrants were planning to vote for Trump this summer, up from 22 percent four years before. If Trump squeezes out a win in Florida, 41-year-old YouTube star Alex Otaola and his generation of Cubans will likely be among the people he has to thank. Older Cubans, who fled after Fidel Castro took power in 1959, are generally considered the reliable Republican voting bloc. But the younger generation, including Otaola, has moved sharply to the right in the Trump years. A cohort of Cuban immigrants that was supposed to be the friendliest to Democrats now appears to be the most Republican one—a dramatic recent shift that has stunned Florida-watchers. Noah Lanard, an immigration reporter at Mother Jones, went to Miami to explore Otaola's massive online appeal, an act that smashes together elements of Jerry Springer, Judge Judy, Entertainment Tonight, and Breitbart. If Florida comes down to the wire again, this YouTube influencer with a pet monkey might have a big influence on the outcome of the 2020 election.

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