Democratic Super PAC's #CaudilloDay Ads Turn Latin American Tables On Trump

Feb 18, 2020

President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign often warns Latinos in Florida that Democrats advocate the sort of socialism their families escaped in Latin America.  But a Democrat super PAC has turned the tables.

Trump doesn’t just call the Medicare-for-all proposal of leading Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders “socialism.” He brands it bad-guy socialism — what Latin American dictators like Cuba's late Fidel Castro or Venezuela's late Hugo Chávez forced on people.

Politically, Trump’s tack has been very effective — especially with Latinos in places like South Florida who’ve had real experience with those strongmen. But now some Democrats have finally figured out a potentially effective way to answer him.

Meaning, they've found Latinos like Virginia Brown, a Venezuelan immigrant and teacher in Orlando. In a new political spot she warns fellow Latinos about what she calls “the similarities between Donald Trump and Hugo Chávez.” She calls Trump, like Chávez, a “caudillo” — a dictatorial leader. She notes their “vulgar, violent, humiliating” rhetoric, for example, and their authoritarian governing impulses.

Brown's is just one of the new social media attack ads in a campaign called #CaudilloDay, since it launched on Presidents' Day. They’re produced by the Democratic super PAC Priorities U.S.A. They hope to sway Latino voters by likening Trump’s style to Latin American caudillos such as Chile's late Augusto Pinochet — or Fidel Castro, as Cuban exile Virgil Suarez claims in his spot:

“As my abuela said [of Castro, Trump] is a charlatan and a scoundrel,” says Suarez, a poetry professor in Tallahassee.

The Trump campaign has not yet responded to the #CaudilloDay ads.