‘We feel left out’: Kamala Harris takes flak from Florida’s Haitian community

Recent polls have shown Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate, Kamala Harris, losing ground with voters in the Latino community. But in their effort to regain some traction, it seems the Democrat White House hopefuls have neglected another key demographic.

Harris found herself in hot water on Monday when the Tampa Bay Times published a report outlining “why Haitians felt snubbed” by the California senator’s recent trip to Miami, Florida.

“We feel left out”

Members of Florida’s Haitian community who spoke to the Times said Harris largely glossed over them to focus on Latino voters in the Sunshine State. “When I turn on my TV, you hear everything in the Hispanic community about [President Donald] Trump or about Biden,” said 35-year-old community organizer Christie Chenier.

“Biden’s team is always in the Hispanic community but they forget about the Haitian community,” Chenier added. “We feel left out.”

According to the Times, Chenier “lives in the heavily Haitian city of North Miami” alongside Vanessa Joseph, who serves as North Miami city clerk and as chairwoman of the Haitian-American Voter Empowerment Coalition.

She, too, was disappointed in Harris’ recent visit.

“It would have been a great time to announce that there is a future meeting with the Haitian community,” Joseph explained in an interview with the Times. “Or explain that on this particular stop there would have been time to only have two stops, however, they are in the process of organizing something else.”

“A lack of respect”

North Miami real estate agent Frantz Michel also voiced his frustration, arguing that the Biden campaign’s lack of outreach to the Haitian community comes from “a lack of respect.”

“The Democrats are always thinking, ‘I already got the vote,’ because all Haitians are Democrats and no matter what, we’re going to vote Democrat,” Michel said, according to the Times. “But it doesn’t work like that.”

A list of polls compiled by RealClearPolitics shows a close race between Biden and Trump in Florida, with many reporting results within the margin of error.

What’s more, some polling data suggests that Biden is performing less strongly among the Sunshine State’s Hispanic population than former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did four years ago. As the Associated Press noted in a recent report, “Trump ultimately beat Clinton in Florida by just over 1 percentage point.”

If Biden and Harris don’t turn things around, it looks like they could be headed toward a similar outcome.

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