Now we know why Mitt Romney released a last-minute campaign ad in South Florida trying to link Hugo Chávez and Fidel Castro to Barack Obama. It was desperation.
Romney knew he had to stave off the biggest surprise of the presidential election in Florida: Nearly half of Miami-Dade's Cuban-American voters decided to stick with the president.
The Massachusetts governor must have known that an October 28 poll in the Miami Herald was way off. It predicted 76 percent of Cuban-Americans in Miami-Dade would cast ballots for Romney.
The election proved that Cuban-American politicians need to change their tune if they want to stay in power. Consider this:
On Election Day, Obama won the Cuban-American vote 53 percent to 47 percent over Romney, according to Bendixen & Amandi International. Exit polls by Fox News and the Pew Hispanic Center showed the president winning 49 percent of the overall Cuban vote to Romney's 47 percent. According to Fox, Obama gained 13 percent more Cuban-Americans than in 2008.
Just as interesting are the liberal Cuban-Americans who won Tuesday. Democratic candidate Joe Garcia pounded incumbent Congressman David Rivera by 11 points. Sure, Rivera lost voters because he's a criminal, but his opponent favors allowing Cuban-Americans to travel to their homeland and easing other restrictions on Castro. Garcia also registered more new voters than Rivera before the election.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Jose Javier Rodriguez, another Democratic Cuban-American who favors Obama's moderate Cuba policy, killed Republican hardliner Alex Diaz de la Portilla 54 to 46 percent.
The Tea Party faithful, like ABC/Newsweek blowhard George Will, are quickly anointing Sen. Marco Rubio as the GOP's Great Brown Hope. His name is at the top of the Republican nominee list for 2016. But Rubio had better watch out if he keeps messing with Cuban-Americans' desire to visit and help their relatives in Cuba. He's also opposed to the DREAM Act, which would allow hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants to remain here.
If he keeps it up, he won't get re-elected.
Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.