Actress Natalie Morales Breaks Down Why Some Cuban Americans May Have Voted for Trump

Natalie Morales
Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

Morales, whose credits include roles on 'Dead to Me,' 'Parks and Recreation' and 'Santa Clarita Diet,' explains how experiences with socialist and communist regimes may have made people in Miami vulnerable to misinformation about the Democrats.

After Donald Trump was projected to have won Florida in the 2020 election and the Democratic candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden, underperformed in Miami-Dade County, which has the deepest concentration of Hispanic voters in the state, including Cuban Americans, there's been a fair amount of media speculation about why Biden struggled with the Latinx vote in Florida.

Actress Natalie Morales, whose TV credits include roles on Dead to Me, Santa Clarita Diet, Abby's, The Grinder and Parks and Recreation, and is a "first-generation daughter of Cuban refugees" from Miami, took to Twitter on Wednesday to explain why some Latinx voters supported President Donald Trump, "despite everything he's done and continues to do that clearly goes against our interests, and despite his pretty blatant disgust for us."

While Morales noted that she "can't speak for everyone," she shared two theories based on her own background — her grandfather was a political prisoner — and experience with friends and family members in Miami who voted for Trump.

"They aren't racist. They aren't bad people who want bad things for the world. They are 10000 percent brainwashed," Morales wrote. She goes on to explain why people in the state from Cuba, Venezuela and "all the other Latinx people who fled from poverty and violent, oppressive regimes" may have been vulnerable to misinformation about the Democrats pursuing a socialist agenda — an argument that Trump repeated throughout the campaign.

"The ads, FB videos and misinformation targeting FL **SINCE BEFORE OBAMA** about how all Dems are radical socialist commies have been widely and continuously spread and also widely underestimated. And, they work. They work because they use and abuse the trauma of my people," Morales wrote. "This applies to Cubans, but also Venezuelans and all the other Latinx people who fled from poverty and violent, oppressive regimes. The bs they see on FoxNews has made them TRULY scared of Bernie [Sanders] and anyone like him. Even Latina AOC."

She goes on: "They were sold the same promises in their countries: 'Equality for all!' 'Socialism works and everyone is equal!' But those promises turned sour. They turned communist. They turned into Castro. Into Maduro. They turned into suffering and fleeing and death and trauma."

And while Sanders wasn't on the ticket, he was Biden's last remaining opponent for the Democratic nomination and performed strongly in the Democratic presidential primaries in 2016 and 2020. He has since endorsed Biden, as did Ocasio-Cortez.

"None of my family and friends in FL actually like Trump. Not at all. But the bad things he's done have been underplayed by FoxNews, and they are terrified, to the point of tears, of EXACTLY what the republicans manipulated them to be afraid of: That the other choice is worse," she wrote. "Actual things they've said to me: 'Biden is just going to do what Bernie says.' 'They're going to say Biden is too weak to lead and Kamala is going to take over and she is for killing babies after they are born!' 'Biden is just saying what we want to hear but he's a communist.'"

Beyond that, Morales points out that the iconic Obama "Hope" posters may have played differently in Florida.

"What aesthetically, does this remind you of? If you said communist propaganda, you'd be correct. This design, as popular as it was, was a bad idea in regards to the Latinx vote in FL. This really sealed the 'communist' deal."

Morales' second theory, which she says "runs deeper," is based on assimilation.

"It has been said (and seen, first hand) that immigrants and refugees have a fervent love and appreciation for this country that sometimes surpasses people who were born here. It's because this country literally saved them. Not that it was easy. It's not easy to come here and be accepted when you look different and speak another language. And you work hard to lose your accent and dress like they do, and make your hair like theirs so that you fit in, so that you feel 'a part of.' And you might not even notice you're doing that. It can be unconscious, and it might happen slowly. Your eyes are being opened to new things, new styles, new customs on TV. But it's human nature to want to be accepted by your community, by your country."

In the case of people from Cuba arriving in the '60s and '70s amid "mass fleeing," Morales explains, meaning those voters have lived in the U.S. for more than 40 years, during which time they became citizens and "proud" Americans. Morales earlier wrote, "Many Cuban Americans have been Republicans since Kennedy, who they feel betrayed them."

"You see a threat to your new life that feels familiar. That the people you trust are warning (lying to) you about," she added. "You're going to fight with all you have for your country. Because you don't want the same thing you saw happen to happen again. And the saddest part of this is, is that when you see the current administration belittling, caging, and mistreating immigrants (like you were, once)- you either are 1. in denial about it, you can't accept that this country you love could be so cruel or … 2. You feel you are not on their side anymore. You've been accepted. You're on the American side. This is your soil now. It's the same psychology that happens when you're a dorky kid in middle school and suddenly get in with the popular crowd … You reject your old, loyal dorky friends (even if you relate to them more) because you don't want to be associated with the shunned, and you don't want to go back to being rejected yourself. It's a type of colonized self hatred that I think every minority deals with."

While she said her theories make her "very sad" and was sure she'd experience blowback for her tweets, she concluded by writing, "It's important for our growth that we try to understand each other & ourselves more. This election has certainly made it look like we are truly divided. But I don't think it's that black and white. (Or Blue and Red)."