Haitian diaspora
Members of Miami's Haitian community, at a rally to encourage political participation in November 2020. Photo by Sam Bojarki

The Haitian electorate, a whopping 2 million Haitian Americans, has been influencing U.S. elections significantly since before 2016. Given its spread-out configuration throughout the country — especially in swing states like Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Florida — a look at the last two general elections illustrates that the Democratic Party could not win a statewide election in either of these states without significant support from the Haitian electorate. 

In 2016, there were about 305,000 Haitian-born residents living in Florida. During the general election, more than half either stayed home or voted for Donald Trump, rejecting Hillary Clinton because of her mishandling and manipulation of the 2011 Haitian presidential election that brought PHTK to power. As a result, Clinton lost Florida by a mere 112,000 votes. That proved the Haitian vote mattered and continues to matter tremendously. 

Haitians were also instrumental in helping the Democratic Party win the 2020 election at the presidential and congressional levels, where much of the Haitian vote went to the Democrats. Biden did not expect to win Georgia, but with the high turnout of Haitian Americans, he garnered a 12,000-vote margin over Trump. Moreover, Haitian Americans came out in high numbers to assure victories for senators Rafael Warnock and Jon Ossoff. 

Haitian Americans are migrating in droves to southern states, where they are set to integrate more into American politics and local governments. For example, Georgia has an estimated 60,000 to 90,000 Haitian Americans and Pennsylvania has nearly 100,000, which contributed to Biden winning by 80,555 votes. 

In Florida, Haitians tend to give their vote to the Democrats and the Democrat Party is taking their vote for granted. The U.S. as a whole continues to disrespect Haitian immigrants and Haiti’s democratic principles, and to prove its mettle, the Haitian electorate will make the Democrats a minority party after the 2022 mid-term election. 

To put it even more simply: Haitian Americans will not vote for any Democrat if Biden does not improve his foreign policy regarding Haiti.

Haitians have been expressing extreme dissatisfaction with the Biden-Harris Administration’s immigration and Haiti foreign policy. The party’s elected leadership keeps elaborating procedures that alienates Haitian American voters as well as exacerbates Haiti’s situation. This is despite years of support to help elect Democrats. Continuing to underestimate and take for granted the political value of Haitian Americans or their potential to switch their voting alliances to sway elections will continually prove to be costly to the party. 

Haitian Americans now live in several congressional districts where representation by Democrats and support for them has been dwindling. Therefore, the Democrats increasingly depend on the Haitian American vote for re-election. The Haitian electorate will have lasting effects on the Senate election in several swing states, especially in Georgia and Florida where Raphael Warnock’s re-election depends on 60,000 voters or so and in Florida, where Val Demings will not be elected without a high turnout of Florida’s 350,000 Haitian American voters. 

When it comes to the House Midterm Elections, if the Democrats want to succeed in 2022, they must support the Haitian American voters in six swing Congressional Districts: Georgia’s 7th Congressional District represented by Democrat Carolyn Boudreaux; Florida’s 7th, 9th and 13th Congressional Districts represented respectively by Democrats Stephanie Murphy, Daren Soto and Charlie Christ; and Florida’s 26th and 27th Congressional Districts, represented by Republicans Carlos Jimenez and Maria Salazar, respectively.

American politicians not taking the Haitian electorate seriously means these officials are not serious about winning elections or keeping their seats. With a growing political and politically literate electorate, this November 2022, the Haitian electorate will vote in bloc for politicians who listen and take actions that will lead to transformation in Haiti and strengthen the Haitian constituency through good sense immigration policies. 

Jacques P. Bingue, PhD, co-authored this article. 

Bobb Rousseau holds a Ph.D. in Administration and Public Policy with specializations in Public Law and Managing Local Government. Dr. Rousseau firmly believes that the Haitian diaspora in the United States is at a prime stage to build an attractive political force that can shift U.S. immigration, diplomacy, and humanitarian aid to Haiti and to advance the Haitian agenda around the world.

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