President Obama has taken two huge political risks when it comes to his second-term foreign policy. He’s sought to normalize relations with Cuba, demanding few changes in the dictatorship’s human-rights record while granting the country diplomatic recognition. And on Tuesday, he cut a controversial nuclear deal with Iran, one that’s expected to be opposed by the mainstream pro-Israel American Israel Public Affairs Committee—and has chilled the traditionally close relationship between the U.S. and the Jewish homeland.
Those decisions will be reverberating in Florida, the most-significant battleground state on the presidential map, where Cuban-Americans and Jewish-Americans make up a sizable share of voters. Obama won the state in 2012 by only a 0.87 percent margin, or 74,000 votes out of over 8.4 million cast. His victory wouldn’t have been possible if he didn’t make major inroads with the traditionally conservative Cuban-American community, or if he’d lost significant ground with Jewish voters in the state. Obama’s unorthodox foreign policy, conducted after his reelection in 2012, will receive a clear up-and-down vote in the Sunshine State next year—but with Hillary Clinton on the ballot.
Obama advisers say they believe in the rapidly-changing nature of the American electorate, that younger voters are more liberal than their parents and are reshaping the country’s politics in dramatic ways.