President Trump has just been declared the winner in Florida after pulling off a remarkable turnaround from 2016 in the Miami area, wooing conservative Cuban-American voters and other Latino groups in numbers sufficient to overcome Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s middling gains with white Floridians.
This is a big, though not huge, moment for his re-election hopes, mainly because it would have been all but impossible for him to win back the White House without capturing this state’s 29 Electoral College votes again.
Four years ago, Mr. Trump lost the Miami-Dade area by nearly 30 percentage points to Hillary Clinton. As of late Tuesday, that margin had shrunk to about eight percentage points with Mr. Biden at the top of the ticket — with Mr. Trump’s vote totals in that critical area increasing from 334,000 in 2016 to around 500,000 this year.
Mr. Biden spent far more time and resources courting Black voters, and he began to heavily invest in a major Latino outreach operation only late in the campaign. He had hoped he would come close to Mrs. Clinton’s benchmark, while siphoning off votes from Mr. Trump among disenchanted suburban whites and older voters.
If Mr. Biden could take any consolation from the loss, it was the fact that he marginally outperformed Mrs. Clinton in the county that includes Jacksonville, defeating Mr. Trump there, while exceeded her performance in Tampa and its suburbs, again by a small amount.
But while it was too early to draw any definitive conclusions about other states, one thing is clear: Mr. Biden’s focus on attracting white voters in the Midwest elsewhere, which seemed to be bearing fruit in Ohio, cost him with Latinos in Florida, who are a distinct ethnic minority that track to the right of Mexican-Americans and other groups.
Florida has been a heartbreak state for Democrats since George W. Bush narrowly defeated Al Gore there in 2000 after a partial recount and an intervention on the part of the Supreme Court that effectively handed the election to Mr. Bush.
Polls had shown the race very tight — with many showing Mr. Biden with a lead — but Democrats were hardly confident going into the night, given the closeness of the polls.