I'm getting a little scared about this election. On my 11 1/2 hour drive from Fort Lauderdale to New Orleans just before Halloween, with a dinner stop in Mobile, Alabama ( I really want to go back there. No, I really do! ), I needed to find something to keep me awake. What kept me alert for most of the drive was Republican Talk Radio and to be honest, the time flew. I didn't get mad one single time, but my jaw did hit the steering wheel on occasion as I listened to Herman Cain, Rush Limbaugh, and Sean Hannity for hours on end. I swear they read from the same Republican produced fact sheet for their words were often exactly the same. What else was interesting was that as I drove through northern Florida, all of that vast area above the Orlando / Tampa corridor, I had zero problem picking up the republican beacons.
Northern Florida feels different than southern Florida, because it is. When I planned my journey, I went a searchin for some gay bars in different cities, just in case I wanted to split my trip into two different days, hunker down for the night and have a drink at a LGBT watering hole or two. After Orlando and before Mobile, I think I found 1 1/2 gay bars in existence. I actually found about 7 or so, but through further research and looking at home and Facebook pages, the majority were no longer in existence, with one closing just this September. Now my research could be flawed, but for northern and western Florida, I think there's a shortage of places to have a gay drink. I know I don't need a gay bar to have a gay drink, but if I wanted to, I would be S.O.L. And if I just finished listening to Republican talk radio for 8 plus hours, I think I deserve a gay drink.
Back to my worrying about this election. I'm getting a little scared because I don't watch too much television, unless it is through the AppleTV and been Hulu-fied or Netflix-ed. During my stay here in New Orleans, a glorious two weeks, I've seen more political commercials than ever since A) it's closer to the election and B) I've been watching more live television. What I've seen … it's scary. No wonder when a Hillary Clinton campaign ad came during the New Orleans Saints vs San Francisco 49ers game we were watching at a local bar, people seem to just be done with it all. New Orleans is a little blue beacon in the red state of Florida, but it has it's flickering moments and some of the ads I've seen while here have been pretty shocking. It was hard to tell if the patrons were pro-Hillary, pro-Trump, or just pro-getthisfuckingthingoverwith. I think it was more the last one. No one really said much of anything when her ad came on, it was more of a sad somber feeling came over the bar. No one wanted to say anything positive or negative at the time and just seemed to lose energy.
Since I knew I was leaving early and would not be home to vote, I took the opportunity to cast my ballot on the Monday before I left. It took me 8 minutes if that at Wilton Manors City Hall. I was checking out of the race. I did my part. I voted how I voted and nothing is going to change that! I'm free!
Now the anxiety of waiting for the vote is setting in. It's tomorrow. It's going to happen. What will the result be? There are just too many questions coming at all of us. And maybe that anxiety is driving individuals to the polls. Before I left on my drive on Thursday October 27th, over 2.1 million early votes had been cast in Florida. To put that in perspective, that is almost twice the ENTIRE population of the state of Maine, not just voting population, but the whole population. Almost two weeks before the election, millions of votes had been cast in on state alone. Driving through northern Florida, I wondered if this more republican part of the state would get out and vote.
In a recent NYTimes.com,
Many votes have yet to be counted, but this much is already clear: Hispanic America has been mobilized like never before in the 2016 election, and is emerging as a formidable force with the power to elect a president.
Energized by anger at Mr. Trump and an aggressive Democratic campaign to get them to the polls, Latinos are turning out in record numbers and could make the difference in the outcome in several highly contested states.
And with African-American turnout so far failing to match the historic levels of 2008 and 2012, Hispanics could make up the difference. In fact, they could turn out to be Mrs. Clinton’s firewall.
In Florida, a state that is likely to be decided by the thinnest of margins, about one million of the nearly 6.2 million early votes counted as of early Sunday had been cast by Hispanics, an increase of almost 75 percent over 2012. In Clark County, Nev., home to Las Vegas and the state’s largest Hispanic population, a record 57,000 people voted on Friday alone.
Eight years ago, President Obama inspired a wave of African-American turnout, with black voters hopeful and deeply moved by his candidacy. This time, it is not an admired figure but a disliked one — Mr. Trump — who is driving the surge among Hispanics. Motivated by fear about what a Trump presidency would mean for their families, many Hispanics say they cannot afford to stay home.
“I’m scared for my country’s future,” said Cinthia Estela, 30, who is helping to organize Latinos for the Arizona Democratic Party. Sometimes, Ms. Estela brings along her mother and two young daughters, who are 8 and 9, to help in the effort.
“This is breaking us apart,” she said of the election. “This is taking us back many years.”
Crucially, many of the Latinos casting ballots are new voters. According to an analysis of early vote returns in Florida by Daniel A. Smith of the University of Florida, more than one-third of Hispanics who have cast ballots so far did not vote in November 2012.
“It is truly historic,” Mr. Smith said. “Donald Trump has done more to energize Hispanics in Florida than any Democratic candidate.” – NYTimes.com
The NYTimes.com article goes on to talk about how the Democratic party laid the groundwork for this election, years before tomorrow's final vote. It mentions even tackling the economic and health crisis in Puerto Rico, sending Bill there, reaching out to Hispanics in their own language, and going into their communities from Florida to Arizona.
The MiamiHerald.com put me a little at ease this morning with "Shattering records, Miami-Dade and Broward post huge Sunday voting numbers."
There’s really no other way to say it: Early voting went absolutely gangbusters in Florida’s two most populous counties on Sunday, during the last day the polls were open before Election Day.
Miami-Dade County Elections Supervisor Christina White reported 53,095 ballots cast, a number that shattered the county’s previous record of 42,810, set Friday.
Before that, Miami-Dade had never exceeded 39,400 in-person early voters in a single day; 40,051 voted Saturday, when much of the county was drenched in rain. Bad weather typically drives down turnout.
“This has no doubt been a record breaking election. Both in terms of overall turnout and because we broke the daily record today by more than 13,000 voters,” White said in a statement to the Miami Herald. “This coupled with minimal wait times has made early voting in Miami-Dade a success.”
In Broward County, 44,216 people voted Sunday, the highest total from the two weeks of early voting this year. The previous 2016 high, from Friday, was 36,276. On Saturday, 35,905 Broward residents voted, also despite persistent rain.
South Florida is of utmost importance to both presidential campaigns. Democrats hope to build a large enough cushion in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach to counter Republicans in Southwest and North Florida. Republicans hope to keep their South Florida margins close enough to have a shot if they do well in red areas and the swing I-4 corridor.
A Bloomberg report Sunday cited the Donald Trump campaign’s digital director, Brad Parscale, calling the Miami media market, which comprises Miami, Fort Lauderdale and the Florida Keys, as a place with “large numbers of persuadable” voters — despite the areas clear Democratic tilt.
Miami-Dade in particular has contributed significantly to the spike in Florida Hispanics at the polls. Though many are registered without party affiliation, polls indicate Latinos as a whole tend to favor Democrats. The exception are Cuban Americans, many of whom lined up Sunday at the West Dade Regional Library, a Republican stronghold. – MiamiHerald.com
I am not sure if I would have this anxiety if I was voting a different state. I can only speak about my own thoughts and feelings. Combined with the stigma that Florida has for ruining elections, being THE swing state, THE battleground state it is stressful. I guess one thing I can be lucky about is I was away for all the traffic jams created by the motorcades of politicians across the state. I think I could have seen Hillary, Michelle, or Barack all a total of 5 times within a 6 day stretch no more than 30 miles away from my house.
My vote has been cast. I know I did the right thing. But did everybody else?
Is it just as bad in your state?
What will life be like once the election is over?