Florida, I-4, Indys and voters' mood will tip the election

By: 
Oct. 7, 2016

Ah, the deplorables.

Maybe Hillary Clinton should turn the mirror around, and selfie style, point it at herself and her Republican counterpart — the real deplorables.

It's not exaggerating to say that, heretofore (prior to the Oct. 9 debate), the two presidential candidates have disappointed, exasperated and likely disgusted most Americans.
Deplorable behavior for the leading contenders of the presidency of the most powerful nation in the world.

Here is the tired question that is the theme of the election: How did we end up with these two?

On the Democratic Party side, Florida once again was involved in the drama, thanks to the Democratic National Committee chairwoman, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, helping rig the primary against Bernie Sanders.

Registered Republicans, meanwhile, out of total frustration with the party elites, establishment and hacks, chucked them all. Republican voters had it with them, especially after Tea Party supporters, Libertarians and Republicans alike in the 2010 and 2014 off-year elections gave Republicans ample majorities in Washington to undo all things ObamaWorld.

But when the GOP Congress choked, Republicans voters turned to a lifelong Democrat turned Republican who is a philosophical salad of more government authoritarianism and intervention mixed with less-government conservatism and lower taxation.

Republican voters said: “No more insanity! No more sending the same politicians to Washington and getting the same results.” They chose a disrupter, all right — a man for the times ... a reality TV star with big hair.

Truth is stranger than fiction.

The Democratic candidate, meanwhile, is a New-Old Democrat, which is to say a far-left progressive statist-slash-socialist who wants the federal government to manage, control and tax every facet of your life.

Let's not even go to the candidates' character here. Or who is more trustworthy or capable of competently managing through the next world crisis.

Come Nov. 8, the election results will come down to four things:

• Florida;

• Florida's I-4 corridor;

• Florida's third-party, non-affiliated voters;

• And the overriding mood of voters.

From the top ...

Florida
Florida's 29 electoral college votes will clinch victory for either candidate. Noted statistician Nate Silver calls Florida “the most likely tipping point state” in the election.

We have the unique position to be a purple state in presidential elections — even though Republicans dominate our congressional delegation, Legislature and Cabinet.

Surely you remember how Florida has voted:

1992 — Bush
1996 — Clinton
2000 — Bush
2004 — Bush
2008 — Obama
2012 — Obama
2016 — ?

The Real Clear Politics average of polls showed Clinton and Trump dead even in Florida on Sept. 26. But since the first debate, Mrs. Clinton climbed ahead by 2.9 percentage points, indicating the race still could go either way in Florida.

I-4 corridor
It is an increasingly accepted belief among Florida's political analysts that the I-4 corridor determines the outcomes of Florida's statewide and presidential elections. That would include seven counties stretching across the middle of the state from Pinellas on the west to Volusia on the east — with Pasco County, north of Tampa, now often included.

What was once a solid Republican mid-section of the state has turned mostly Democratic. Democrats outnumber Republicans by 176,852 in the I-4 corridor. And the votes in the three most populous counties — Hillsborough, Pinellas and Orange — were solidly Obama land in 2012. They carried Obama to victory with the thinnest of margins: 50.0% of the votes for Obama; 49.1% for Romney.

NPAs and third-party voters
Here's the breakdown in Florida:
Democrats: 38%
Republicans: 36%
NPAs/third-party: 26%

Clearly, the non-affiliated and third-party voters will decide Florida's presidential election.

Indeed, you can comfortably predict that Clinton and Trump each will win their diehard party voters.

But determining how the NPAs and third-party voters will vote is much more difficult, in part because they, too, are a salad of different philosophies: disaffected Republicans and Democrats and that swath of moderates who vacillate from one side to the other each election.

But here's a possible glimpse: In a Sept. 29 poll of likely voters by Arlington, Va.-based Red Oak Strategic, NPAs comprised 32% of the sampling. Of those, 33% favored Clinton, while 23% favored Trump.

Mood of the voters
According to Silver, Florida is “about two or three percentage points more Republican-leaning than the country at the moment.”

But no pollster can predict accurately voters' ultimate moods when they fill out their ballots. Clinton leads in Florida as of this writing, yet the rise of Sanders and Trump are reminders of the electorate's displeasure with the establishment.

Remember Brexit? Pollsters said it would fail. It didn't. Throughout 2014, Real Clear Politics polls showed Charlie Crist leading over incumbent Rick Scott for governor. They were wrong, too. Floridians totally rejected Marco Rubio in the primary.

Expect the unexpected.


EXCERPT: REASON FOR OPTIMISM
“The upshot since 1800 has been a gigantic improvement for the poor ... and a promise now being fulfilled of the same result worldwide — a Great Enrichment for even the poorest among us ...

“But the 20th century experiments of nationalism and socialism, of syndicalism in factories and central planning for investment, of proliferating regulation for imagined but not factually documented imperfections in the market, did not work.

“And most of the pessimisms about how we live now have proven to be mistaken. It is a puzzle.

“Perhaps you yourself still believe in nationalism or socialism or proliferating regulation. And perhaps you are in the grip of pessimissm about growth or consumerism or the environment or inequality.

“Please, for the good of the wretched of the earth, reconsider.”

— Diedre Nansen McCloskey
“Bourgeois Equality”