Reflections of a Masked Canvasser in Florida

Photo by Martin Sanchez | Unsplash

Photo by Martin Sanchez | Unsplash

I listened to the replay of Michael’s Friday program, where he spoke to people from different parts of Florida about the state of the election. I missed the opportunity to call in, but as a canvasser for the Democrats, I wanted to reflect on the state of the race from Brevard County, Florida.


I moved to Brevard County from Ireland seven years ago. I didn’t realize how Red the county was until I witnessed the 2016 election. President Trump’s margin in Florida was approximately 120,000 votes. His margin in Brevard was just over half of that at roughly 62,000, meaning that half of his margin came from here alone. I’m a permanent resident paying all my taxes. Still, I won’t have a vote until I get citizenship, which is disappointing. In the meantime, I’ll try doing my part in other ways. We’re an essential county in the 2020 election, and I’m working to reduce that margin.


(An interesting side-note: In Ireland, canvassers knock at every door and are ready to defend their candidates with the other side, but here we canvas only registered members of our own party. No persuasion opportunity, just a get-out-the-vote exercise.)


I’ve been canvassing at doors over the past weeks. A vast majority of the people I have spoken to will be mailing in their ballots. I’m therefore not surprised some politicians are trying to delegitimize the mail-in votes. I have a lot of Republican friends as neighbors, in fact, I’m surrounded. I first set out to better understand why they have stuck with the president. It really interested me to know why they still remain loyal to him. I’ve now realized that there’s nothing, and I mean nothing, he could do that would change their allegiance.

Many of the people here are ex-military. I thought they would be affected by the report in The Atlantic, saying that he called servicemen “losers” and “suckers” comments. They are still standing by him, contending that the article was a hit-job by a leftist media apparatus. I thought his chronic handling of the COVID-19 virus would surely lose them – “It’s China’s fault,” they said. They ignore the tapes that Woodward shared, which showed that Trump downplayed the severity of the virus. They all supported Reagan, who was tough on Russia, yet are okay with the president’s relationship with Putin, ignoring the charges of bounties on American soldiers. Climate change? “A hoax.”


So, why are they sticking to him despite everything? I now understand it is because they believe his policies are better for the America they want to have. They don’t care much at all about foreign policy or the alliances that America has. They fear the Democrats will allow non-white illegal immigrants in and will turn America into a socialist state. It’s really fears of the other side that drives them. Its fear stoked up by the media they watch. I hear them repeat all the soundbites from their favorite cable news station.


As I look around, there are just as many Trump signs here as there were four years ago – and quite a few pickup trucks with Trump flags. Not many people I know are turning. However, I have noticed that there are a lot more Biden signs than there were Clinton ones. This county is not going to turn Blue anytime soon. Still, I feel confident we can reduce that 61,000-vote margin, which might make a real difference in Florida as a whole. In my mind, character matters, and I hope the election turns out well since it really has consequences. The world needs America to lead again.

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