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Report: WTF Florida?!

A look into what gives in the Sunshine State

Florida Communications and Research Hub, Future Majority, Worthy Strategy Group, LLC : May 2021

Partnered by:



We must reclaim Family, Finances, and Freedom — the three most important values to white Floridians.


We have a pathway to beat Rubio. DeSantis’ Achilles heel: ambition (ambitious politicians often overlook day-to-day government duties). But it won’t be easy.


We have to seize on policy opportunities dropped by Republicans (unemployment, potholes, education), and clean up our own policy missteps (gas prices, the cost of the ACA, and economic messaging), all while speaking the same language as Floridians.


We have to understand and connect with the emotion behind the policies, driving Floridians’ voting behavior.
Our work seeks to uncover the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’ and provide clear guidance to the governing parties of today to better meet the needs of the American people and deliver results that will change their lives for the better.
In the wake of the 2020 election, Florida Communications and Research Hub and Future Majority joined forces to uncover a deeper understanding of what’s going on below the surface to reveal why Florida is the way that it is and what Democrats can do it about.

In this study, we explored how Florida White Voters (FWVs), generally 66% of the Florida electorate, perceive the federal, state and local levels of government, how they were looking into the future, why they voted as they did, what mattered and still matters to them, and how they think about issues that count. Getting FWVs is essential to winning the state of Florida. What follows is a revealing look into what drives the sunshine state.

The research approach

We used an online ethnographic approach in this research, prompting participants over a series of days to answer questions online through open text responses and metaphorical image gathering, with songs, creative exercises, and more in order to gain a comprehensive understanding of how people truly think and feel.

This approach, using metaphor as well as a variety of sensory exercises, was designed around the way that people think and the way thought is structured, leveraging best practices from the world of psychology and neuroscience in order to give participants the time and the space to share what matters most to them in an unfiltered manner.

Our methodology

Get more information about our distinctive research techniques.

The participants

We worked with 30 white Trump voting “Gettable” Independent voters who self-identified as holding moderately liberal to moderately conservative leaning beliefs and expressed a willingness to vote for Democrats. Both native and non-native Floridians were represented in our sample.
Our voters came from four key media markets in Florida – Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, Ft. Meyers – and were a representative sample across measures of income, education, location, and gender.
Our segments included:
  • 25-49 year-old Non-College Men and Women
  • 25-49 year-old College Educated Men and Women
  • Snowbirds: age 50+ non-native Floridians who were born in the United States

Florida White Indie Voters

The 3 key FWV values

“I vote for me and for people who are in my family. My focus is on my nuclear community and building connection with and supports for those people. I take care of my own.” (Safety was a recurring theme throughout the interviews)
“When I vote, I’m looking out for my pocketbook, whether it’s the high cost of healthcare or lowering taxes – finances are king.”
“I don’t want government getting in the way of my freedom to be productive and live large. Don’t tell me what I can and cannot do.”


“I think my purpose is to be here for my family when they are in need. I think I am here to help provide for my community when able and to help preserve it the best I can. My purpose for the nation is to stand up for what is right and what I believe in.” Andrea, College
mother and baby


money growing
“When I vote, I vote for the candidates that aligns as closely as possible to my own values … I believe in financial responsibility, hard work to pursue a comfortable living, and that QUALITY healthcare should not be out of reach for anyone.” Shana, Non-College


“Freedom! Financial freedom and personal freedom allow you to do what you want when you want. This is extremely important for mental health and overall well-being.”
Anna, Non-College
free woman dancing on beach

The 2020 Election – Biden/Harris vs. Trump/Pence

Explaining your vote for Trump

“At the end of the day, I am voting for myself.”
1. A Sense of Safety for my Family

2. Finances as King

3. Live Free(ish) or Die Trying

4. America(ns) First, Not Second

5. The Offensive Outsider Can’t be Corrupt

All imagery that follows, unless otherwise indicated, was provided by the research subjects.

A Sense of Safety for my Family

Why vote for Trump?
In many ways, our FWVs were immensely frustrated, feeling that the bargain they had made or had been born into – where they followed the rules and were productive, hard-working, job-holding citizens – had been broken. Trump represented safety and a return to the rules these voters knew and understood.
“Trump represented a vision of America I understood. But that we were also in a kinda cold civil war (culture war) that is in the eleventh hour.” Chris, Snowbird
“This photo is of the signing of the document to bring peace to the middle east. It made me feel thankful to know that there is still good in a world that has so much negativity and turmoil.” Shana, Non-College
document signing
man holding skateboard in fire
Why not vote for Biden?
With Joe Biden, FWVs perceived a weak, old, puppetted about leader who prioritized the needs of non-Americans and those who “broke the rules” instead of the good citizens who “did everything right.” This gave our participants a feeling that they were neither safe nor cared for and many anticipated chaos with a Democratic administration.
“This would represent the Biden ticket. A traditional way of thinking that allows for being stuck in a comfort zone and not wanting to step out of the safety of your little nest.”
Glenn, Non-College
“This represents Biden/Harris and their absurd idea that they should give in the the demands of people that are violent and bullying to get what they want.”
Beckie, College
“I believe Biden is nothing but a puppet for the Democratic Party. He is told what to do and when to do it because he obviously doesn’t have the mental capacity to make decisions on his own.” Katrina, Snowbird

Finances as King

Why vote for Trump?
Wanting to chase the economic high they felt during the Trump years, our Trump-voting FWVs held their nose and thought of their wallet, choosing money, jobs, and perceived economic competence above all other concerns. For these voters, the government is not a family, but a business.
“I feel that Trump/Pence stood for economic freedom. Because during the four years of that administration [the] economy was booming and jobs were plentiful. The unemployment rate was very low and the stock market was doing very good which is helpful to people’s retirement accounts.” Anthony, College
“The Trump/Pence ticket represented Americans first in my opinion. Lower taxes and with that comes an economy for people to have more liquid spending opportunity.” David, College
“The Trump/Pence ticket represented growth and a push for America and small businesses. The ticket represented not thriving on handouts but by paving pathways to success.”
Travis, College
red states impose lower taxes than buy states
trump health care
old man
Why not vote for Biden?
With FWVs, strong perceptions of Democrats as being the party of increasing taxes (for everyone), of “giving away” funds (thereby wasting taxpayer’s hard-earned dollars) and being strongly associated with the ACA (and associated high-cost premiums), led to a feeling that voting for Biden/Harris would result in bad financial outcomes.
“This image represents the Biden/Harris ticket because Biden wants a world where the important stuff is “free”. But all of those “free” items are not truly free. I have to work harder now and see my money not go as far. The cost of living and ordinary items have exploded in cost, and this was foreseeable.” Anna, Non-College
“I was hoping another term would give our country a chance at having [the] ACA shut down. Our premiums and overall costs are out of control. Middle class families (especially those with special needs) are suffering and there is no relief for families like us.” Mitra, Non-College
“The Biden/Harris ticket gives a false sense of hope. How can we expect all of the ideas to be paid for? How much longer can we print money for entitlement programs? We’re seeing that extending the unemployment surplus is hurting the economy as no one wants to work.” Travis, College

Live Free(ish) or Die Trying

Why vote for Trump?
“My vote choice would say that I stand for economic freedom and the security of the United States.” Anthony, College
“This represents the Trump/Pence ticket because I believe Trump is really proud to be American and live in the greatest country. I think he and Pence represent the American people and core American values.” Jennifer, College
“Energy independence [with Trump] made me feel secure knowing that we didn’t have to rely on sourcing our country’s energy needs from anyone else while being able to drastically bring down the price of gas to the everyday consumer.” Shana, Non-College
inhale freedom exhale patriotism
caged bird
american flag
caged bird
Why not vote for Biden?
“I hope [with Biden] that our freedoms aren’t slowly stripped away and that cancel culture ceases to exist.” Jennifer, College
“This represents a vote for Biden, children stuck in a prison-like school system that wants every kid to fit inside of the box.” Christa, Non-College
“I don’t vote for someone who is [going to] negatively affect me, [my] family’s life or livelihood. And any one person who promotes bigger government or the government controlling more of why we live is also a “Hard No”.” Daniel, Non-College

America(ns) First, Not Second

Why vote for Trump?
With Trump’s America First messaging, FWVs felt heard after feeling not attended to for a long time.
“A lot of people feel that the America first slogan was very selfish and self-centered, [but] it really meant that we had a party at the time that represented the American people, and did not represent overseas interests first.” Lisa, Snowbird
“America first means taking care of home – how can we help others if we aren’t taking care of ourselves first? Just like when flying: Please place the mask over your own mouth and nose before assisting others. How much money do we need to send to other countries when people here are hurting?” Ellen, Snowbird
“It represents my feeling for their whole campaign. Claiming that America should come first. I am an American and this is exactly how I feel, I think we should be taken into consideration for all that we, the “little” people, do for our country – we needed someone to stand up for us.” Robert, Snowbird
America first
oxygen mask
freedom flag
biden and xi jinping
Why not vote for Biden?
As Americans who felt left behind and overburdened, the Democratic party’s focus on the rights and resources of non-Americans gave FWVs the feeling that they had been left behind. Immigration, in particular, came up as a source of angst, with many expressing that Democrats wanted to completely open the borders of the United States and let just anyone in. And, with the experience of a government that felt unresponsive to their own concerns, a focus on anyone outside of America and Americans felt unfair.
“I think he is bought by China, only interested in helping the global elite and incompetent.” Sharman, Snowbird
“Biden/Harris – I was concerned that their position on immigration was too lax. If this country does not get the illegal immigration under control, the country will continue to see illegal activity as a result (drugs, killings, crime).” Mary, Snowbird

The Offensive Outsider Can’t be Corrupt

Why vote for Trump?
Perceptions of Trump as the ultimate, incorruptible outsider were strong, and his often brass, offensive nature not only reinforced this perception, but actually gave voters the feeling that he was more authentic, and therefore, more honest and less corrupt than other politicians.
“Trump and Pence made some really tough decisions that didn’t please everyone. However, I believe they had America’s interests at heart in terms of preparing our country for the next generation and beyond.” Aaron, Snowbird
trump twitter
thumbs up
same old stuff and corruption
Why not vote for Biden?
Looking at Biden/Harris, our FWVs saw Washington insiders and associated them with the corruption they believe the government to hold and the old ways of doing things, when they felt a fresh approach was needed to get things done.
“I felt the Biden/Harris ticket was a vote for the same old DC politics. Where politicians are bought and sold by lobbyists and once they get into office they owe people favors. And they don’t always think about what is good for the people.” Anthony, College
“I think this resembles situations where compromise will drive solutions – which will ultimately diminish the true objectives or work at hand.Policies have to change and just because we’ve done things for so long it’s time for some new thinking and new ways to get things done!” Aaron, Snowbird

Regarding President Joe Biden

“I think Biden is a puppet and was just placed in office so he could be manipulated. At least with Trump, he takes no crap from anyone.” – FLORIDA WOMAN

“I don’t think Biden has what it takes to stand his ground against some of the foreign leaders, and I think he is just a puppet of the Democratic party.” – FLORIDA MAN

puppet on strings

In many ways, perceptions of President Joe Biden are related to larger perceptions – both positive and negative – of the Democratic Party.

“He’s a Puppet”
“I felt that Joe Biden never had any control. He was more like a puppet.” Katrina, Snowbird

“I felt the Biden/Harris ticket was a vote for the same old DC politics. Where politicians are bought and sold by lobbyists and once they get into office they owe people favors. And they don’t always think about what is good for the people.” Anthony, College

“He Puts America 2nd”
“Taking care of home – how can we help others if we aren’t taking care of ourselves first? Just like when flying: Please place the mask over your own mouth and nose before assisting others. How much money do we need to send to other countries when people here are hurting?” Ellen, Snowbird
“He Doesn’t Appreciate that I’m One of the Good Ones”
“He does not understand that not all people care and want a pay out and take more than they give to this country. People like me should be prided and celebrated but we don’t get enough praise for this.” Stacey, College
“He’s Reducing My Freedom”
“Big federal government means less individual rights – we will be told what we can and can’t do – our money will be spent how THEY want to spend it, regardless of what the voters want. It moves people away from personal responsibility and greatness.” Ellen, Snowbird

“This [reaching hand] represents how the government is now and how it is trying to over reach and take away some of our freedoms.” Jennifer, College

“He’s a DC Insider”
“I vote for the person [who] I believe isn’t lying during their campaign. The person who actually stands up for the American people and truly wants what is best for this country. I vote against corruption. I vote against career politicians.” Katrina, Snowbird
“BUT Fixing Covid – Not too Shabby
“The $1400 stimulus check was a nice boost for me. I really appreciated it and it came in handy.” Anthony, College

“He has supported a strong roll out of Covid vaccines and management. He wants to help improve me and my family life’s with better infrastructure and plans that put America in a global spotlight as a world leader.“ Aaron, Snowbird

raining money
“This is how I feel about the US Economy. I picked the money raining down because of stimulus checks.” Jennifer, College M&W

“[Biden] has given me stimulus checks which we needed.” Tami, Snow Bird

“He wants to help us – President [Biden]. He wants to show us that there is a good America that helps its people. He has continued my SSDI. I’ve gotten stimulus checks. I’ve noticed he’s helped my friends. My friend just bought a house – he couldn’t have done that without Biden.” Robert, Snow Bird

“I think the outcome is good for those underserved people in our state. I reaped the benefit of the stimulus check but didn’t really need it. There should have been a sliding scale to help those who really need it more. But, I’m not going to lie-I love getting the stimulus checks! ” Stacy, College M&W

“[Biden] wants to give me incentives to increase the population by providing child tax credits and stimulus checks to incentivize births. Children that will work for the benefit of the older generations. He is doing an ok job so far. [I’d like] if he sent more stimulus checks for our families.”Jackie, Non-College M&W

“As far as regarding Covid and beyond, Republicans have come up short when it comes to providing stimulus checks to people who really need it. The Democrats were pushing for more stimulus checks to help people. In a non-Covid world, I feel the Republicans are better for my personal finance because they do look to have lower taxes. Which will make my paycheck more.” Anthony, College M&W

Regarding VP Kamala Harris

“I feel Harris is not really interested in being VP, rather being President. She overshadows him. She has aspirations of running next term. I feel Biden took her along for the ride to get the “brown/black” vote as well as the women voters.” – FLORIDA WOMAN
woman thinking

As may be expected, VP Harris is coming up against significant biases and pre-existing, negative perceptions of the Democratic Party.

“She’s Too Much/She’s Not Enough”
“She comes across as ‘cocky.’ She wears a smirk on her face that many would want to wipe right off. She can’t be taken seriously. She’s not equipped to be VP.” Beckie, College

“She strikes me as arrogant.” Mary, Snowbird

“She Just Wants to Spend Money/Push Abortion/Destroy America”
“She want to accomplish the complete and total destruction of America.” Daniel, Non-College

“Her politics and progressive policies will bankrupt this country.” Jesse, College

“She’s Not For Me/She’s For Black People”
“Vice President Kamala Harris doesn’t really think about people like me because she thinks we’re all racist.” Lisa, Snowbird

“I wasn’t her target demographic during her campaign.” Shana, Non-College

While sentiment is mixed across participants, it largely skews negative. In many ways, it feels like VP Harris can’t do anything right in the eyes of these FWVs.

“She’s Not Getting Things Done”
“She is responsible for being the quiet person behind the curtain. In reality, I have no idea what she is doing as she is out of the spotlight.” Jesse, College

“She hasn’t really done anything for me as of yet. President Biden did put her in charge of the border crisis but as of today she has not even visited our southern border with Mexico.” Travis, College

“She’s Not For Me/She’s For Black People”
“Vice President Kamala Harris doesn’t really think about people like me because she thinks we’re all racist.” Lisa, Snowbird

“I wasn’t her target demographic during her campaign.” Shana, Non-College

Story of 2022+

As I head into the 2022 election, I am planning to…

Be More Informed
“I will make a point of watching much more and reading, following what happens everywhere in the United States.” Kathleen, Snowbird

“I would need to tell my future self to make sure he does his homework on the candidates. Don’t just run to the polls and vote cause he is Republican or the other party. Check them out, look them up, Google them, see if they are for the future as you are.” Robert, Snowbird

Be Logical, Not Emotional
“Don’t vote off of pure emotions, but also be logical.” Anna, Non-College

“Stick to the facts and never allow your emotions to dictate any decision.” Shana, Non-College

Do What’s Right (for me)
“As always, I will vote my heart and what speaks to me most, no matter the party.” Beckie, College

“Do what you believe is right. Vote for the best choice for you.” Dennis, College

As I head into the 2022 election, I keep thinking about…

The Cost of Healthcare
“The most important is health. Making sure everyone stays healthy. Getting free healthcare is the number one priority.” Robert, Snowbird

“It would be nice if both parties [could] get together and figure out some kind of healthcare system that really works well for everyone in this country.” Lisa, Snowbird

“If this country does not get illegal immigration under control, the country will continue to see illegal activity as a result (drugs, killings, crime).” Mary, Snowbird

“We still have a huge crisis at our borders [that] no one can seem to figure out [how to handle] the right way.” Lisa, Snowbird

The Cost of Living, Overall
“The cost of living…everything from food, shelter, fuel, healthcare, utilities, taxes and insurances seems to not be on par with the average income. We need a functional real world solution to get the basic necessities to the citizens at a realistic cost.” Shana, Non-College

“I feel we are headed into another depression. [The] housing market is going to crash soon and I am worried it will be a HUGE issue in 2022.” Mitra, Non-College

What do people think of Gov. Ron DeSantis?

Ron DeSantis
“Ron DeSantis is a surprisingly candid politician who treats Floridians like adults, and does not want to control you for his own benefit. So far he has been great. Stay out of his way. Let him do his thing.” Peter, Non-College


Freedom, Bravo!
“DeSantis handled this state like he was conducting a Mozart symphony.” Chris, Snowbird

“As leadership started to step up, things started to become more comfortable. I have a high respect for DeSantis due to this reason. He was a voice of reason.” David, College

“State of Florida was great. That’s why so many people from other states came down here. They were tired of being held hostage in their own states.” Ellen, Snowbird

More to be Desired
“I think it was handled beautifully… with the exception of the increased difficulty due to the system reform to qualify for government assistance for things such as SNAP.” Shana, Non-College

“I’m a little on the edge. I like Governor DeSantis but I feel like he should have done more to protect people who did get hit hard from the pandemic and were financially ruined to try and help tenants and landlords more.” Lisa, Snowbird

Absolutely Horrible
“It was scary because I didn’t feel that the governor was prioritizing anyone’s safety.” Brittany, Non-College

“Government should have acted faster and made masks mandatory sooner instead of making everything political… DeSantis was too much in the Trump Camp to be aggressive enough; there was always an excuse.” Jesse, College

The father figure

Our FWVs unconsciously painted a picture of Governor DeSantis as a father figure to the state and its citizens.

As if talking about their own fathers, they chose verbs like protect, support, and guide to explain their perceptions of DeSantis and what he wants to do for them.

Ron DeSantis

FWVs perceive his top priority as governor to be stabilizing the economy, and to a lesser degree, education

Empowering workers and bringing more jobs into the state
“He wants people in the state of Florida to have the freedom to work and make as much money as possible. Also, less COVID restrictions so more people can work.” Anthony, College

“He wants to make sure taxes in our state remain low and competitive, and attract more people to move here and bring more jobs to Florida.” Jesse, College

Championing public education through increased teacher salaries
“Education is high on [his] list. He wants to compensate teachers accordingly.” Tami, Snowbird

“He is interested in increasing teachers’ pay.” Travis, College

Regarding raising wages for teachers and healthcare workers:

“Good morning, Governor DeSantis. Wanted to remind you that today is the day that you are going to be providing raises for educators and health care workers across the state. I hope you have a great day and look forward to checking in with you soon. Bye!” Florida Woman

Regarding schools and the environment:

“This would be for Governor DeSantis. Thank you so much for keeping schools open this year. This has been critical as a single father who moved to the state for that very purpose. Fantastic! Sorry I’m moving around so much. What I would love to see you do would be to discuss very openly and plainly how you’re going to solve the red tide problem, which on the west coast is a disaster for four months a year, and really, really is an environmental nightmare. It seems like you’re being pushed around by big business when it comes to the big agriculture, ‘cause I’m assuming that’s where the algae blooms come from, from all the fertilizer that goes into the sugar planters up in the north. ‘Because that’s what I hear through the news. So, maybe I’m wrong, but I would love to see a plan for solving red tide and keeping the Florida aquifer crystal clear and pure. But everything else, kudos, sir.” Florida Man

DeSantis possesses a Florida-first mentality, supporting FWVs’ dreams to live happily in the state

Wants to enable Floridians to improve their quality of life and remove barriers to success
“He wants to make Florida a fantastic place to live. And with that he makes my life easier, safer, healthier. That’s what I believe he wants to do for me and everyone else. He truly seems to have others interest in mind.” David, College

“Continue to support a strong Florida for me and my family. That we always have the resources available to support and enjoy our daily lives.” Aaron, Snowbird

Taking a protective, yet relaxed stance regarding COVID that still conveyed safety
“He has made me feel safe during the pandemic. I was never scared to leave the house. I was able to continue to shop, socialize, attend appointments and celebrate family events without the fear of consequences… We have lost very few businesses because of DeSantis’ attitude and governing.” Tami, Snowbird

“Tried to balance the COVID crisis and economic impact to our citizens.” Mary, Snowbird

Put simply, DeSantis gets Florida.

Understands Floridians’ desire for freedom in all forms and is aligned to freedom being a core state ideology
“The governor does understand that Floridians like to be open… and not restricted or restrained in any shape, layer, or form.” Lisa, Snowbird

“We don’t want to live in restrictive, high taxed states such as California and New York.” Ellen, Snowbird

Has an accurate pulse on the needs, and wants, of the state and its citizens
“I think he doesn’t miss anything. He’s pretty spot on in running our state.” Brooke, College

“I think he has met many challenges during the pandemic. I believe Floridians are pleased with his performance.” Tami, Snowbird

However, DeSantis may have a weakness in the ambitious, Trump-following path he’s been on.

Florida Man

“Hi Governor DeSantis, I’m calling because you need to stand up for all Floridians and move away from being so political. You need to get away from being a Trump supporter and being on this train and realize that there’s other people out there who want to support you, but when you just give in to everything it doesn’t look good. You need to really stand up and keep our state growing, attracting people and businesses with tax incentives and keeping sure taxes stay low here. But you also need to do more to tell us how you’re improving infrastructure and how you’re improving the flooding risk of this state so that we are not underwater in 20 years. We need to do something now and take action soon so that we don’t have a next generation who can’t live here, and that we lose all this beautiful real estate and beaches that have been built up over the past 20 years. So it’s up to you and we need you to do it and take a stand.”

Opportunity for Dems

Many FWVs struggled with Florida’s unemployment system and said that could have been handled better. NOTE: We need to test how the distribution of vaccines for his wealthy donors first plays in Florida.
“In the early parts of COVID-19 it was very difficult living in Florida – there was a huge problem with Florida’s unemployment system; many people had to wait months to get that unemployment check.” Anthony, College

Regarding Florida’s unemployment system:

“Hi, Governor DeSantis. I’m leaving you a voicemail regarding my unemployment. And what I would like is for you to please reopen my case and pay me the unemployment that is due to me, because thanks to previous Governor Rick Scott, who made the guidelines and other changes to the unemployment, I was cheated out of what is rightfully mine, and I should get paid my unemployment. I would also like to overhaul the system to make it easier and more fair because we definitely had a lot of problems during the pandemic with people applying for and receiving their unemployment assistance. Thank you!” Florida Woman

cars waiting in line

What do people think of Sen. Marco Rubio?

Marco Rubio
“I can honestly say, I don’t know what he wants to do for me. And sadly, I believe that’s Marco’s fault for not being accessible enough to express what he wants to do for people like me.” David, College

The cipher

When asked, “What has Marco Rubio done for you?” of our FWVs couldn’t articulate an answer – the prevailing “I don’t know” shows a fundamental disconnect between their understanding of state & local and federal government.

They directly feel the impact of their Governor’s power, but are blind to the Senator’s action, leaving them questioning what power he has and what exactly Rubio can, and should be doing for them.

lady justice

Rubio’s personal story is closely tied to what FWVs view his priorities to be as senator: enabling the pursuit of the American Dream and immigration

Providing the opportunity to pursue and achieve the American Dream
“He would like to make sure that the ability to come from nothing and become a successful remains attainable for those who put the effort in to pursue it… [That’s] the American dream… Marco’s family came here from Cuba.” Shana, Non-College

“I think he wants Floridians to achieve the American Dream and become better US citizens as a result.” Stacey, College

Representing diversity while still being tough on immigration
“He’s running to strengthen the minority imbalance.” Travis, College

“[He wants to] secure the country’s borders.” Brooke, College

His constituents want to believe he cares about them, but he is out of touch and lacks understanding of bread and butter issues

The perception that Washington has consumed Rubio overshadows his commitment to Floridians
“Marco to me seems more involved with trying to make it to the big stage rather than staying at a local state level. I believe Marco cares for individuals but comes across as the typical political rat.” David, College

“He probably cares a lot about the people that he is representing, but is also lost in the big Washington… since he’s been in the Senate.” Sharman, Snowbird

A missing connection to the middle class
“In my neighborhood [it] seems like the median income is not as high as his median income. So I think he misses out on what the poor and the middle class… can’t afford to do – the little things, [like] health insurance for one.” Robert, Snowbird

“He says he’s concerned about housing issues but it’s only for low income. He is ignoring the middle class that is suffering as well… The market is dry, there are no homes and the few that are available are INFLATED. No one is able to buy a home!” Mitra, Non-College

“Get to know us so we can get to know you better.”

Florida Woman

“Hi, this is for Marco Rubio. I would like if you could make your presence more well-known in the area where I am, in southwest Florida, Cape Coral in particular. I would like for you to perhaps set up monthly or bi-monthly meetings that you could come to our area, the Cape Coral, Fort Myers area, and listen to what the people have to say, and get to know us and what we would like for our community, what we’d like to see in our city. And just get to know us so we can get to know you better. Thank you.”

FWVs lack understanding of what a senator is responsible for and therefore can’t pinpoint exactly what Rubio has done for them, nor can they readily identify his beliefs

The combination of minimal voter education and Rubio’s lack of public persona result in an inability to attribute impact to him
“I do not know what he’s done for me. I know what DeSantis has done… Rubio, not so much.”

“I can’t think of something that he has done that has personally affected me.” Andrea, College

Floridians have only a high-level understanding of Rubio as a senator
“I don’t really know much about Senator Rubio except [that] he is a Republican.” Jennifer, College

“To be completely honest, I do not know anything about Marco Rubio.” Anna, Non-College

Opportunity for Dems

FWVs feel the absence of DeSantis and Rubio’s public presence:
“[DeSantis would be better if he] conducted community meetings to hear firsthand what concerns Florida residents.” Mary, Snowbird

“I don’t really know what [Rubio] wants to do for me because he doesn’t give hardly any press conferences and doesn’t even go on Twitter to explain what he is doing for Floridians in the US Senate.” Anthony, College


What Floridians want

Florida’s ideal leader

Here’s what they say they want…

Recognizes that most constituents don’t have detailed knowledge of political processes, so they use everyday language to make complex ideas easily understandable

Holds frequent public meetings/events and actively communicates with the public via social media, news appearances, and in-person engagements, exhibiting a proactive, not reactive mentality

Has a demonstrated record of telling and sharing the truth with constituents so activities, policies, and legislation and their effects can be understood by those who will feel the impact
Not Blindly Partisan
Considers what’s best for Florida’s constituents and the state overall, making a commitment to consider legislation from the opposing party or bi-partisan legislation, and not voting strictly along party lines for the sake of adhering to the party

Here’s what they actually are calling out for…

1. Biz outside the beltway
To be good with money, transparent and not corrupt, who can keep people free.
2. Strong parental figure
To keep the “the lazy boyfriend” that is Florida in line and productive. To set clear rules that everyone knows and follows, and enforce them.
3. Makes them feel smarter
To combat their insecurity about being the dumb ones (e.g. Florida Man) – a focus on children and education as an extension of family.
4. Speaks their language
Understands Family, Finances, and Freedom. Ties policies back to personal benefits.
5. Bread and butter focus
With a focus on finances and productivity, tends to the cost of living and the roads – the things that keep Florida humming – or not.

Permits & Potholes

When FWVs talked about government and its role in their lives, they illustrated a picture of a government whose job it was to keep people safe and to keep things beautiful and in good order, but often failed to deliver with everyday things or reduced their freedom to live as they pleased.

Keep us moving and productive

Our FWVs deeply value what keeps them physically moving and productive in Florida – from clean water to the mail to roads that work – and yes, even stimulus checks – government was seen as the helper or hindrance to getting things done.
stop sign
palm tree
stop sign
face mask
white house letter

Infrastructure for the people – roadway and sewage systems to keep us moving

Boulevards, Interstates, and Maintenance
In Jacksonville, Southside Blvd and San Jose Blvd cannot handle the current immense traffic volume and need to be expanded

Interstate 295 has been under construction for far too long with what seems like little to no movement

Reducing the number of potholes in roads, along with re-applying paint lines more frequently to ensure motorists have clear visibility

Sewers and their Impact on Water
“Antiquated systems in Miami cause problems, resulting in polluted drinking water and residents “hav[ing] to filter and bring in all of [their] own water.” Anna, Non-College

FWVs want tax credits, or some sort of discount, for installing water filtration systems in their homes

An investment in education – as a means to productivity

Investing in Education
Raising teacher salaries in the state

Funding for special needs resources, like speech and behavioral therapy

Using federal dollars to establish a pathway to college

More education funding, from preschool to college, is seen by many to provide a return on investment to the state as individuals are likely to stay in, or return to Florida and pay taxes

Cancelling Student Loans
Younger FWVs want student loan forgiveness, although the amount varies. The rising cost of education has buried them under a mountain of debt that prohibits them from contributing to the economy as they struggle to make payments

“I would like to see student loan debt reduced so my generation can start contributing to the economy… instead of being buried under loans.” Brittany, Non-College

An investment in education – as a means to combat stereotypes

The Florida Man
The Florida Man phenomenon hits home for our FWVs, taking aim at their perceived lack of education and common sense:

“It makes sense… the rest of the United States looks at Florida as a joke, saying that stupid people do stupid things.” Robert, Snowbird

“[Florida Man] says Floridians are unhinged, crazy, and uneducated, which is far from the truth.” Mitra, Non-College

Better Education, Better Perception
By investing in education, Florida can directly combat the shame and stigma that comes with the Florida Man stereotype and turn a misconception into something to be proud of.
flag in hurricane

An efficient unemployment system – that supports productivity

A Hard-to-Navigate System
The current unemployment system is “cumbersome and ineffective,” resulting in delayed, missed, or refusal of benefit payments

“I was assisting my daughter with applying for Florida unemployment and although she qualified, she never received. This placed a financial burden on me as she could not support herself and two children.” Mary, Snowbird

Federal Unemployment Benefits
FWVs are concerned that the additional federal unemployment benefits provided by the CARES Act and American Rescue Plan are leading to worker shortages

“No one is going out [and] getting work and it’s really no incentive for them to work [when they can] keep accepting unemployment without having to look for work… We need workers out in the workforce.” Tami, Snowbird

Keeping us financially OK

Talk of money and jobs was arguably one of the most important things for our FWVs, and the role of government in impacting their wallet and home values was huge.
capital gains
home buying
bank of america

Infrastructure for the people – affordable housing industry

The lack of affordable housing throughout Florida needs to be addressed, regardless of income level
“I worry about affordable housing that serves the local needs – we need to make sure we have affordable housing for all people regardless of income levels. I’ve been in my house for years, but it can be challenging for young families, [individuals] young in [their] career, service industry, first responders, teachers – all important roles [that] we need to support housing needs for in the future.” Aaron, Snowbird
Out-of-state and out-of-country investors are buying inventory, thus fueling housing inflation
“Another issue we have to address is the limit of out-of-country investors coming in and buying all of our home inventories in cash. They turn around and they rent them out and this is affecting our already inflated housing market and Floridians are the ones who suffer the most. It’s everybody that comes from California, New York, overseas and they buy our homes up in cash. There needs to be a limit, especially to the out-of-country investors.” Mitra, Non-College

Affordable healthcare – and medical freedom

Affordability and Access
Healthcare coverage is expensive and therefore cost prohibitive: A retiree under 65 is paying over $1,000 per month for coverage, yet is still too young for Medicare

“Medicaid expansion would minimize the current coverage gap – some Floridians earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, yet do not make enough to qualify for tax credits through the ACA marketplace: “[Medicaid] is not just for children and the [poor]. There are a lot of people like myself that fell in between the cracks and we end up with no health insurance at all.” Lisa, Snowbird

Bodily Autonomy
Some are excited that Biden/Harris are “put[ing] “medical choice back into the hands of citizens.” Shana, Non-College

Others are concerned about their medical freedom being taken away due to what’s perceived as mandatory vaccinations and masking for COVID, specifically. This creates broader concern for the future:

“It is a big deal when the government gets involved and controls your body.” Mitra, Non-College

A solution to – rising consumer prices

Feeling the Squeeze Everywhere
It’s hard for FWVs to ignore the rising cost of just about everything, and most attribute these increases directly to Biden/Harris:

“[Biden] has raised gas prices and the cost of other goods… [Now that we] don’t have a businessman in power to guide us back, I am fearful that the people will continue to struggle financially in the long term with high property, gas, lumber, consumable prices.” Anna, Non-College

FWVs are blaming Biden/Harris for increasing gas prices, noting that under Trump, gas prices remained relatively low for four years but are now rising with the new Democratic administration

Keeping us safe

For our FWVs, government’s job was to keep them physically safe. Rules, locks, and police played a big role in their perception of safety, while safety around COVID was considered to largely be an overstep.
police officer
stop sign
sliding window lock
ronald reagan quote

Family safety – and government protection

Safety or What’s the Point?!
“The most important role besides managing our economy our President needs to be on top of [is] foreign affairs. He has to keep us safe with the military. The President sets policies and enacts them.” Tami, Snowbird

“I think the most important duties of the government are to physically protect the people, provide a proper foundation so that those who work reasonable hours can be successful and prosper, keep us safe, keep us healthy and keep us FREE. America was founded by the oppressed seeking a better life, and we need to keep that in mind in everything we do.” Anna, Non-College

What’s Happening in the Streets Threatens Me
“The violence I’m referring to is the overall gun violence, shootings, riots, police brutality, etc. If we don’t step up to end the violence I think it will just continue to get worse. If people don’t feel like they can rely on their government and police to protect them and keep them safe, then they will be forced to take action themselves. I am fearful of what that world would look like.” Alden, Non-College

Keeping things beautiful

Our FWVs don’t care about saving the earth – they care about saving their views, preserving Florida’s natural beauty, and keeping their air and water clean.
pool umbrellas

Environmental solutions to – preserve natural beauty and home values

Combatting the Red Tide
The green algae the water releases from Lake Okeechobee into the Gulf of Mexico creates a disastrous environmental nightmare four months out of the year

The red tide and algae blooms not only kill fish, but exacerbate health problems in individuals with chronic lung conditions

Impacts on Property from Flooding
Flooding is an ever-present concern in Miami and Fort Lauderdale due to hurricanes and the erosion of rivers

This plays into the economic concerns FWVs have about the high cost of property and disaster insurances throughout the state

Florida in context

What is Florida, really?

Tax-friendly, beautiful, and laid-back, Florida is not just a state, but a state of mind.
“Florida is definitely my friend because it’s so laid back and easy going particularly outside of south Florida. I do not need to argue with the state because there is no state income tax!”

“I love Florida. My state has handled the COVID-19 pandemic very well. And our state is 100% opened up now. Businesses are open and jobs are plentiful. My relationship with Florida is a very strong marriage.”

“I like Florida, it has nice weather and there is always the beach! I think Florida is the lazy boyfriend because you want to be doing other things but he keeps holding you back. Florida is kind of slower paced-it is almost like an island time type feel, no one is in a rush. NO STATE TAX (HELLLLO), just overall good vibes.”

“I’d describe my relationship [to Florida] as my second cousin! Because we are really close.”

drink on the beach

Dreams for Florida’s future

FWVs want more unity, less division, and to focus on America first. They have different ideas of who is responsible for making a better future happen, but it’s clear that the government and American citizens are essential parts of the equation.

More Unity, Less Division
“I’d like our country to come together and not be so divisive. I feel we’re getting to the point that people are voting just to oppose the candidate they don’t like.” Travis, College

“I would like to see the Democrats and Republicans come together more. There is so much resentment and conflict between the two groups and it has never been worse.” Stacey, College

America First
“I would like to see the United States stop bowing down to everyone else and put its foot down as the world leader. We need to be in front of every global issue instead of bickering about what other countries are doing and lead by example.” Jesse, College

“One thing I would like to add is that we as Americans need to vote people into office that have the best interest of America heart and not lobbyists for their own personal bank account.” Anthony, College

Political and democratic aspirations aside, our FWVs care about health, disease, and environmental pollutants and want solutions. They desire to be heard, thus feel valued, by their elected officials.

Healthier Minds, Bodies, and Environment
“Taking a look about carbon monoxide poisoning into our air. Not only having more electric cars… but actually having those electric cars to be affordable to everybody.” Robert, Snowbird

“I’d like to see a cure for cancer… More organic options in the grocery stores… the pesticides and preservatives are killing us. Steroids and hormones given to animals… are killing us. It all needs to stop.” Katrina, Snowbird

Feeling Valued
“I would like to thank you for listening to my opinions. I do feel as though the government is not listening as much as they should be in the lower level maybe.” Robert, Snowbird

How do FWVs view diversity and unity?

I Love It!
“We can have better careers, futures, outlooks on life, basically we can be better humans if we accept diversity in all forms.” Mitra, Non-College

“Learning that we are all not the same person [or] people and learning from each other and being accepted by all is vital.” Kathleen, Snowbird

“To me [diversity] means accepting our differences and still choosing to stand together to achieve a goal for the greater good.” Anna, Non-College

It’s Divisive
“Diversity is not strength. Diversity dissolves cohesion… [Currently, we want diversity] only if you represent the right thought.” Chris, Snowbird

“I think diversity is a good thing… [but] It should not be shoved down your throat though.” Jesse, College

“Unity is a lie and very controlling… I am not a fan of how the current administration uses unity.” Daniel, Non-College

Where it Matters Most
“Diversity matters when it comes to basic civil rights. As Americans, all races should be treated the same as our Constitution states.” Anthony, College

“It doesn’t matter in the workplace but it matters in schools and government.” Tami, Snowbird

“It matters at the polls, a good politician should have a diverse base.” Peter, Non-College

The state of news in Florida

Awash in misinformation, our FWVs were constantly bombarded with misinformation and their ability to identify what’s true and what’s not had become skewed.

We shared the following video with participants as a means to see how they processed news that may or may not be considered misinformation.

Participant reactions were varied, but the impact of “fake news” propaganda was real. Many doubted the veracity of any CNN clip and hated the format of opinion as news.

Real vs. fake news: how do Floridians tell?

Our FWVs liken figuring out what’s true and what isn’t when it comes to news to being a detective – going with their gut intuition and gathering information from various sources to corroborate.
Fact Checking & Cross-Referencing
“I can make my own decisions and do not believe everything I read like some people. I have real world awareness… fact checking and not taking every word seriously that comes out of a journalists mouth.” Jesse, College

“I guess I am pretty hesitant to believe anything until I research it. You can’t trust the media these days… [I do] good old fashioned research. Looking up the headline at multiple news sources. Then coming to the conclusion on my own.” Mitra, Non-College

Going With My Gut
“I have a built-in pessimism, bs-radar… [I] actually think, and then occasionally Google information.” Peter, Non-College

“In NYC working at the Opera I was a lone centrist in a sea of leftists… Becoming ostracized forced me to be very clear, very careful with my sources…. Once I started waking from my cultish hypnosis a moral compass began forming. That alone has been a revelation.” Chris, Snowbird

What’s with news consumption in Florida?

Our FWVs are bouncing between sources, searching for truth via facts, not opinions. They want to be educated and informed, but it’s hard – they’re inundated with headline after headline, confronted with “biased” outlets and organizations, and confused by misinformation. Aside from what we already know (people watch the big TV networks – Fox, CNN, MSNBC – even though they skew right or left), Floridians pointed to other media they consume to get their news.
Local News

Local news meets people where they’re already at and covers close-to-home happenings:

  • Newspaper: The Orlando Sentinel & Tampa Bay Times
  • TV: Local news stations/broadcasts; the Weather Channel
  • Digital: Governor’s website
Personally Curated Feeds

Curated lists or feeds echo the personal feel that local news provides, pulling together headlines and stories that give a just-for-me feeling:

  • Google News
  • Yahoo News
  • Need2Know
  • Facebook & Twitter
Alternative Media

Bucking the norm of how news has traditionally been consumed, even combining information and entertainment:

  • Late-Night TV (i.e., John Oliver)
  • Reddit
  • Podcasts (i.e. Commentary Magazine)

How is the Florida government perceived?

What is it?

My buddy
  • Likeable
  • Want to drink a beer with
  • Not too serious
  • Loves a good time
  • hero
    My hero
  • Protective
  • Fighting for the people
  • Has a moral compass
  • Law and order
  • clueless
    A hapless agent
  • Clueless
  • Mischievous
  • Idiotic
  • Unproductive
  • It’s my buddy
    Our FWVs painted a picture of Florida’s state and local government as a fun-loving, go-to friend to grab a beer with that lives life freely.
    “We have Ron the Rockstar DeSantis. TV characters desire to be like him. My relationship with him if possible would be a drinking buddy!” Glenn, Non-College
    “Charlie Brown – he always worked hard to please everyone and to be everyone’s friend – pushing for unity, fun and good times for all.” Aaron, Snowbird
    “I would describe my state government as Stiffler. He’s never shy or scared to be different, doesn’t take anything too seriously and loves a good time. I understand where this character is coming from, but it annoys me sometimes that they aren’t more focused on the important things.” Anna, Non-College
    DeSantis and charlie brown
    man on cooler
    gary cooper + andy griffith
    superman and captain america
    uncle phil
    wyatt earp
    It’s my hero
    Strong, powerful, iron-willed, and not afraid to ruffle some feathers to do what’s right: this is how FWVs envisioned their government, nodding to superheroes and old-school good guys.
    “DeSantis? Gary Cooper, High Noon. Too many in our country and frankly around the world are afraid to speak up, speak their mind or answer the call to defend the values we have inherited. As the Sheriff, Gary Cooper was compelled by his own conscience to stay one more day to fight for the town but when trying to enlist the help of the townsfolk, not a one would stand with him. Selfish and fearful, one by one they all chose the smallness of their own lives over the larger life of the town.” Chris, Snowbird
    “State Governor, Andy Griffith.” Daniel, Non-College
    “Superman… My relationship would be that of the other people working in his office that has no idea what he does when he leaves the office.” Shana, Non-College
    “Captain America because I feel our governor stands for freedom with trying his best to lift Covid restrictions. And also get businesses opened and people back to work.” Anthony, College
    “A strict, wise father and I am the daughter.” Sharman, Snowbird
    “Wyatt Earp in Tombstone. Trying to keep the peace but not afraid to battle the enemies or anyone trying to impose.” Travis, College
    It’s a hapless agent
    It’s affable, yet they’re still weary. It’s seemingly productive, yet nothing gets done. Our FWVs painted a picture of their government as clueless, ineffective, and possibly unethical.
    “Kramer from Seinfeld. They are completely clueless. Guess I’d be Jerry kinda stuck with him and know he’s an idiot.” Dennis, College
    “I would say Eddie Haskell from Leave it to Beaver. They are nice to the public when they need to be (like how he was to Mrs. Cleaver) but when the camera is off or no one is watching, some mischievous and unethical stuff might go on. I would probably just be one of Eddie and Wally’s classmates who is an observer to what is going on but not getting involved with all the shenanigans.” Stacey, College
    “Homer Simpson – he shows up to work, collects a paycheck, tries to pretend he knows what he’s doing but really has no clue and ultimately accomplishes nothing.” Mitra, Non-College
    kramer and eddie haskell
    homer simpson

    How is the federal government perceived?

    What FWVs want the federal government to stay out of:

    Helping Other Countries Before Our Own
    “Giving aid to foriegn countries when we have plenty of problems here. Need to take care of our own first.” Dennis, College

    “Civil wars in other countries! They’ve been going on for hundreds even thousands of years!! We CANNOT be the police for the whole world!” Katrina, Snowbird

    Controlling the Market
    “I think we should limit financial / budget oversight.” Aaron, Snowbird

    “I think the government should not give bailouts to companies that do not deserve the help, ie. They brought the problems on themselves. I also think the government should not provide so much assistance, without it being harder to get it.” Jennifer, College

    Dealing in Corruption
    “I think lobbying is the least important thing the government does. I think too much money is spent on this and this leads to corruption, greed and poor outcomes since promises are made in exchange of votes.” Stacey, College

    “The government should not be giving foreign aid to our adversaries. This is used in turn for nefarious reasons that sabotage the philanthropic nature of our country.” Jackie, Non-College

    What we have:
    1. Inefficient
    2. Ineffective
    3. Corrupt & Chaotic
    4. Disconnected from the Best of our History
    What we want:
    1. Efficient
    2. Effective
    3. Facilitating the Success of the American People
    4. Connected with the Wisdom of the Generations

    Let’s talk money

    Who’s in charge of the economy?

    FWVs view the government as playing a key role in the economy, but also acknowledge the other factors (i.e., stock market) that influence it. They rely on the government to keep the economy together and running so they can independently support themselves through work.
    Government and its policies impact the economy
    “Government provide[s] oversight and guidance to operate legally.” Aaron, Snowbird

    “The government is helping us keep [the economy] together. Whether to do with money and food and products.” Robert, Snowbird

    And Republicans are better at it
    “The economy is in a very uncertain state at the moment. I do feel like it would be better with Republican rule as we saw such a great bull market over the last 4 years.” Anna, Non-College

    “I have to go with Republicans – they’re better for the economy. Pre-pandemic our economy was rolling… Americans had more liquid spending money and when you give them more liquid money they spend it, which boosts the economy… ” David, College

    And what’s the economy, really?

    “This is the economy, and the hand represents the government and those in power.” Peter, Non-College

    “The economy is all the products and services that move throughout the world and all the supply and demand factors that play into industry and business. It is defined by the gross domestic product of the output generated in a country.” Jesse, College

    “[The economy] is how society works. Things are made. People buy [things] and that creates jobs. People use the jobs to make money and that pays for the things to buy.” Daniel, Non-College

    “It’s the financial lifeline of the country.” Christa, Non-College

    man walking on a string

    The meaning of work

    Our FWVs view work as a means to be self-reliant, independent, and therefore free. Jobs are essential to support them and their families so they do not have to depend on the government or others.
    Freedom from Government
    “A job is very important because that’s how you have a sustainable life and have the freedom to do what you want to do. Everything costs money, and if you have a family you need this to support them and pay bills.” Alden, Non-College
    Purpose in Productivity
    “Having a job is important because it gives you a sense of purpose and helps you contribute to your community.” Brittany, Non-College

    “I cannot stress enough the importance of having a job – not only for personal and professional development, but to be a role model for family and friends so they can see your contributions to society.” Jackie, Non-College

    “The Engine of Life”
    “Work represents the engine of life. When you work you have a purpose, and a vehicle to use your earnings any way you see fit. It is freedom. You earn it, you spend it.” Peter, Non-College

    Opportunity for Dems

    We know from our research that Republicans are strongly associated with better economic outcomes because of their business associations and perceived financial acumen. It is critical that the Democratic party tell a better economic story and come to a deep understanding of how important jobs and being productive are to voters.
    construction worker holding yellow hard hat

    Summary: what’s next


    We must reclaim Family, Finances, and Freedom – the three most important values to white Floridians.


    We have a pathway to beat Rubio. DeSantis’ Achilles heel: Ambition (ambitious politicians often overlook day-to-day government duties). But it won’t be easy.


    We have to seize on policy opportunities dropped by Republicans (unemployment, potholes, education), and clean up our own policy missteps (gas prices, the cost of the ACA, and economic messaging), all while speaking the same language as Floridians.


    We have to understand and connect with the emotion behind the policies, driving Floridians’ voting behavior.

    In conclusion

    With a new approach, we have a pathway to winning in Florida. But it won’t be easy. This is just the first step to better understand what’s happening in our states.


    Would your vote change?

    Trump Would Still Have My Vote

    If given the chance, most people would still vote for Trump over Biden. Few FWVs showed regret for having voted for Trump, and some would have preferred a ballot with two different candidates entirely. Many viewed the Democratic party as too controlling and perceived Biden as being the party’s “puppet.”

    Still, it’s clear that Trump represented the bottom line for Floridian Independents:
    securing the border, independence, and economic prosperity.

    Yes, I regret my choice
    “The candidate that I chose at the time of the election would not have been the best fit to be the leader of our country. He is impulsive and frankly a bully. That is not the type of role model that I want in office as my children… He seemed to cause more of a problem than anything else.” Jackie, Non-College

    “I would have voted differently I was thinking that I made the right decision at the polls. I thought this is the guy will continue to change this country and make it great again. [Trump] failed big time… I definitely made the wrong choice with that one.” Robert, Snowbird

    I Mean, He Was Better than the Alternative
    “I wouldn’t have voted differently. In many ways, I felt that I chose the lesser of two “evils”. It breaks my heart to see all of the hard work that was put in on so many areas, go down the drain. We lost nearly 20,000 jobs along with our energy independence within the first week alone.” Shana, Non-College

    “I was not happy with [Trump’s] term as President, I guess it’s the lesser of two evils? I do not agree with a lot of things the Democrats are wanting this time around, medical freedom (mandatory vaccines) and ACA are the two biggest reasons.” Mitra, Non-College

    No, Trump Secured Borders and was Good for the Economy
    “I still would have voted for Donald Trump because I feel that he was the best person to help us get out of the Covid economy, bring back a stronger economy, [and] make sure people get back to work after the vaccine.” Anthony, College

    “I saw the great changes Trump had accomplished. He made a great attempt to stop the flooding of the borders but found resistance. Trump is a business man and the country in essence is a business.” Tami, Snowbird

    Our FWVs’ feelings about political polls

    An Opportunity to be Heard
    “I enjoy them and expressing my opinion. They give me an outlet to be honest about a political issue or candidate since I cannot always talk about that with friends or family.” Jesse, College
    They’re Unreliable – Look at 2016!
    “To be honest, after the 2016 presidential election I don’t believe much in political polls anymore. Because almost every poll had Hillary Clinton winning the election when Donald Trump actually won.” Anthony, College

    How our segments differ

    • The freedom to exercise their right to vote provides happiness
    • Recognize the diversity in the United States and realize voting is an expression of such diversity
    • Knowing that each political generation leaves a legacy – wonder what this legacy will be
    • Feeling the tension between being ignored and heard via their vote
    • There’s a nostalgic element to voting in that it brings a focus on family and freedom
    • Recognize the inherent privilege in voting – it’s a freedom
    • Feels a responsibility to vote (and don’t take it lightly)
    • Fear that we are losing our sense of history, that we’d rather forget than learn from past mistakes
    • Voting is a vehicle that allows me to protect my children and issues important to me, like healthcare 
    • The gravity of the choice before me isn’t lost on me and causes me angst

    Our Snowbirds on voting

    Freedom to Exercise My Rights Makes Me Happy
    “This picture symbolizes the fun it is to go and vote… I like the excitement of changing the country and its leaders. I am happy for our democracy and being able to vote for who we want to be in office. She is happy to be going in the both and I am too.” Robert, Snowbird
    Leaving a Generational Legacy
    “This is where we were and look at the ‘individuals’ in the boat; a woman, an African, an Indian, etc. Emanuel Leutze was hoping to inspire the European revolutionaries with the American example of equality, opportunity and a classless society… These are OUR ideals in action.” Chris, Snowbird
    An Expression of Diversity
    “Love the diversity here. This is who we are and each of us is different and yet the same at the same time. While our appearances are different, we are all people who should pull together not only for ourselves but for all people.” Kathleen, Snowbird
    two women excited to vote
    american revolutionaries in a row boat
    illustration of diverse people smiling
    eagle in front of waving american flag
    uncle sam crying, exercise your right to vote

    Our College participants on voting

    Exercising Freedom
    “I picked this photo because it represents freedom and patriotism. We are the home of the free and land of the brave. Voting is one of our most sacred and basic freedoms… Even if I don’t necessarily like either candidate I will vote who I think would be a better or capable leader, because I want the best for our country.” Andrea, College
    Executing Responsibility
    “I feel it is our responsibility to vote in every election because if we don’t vote, we can’t really have a say in what happens to us as a country. A lot of countries people don’t have the right to vote so we definitely should take advantage of it. It is a very important responsibility to vote.” Anthony, College
    Losing Our Sense of History
    “All of our history is trying to be washed away and forgotten. People should never forget the bad things so they remember to be better than we once were. Learn from mistakes don’t erase them.” Beckie, College

    Our Non-college participants on voting

    How I Can Protect My Children
    “The quality of our children’s future is in the balance [in] every election.” Shana, Non-College

    “Everything we do and everything we decide affects our future generations.” Christa, Non-College

    A Vehicle to Protect Healthcare
    “My body my choice – it’s medical freedom to me. We shouldn’t be experiments to the government. We should be able to decline vaccines if we feel the need to. I also agree abortion should be legal.” Mitra, Non-College
    Angst About Making Choices
    “It truly felt like there was no good choice. I hated the bickering between the two parties driving further divide in the country during a time when unity was critically important.” Jackie, Non-College

    “Stress comes along with making such an important decision… Anytime you are faced with a choice that can affect the outcome of your life and the lives of others will always be stressful.” Glenn, Non-College

    smiling children wearing fairy wings and waving american flag
    girl holding my body my choice sign, man with chaotic thoughts
    voting in this election is like trying to pass a test with no right answers

    The WTF Florida Playlist

    Please share one song that represents the outcome of your vote for the presidential ticket in the 2020 election and then explain how your song represents the outcome of your vote.

    Click Here to Listen, with liner notes to follow.

    Sabotage (Beastie Boys)
    “I feel like that is how people reacted after the election and my vote did not change anything for Florida.” Jesse, College
    Coronan Rhapsody – (Donald Trump Parody) – Bohemian Rhapsody
    “This mockery video sadly represents that the Dems feel nothing good from Trump’s presidency, which is so untrue. I think there will be a lot of voter’s remorse in the near future from those who voted for Biden.” Chris, Snowbird
    Counterfeit (Wolves at the Gate)
    “This song represents the outcome of my vote because it’s called counterfeit which is the imitation of something valuable. I feel like this represents my vote.” Alden, Non-College
    We Are the World (USA for Africa)
    “This was a moment I remember being proud to be American” Christina
    America (Neil Diamond)
    “Every word in this song screams how America was feeling before and through the election, at least it does to me and friends that I have spoken to from all parties. All sides can adopt this song. This is what I felt and what we needed, although the leader isn’t the person I voted for this is still what I stand behind. Every American should stand behind these words!” Kathleen, Snowbird
    Stand By Me (Ben E. King)
    “I am a positive thinker so am optimistic that our President will do the right thing for this country.” Mary, Non-College
    Timber (Pitbull ft. Kesha)
    “The outcome to me means higher taxes, bigger government and less liquid income to spend. For Florida, no real change other than the tax rate considering we still have De Santis in as Governor. I chose this song Timber…. to me, Timber is used to describe falling. I believe the nation is falling into the hands of corruption once again.” David, College
    I Don’t Care Anymore (Phil Collins)
    “I think the outcome is good for those underserved people in our state, I reaped the benefit of the stimulus check but didn’t really need it. I think there should have been a sliding scale to help those who really need it more. I think Florida benefited from the stimulus checks though. I chose I don’t care anymore by Phil Collins. This last election left me lethargic in the election however I felt I was the only one who felt that way. Around me everyone was so far right or far left, so I was lonely in the middle. This feeling led me to vote for Trump, the lesser of two evils.” Stacey, College
    Taxman (The Beatles)
    “More taxes, higher prices, more debt, more suppression from the powers that be.” Sharman, Snowbird
    Party (Up in Here) (DMX)
    “I chose the song by DMX the late rapper that has been around for quite a while before his death. Even though the songs called party up in here, there’s a thing about y’all going to make me lose my mind in a song that I used to tell my kids they were going to make me do. I think the songs appropriate for our political affiliation because it’s just such a crazy crazy time for everybody, I know we’ve had these times before but I just don’t know what’s going to happen and I think that song represents some of the se easiness for you to think that you just going to lose your mind because you don’t know what these people are what these people are thinking.” Lisa, Snowbird
    Dodged A Bullet (Greg Laswell)
    “I think the effects of Biden winning the election have been positive and that it is better for the nation that the candidate that I voted for lost” Brittany, Non-College
    I’ll Be Back (The Beatles)
    “I think the outcome means in Florida we supported Trump and his team, however this was a close election and many voters swayed vs. previous results or polls. The republican party and/or candidates have work to do – to get the right messaging and plans communicated well. I think for me, good we supported Trump – however I was slightly surpised the race was so close – realizing many people changed their minds and may not have liked recent events or happenings in the administration and were needing a change. I don’t think we’ve heard the last of the Trump plans/office or republican actions to move the country forward. I think we are in a pause period – while futuristic plans are defined and worked out further.” Aaron, Snowbird
    God Bless the U.S.A. (Lee Greenwald)
    “This is the song… I’m proud to be an American by Lee Greenwood. I chose this song because I felt that in the election of 2020 Donald Trump was the person who is best for America. Because he represented not only economic freedom but protecting our country from terrorist abroad. He helped to get rid of Isis in the Middle East and also was in the process of bringing home our troops from Afghanistan.” Anthony, College
    Give it All (Rise Against)
    “This is about having your voice heard no matter the outcome” Dennis, College
    Anticipation (Carly Simon)
    “I think it resonates with the way the country felt on how much anxiety there was during this election. With claims of voter fraud, pandemic, racism at its hughest. I felt the people in this country were anxious with anticipation on what the outcome would be.” Tami, Snowbird
    It’s the End of the World (R.E.M.)
    “Well Florida is good we have Rick DeSantis and he is doing right by our fellow Floridians I believe he leans more towards the left and I like that. this song is we lost but in a beautiful way not hateful just like ok we got defeated but that’s ok.” Brooke, College
    Dead & Gone (Twiztid)
    “Florida was predominately republican state which is the way I voted. I think as a state Florida wanted to maintain that strong economy that is currently suffering. Essentially someone has to lose and someone has to win. You roll the dice, make the choice. Unfortunately, depending on the political agenda of a candidate there can be substantially more losers than winners.” Glenn, Non-College
    Trump is Gone (The Comedy Quartet)
    “That out come means to me that i voted for him. But he lost and now he is gone. I am looking forward to a large long outcome of what Biden can do to change the country around for the better” Robert, Snowbird
    Taps (Performed at Arlington)
    “Taps is the perfect song to explain the outcome of the election. Taps is played at funerals and I think that the outcome of this election is the downfall of America. I don’t know if it would be better with Trump, but I know that we are no longer the United States, we are completely divided. It is a sad day in this country. I am glad to live in Florida because I think that Desantis is doing the best to his ability to get things back to “normal” after the pandemic. To have a Democratic president and a Republican governor may bring some balance to our state. Hopefully.” Andrea, College
    Opportunities (Pet Shop Boys)
    “Even if we lost the battle DeSantis got the message of 70 mil voters and is preserving a state of opportunity for anyone that wishes participate.” Chris, Snowbird
    Uncertainty (The Fray)
    “The outcome for me and Florida is uncertain. We are witnessing a lot of “firsts” for our country and we’d be foolish to think we know what’s to come. I am hopeful that we will persevere, but am very concerned with choices being made. This song is called Uncertainty, which I feel is very fitting. The presidential winner did not represent my vote, so now I just have to wait and hope that the violence and death and poverty will end.” Anna, Non-College
    God Bless America (Lee Greenwood)
    “I’m thankful that there are many levels and branches of government. I appreciate that on a local level, DeSantis has done a phenomenal job at trying to preserve our local government and protecting the rights of the layperson. However, as far as the presidential election went, I voted for the less popular candidate this time around. You win some and you lose some but you’re always a “winner” when you can call this country your home.” Shana, Non-College
    Another One Bites The Dust (Queen)
    “The only song I can readily think of is “another one bites the dust” because my vote basically, in a sense, didn’t count, lol. I think, for Florida, it doesn’t bode well, although thankfully my state isn’t as controlling as some of the other states so maybe Biden’s influence won’t take over here” Jennifer, College
    Show Them the Way (Stevie Nicks)
    “It’s about all the great political leaders of our time. John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. And it talks about God showing them the way to help people have the freedoms they deserve.” Katrina, Snowbird
    So What (Ministry)
    “For Florida. nothing cause we didn’t vote for Biden, he doesn’t like this state and the people from states who did vote for him that disagreed with the vote have moved to Florida to escape blue voting high taxes, democratic governments. I feel as is society is screwed and just keeps getting worse.” Daniel, Non-College
    Confusion (Electric Light Orchestra)
    “This was the the strangest election I’ve ever seen – thank God I live in Florida – we have a good Governor – and state rights should always be greater than federal government.” Ellen, Snowbird
    Livin’ On a Prayer (Bon Jovi)
    “This is easy to explain because i just want whoever is MEANT to be in office to win, and do amazing – what is truly best for our country is what I want! Going to pray it all works out!” Mitra, Non-College
    I Will Survive (Gloria Gaynor)
    “I chose this song, I Will Survive, but Gloria Gaynor, because I knew that no matter what the election results were, we we’re going to get through this event as a country and the election process would be over soon. One candidate would have the sad look upon their face and we would be moving on.” Jackie, Non-College
    Take Back the Power (The Interrupters)
    “This isn’t really literal, it’s just the most political song I could find to fit the times. I do feel like with the Biden administration there is more of a chance for rights to be stripped away, but if we are being honest, in many ways it’s the same with the republican party as well. I feel like little by little they would like to have complete control over everyone. This song is extreme, but I think it represents all people and how we feel about our rights and the importance of them.” Christa, Non-College

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