South Florida became the epicenter of the U.S. Presidential campaign over the weekend.
President Donald Trump cast his ballot on Saturday in West Palm Beach while his predecessor spoke to honking cars in North Miami.
“Inventing conspiracies doesn’t make people’s lives any better,” former President Barack Obama said during a blistering rebuke of Trump’s four years in the oval office. “You gotta have a plan.”
Obama hammered the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, pushed back against claims his administration did not do enough for Black Americans and defended Joe Biden against allegations that his former vice president is a socialist.
“Don’t fall for that garbage,” Obama said.
Meanwhile, the Dolphin Democrats led a “Pride to the Polls” car parade in Fort Lauderdale and Wilton Manors. In Hollywood, the city’s LGBTQ+ Council organized an Equality Voters march to the polls supported by U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
Polls show Biden and California Senator Kamala Harris with a slight edge in Florida. The state’s 29 electoral college votes are central to both campaigns' paths to victory.
Ken Evans, Broward County Democratic State Committeeman, said the Trump era can’t be over soon enough.
“When I look back over the last four years, I see a disturbing trend,” Evans said. “Trump is trying to engineer this country to fit his distorted image of ‘strength.’ I can’t help but think that dismantling the Affordable Care Act, passing tax cuts, that overwhelming benefit the rich and other ‘policies’ are designed to weed out those that Trump sees as weak.”
Florida has the third most COVID-19 cases in the nation (778,636) and is currently experiencing an uptick in diagnoses. On Sunday, Miami Beach Commissioner David Richardson revealed he had tested positive for the virus.
Richardson, who had hosted food distribution events for 33 weeks during the pandemic, said he is beginning the quarantine process and working with the city and state on contact tracing.
“My primary concern at this point is to notify anyone who may have been in contact with me so they can take the proper precautions for their own health,” Richardson said.
Florida’s surge in cases comes as Trump continues to downplay the virus, hold packed campaign rallies, mock the wearing of masks and insist the country is “turning the corner” on the pandemic. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday, “We’re not going to control the pandemic.”
Overall, more than 225,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus.
In urging people to vote, Evans called Trump’s re-election an “existential threat” and that humanity is on the ballot.
“As the leader of a kids’ camp and as an American citizen, I know this is not about politics,” Evans said. “This is not about Joe Biden, and it’s not even about Donald Trump. It’s about restoring America as the nation that uplifts its people to live the best lives possible.”
Early voting in Florida continues through Nov. 1. General election voting concludes Nov. 3.
White House Watch is a weekly column on the 2020 presidential election. It is authored by John McDonald, who holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Troy State University in Troy, Alabama, the boyhood home of John Lewis.