There were hundreds of people at the early voting station in Hollywood, Florida, and the wait was ninety minutes. I was with Benji from The Daily Beast, and Josh from the LA Weekly. We asked people if the wait was too long and they said no, the didn't mind. Someone said, "It'll be one hour today, but four hours tomorrow."
It was three in the afternoon, only a little hot, t-shirt and jeans weather. A local lawyer who volunteers for Florida Democrats said, "The reason the Republicans are against early voting is because they know no one would wait three hours to vote for John McCain." But this year Republican Governor Crist has extended early voting, which many see as waving a white flag. Crist said, "It's not a political decision, it's a people decision." One Republican operative accused Crist of giving the election to Obama.
At the Obama rally in Sunrise eight or nine protesters screamed at the line of cars waiting to get into the stadium lot. "They speak lots of beautiful words," one of them said to me. "Obama knows how to project himself very well. But his package is all socialism and we've been through that already. I'm an exile. I came here in '66. My father served in the prison 12 years under Fidel Castro. This guy here is doing the same thing, talking pretty, and he's going to put socialism in this country."
Another protester said, "I'm a Juban," meaning Jewish Cuban. "I don't want Obama. Everything is a big issue: Israel, communism, spreading the wealth. You want to give your money to others who sit down and do nothing and get a check from Obama and they don't even work?"
It was interesting the McCain supporters were digging so deep into the communism story and then equating communism with welfare. They told me Obama wants everything to be equal. One of them said, "I want what I earn, not what you earn." I said that was probably true. All the while a plane flew above the stadium dragging a sign, Don't Try To Spread My Wealth Around. I thought the ability to own or hire a plane seemed to undercut the argument.
Two hours before the rally the line circled the parking lot. Tens of thousands of people were waiting to get inside. We cut through the press entrance. I spent all of 2004 on the campaign trail, writing a book about the quest for the Democratic nomination. It didn't seem to bother them that I didn't have credentials this time. In 2004 I told them I was writing for GQ. This time I told them I was writing for the Huffington Post.
By seven the stadium was full. The energy from 2004 was entirely different. In 2004 the rallies were primarily anti-Bush, but this rally was pro-Obama. Joe Biden said, "You can't call yourself a maverick when for the last eight years you've been a sidekick." Then Obama took the stage and the crowd went wild. And I understood McCain calling Obama a celebrity. He started to speak and a group of women behind him screamed, "We love you Obama," and he raised his hand and replied calmly, "I love you back."
The rest was what we've already heard. Healthcare, economy, bringing troops home. And after I took some pictures of Allison Winfield, a pretty Obama volunteer standing the first row, crying.
But there's something more sinister afoot in Broward County. There's more Democrats in Broward than anywhere else in the state. In 2000 Broward was the county that finished their recount.That was also the year Roger Stone organized the Brooks Brothers riot, shutting down the recount in other parts of the state.
But Roger Stone is in Broward County this year. There must be a reason...