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My day as a political tourist

February 1, 2012

While watching the Iowa caucus play out on CNN, one of the anchors used the term “political tourist.” 

It sounded a bit ridiculous, but then I realized that I could totally fit into that term. 

And because of that I decided to be part of Florida’s primary process by checking out some of the action at the nearest polling places. 

I made it to North Trail Park, one of the parks I used to go to expecting it to be empty. As I drove by, I saw the usual basketball game going on.

But, then I was bombarded by a huge banner.

 

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Ron Paul's signs weren't as bountiful, but they definitely got the message across.

According to CNN, Ron Paul only captured seven percent of the vote in Florida, which isn’t surprising since he chose not to campaign down here at all. 

“If enthusiasm wins election, we win hands down,” said Paul during his concession speech yesterday.

I don’t know if he will win, but his supporters sure are enthusiastic.

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Elisabeth Negron, 26, campaigns for Ron Paul at North Trail Park in Miami.

At North Trail Park I spoke with Elisabeth Negron. 

The 26-year-old is a passionate supporter of Ron Paul since 2008 and was volunteering to spread his message to voters Tuesday afternoon. 

“I like that he looks at people as individuals instead of groups,” Negron said, referring to Paul’s approach toward civil liberties. 

She said she believes that Paul has a good chance against Barack Obama because he can carry the independent and young vote. 

Down the street at Belen Jesuit Preparatory School, another polling place, University of Miami freshman Tony Mina was busy holding a bright yellow sign that drivers could see as they approached. 

 

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Tony Mina, 18, campaigning for Newt Gingrich during Florida's republican primary.

 

The sign read (in Spanish) “The one who can beat Obama: Newt.”

Mina,18, received a message from Gingrich’s campaign asking for some last minute volunteers and decided to get involved. 

“If I can help three people vote differently, I’ll be happy,” Mina said, “This is Florida, that will matter.”

Mitt Romney ended up winning by a large and comfortable margin, but he didn’t have any supporters at the places I went to. 

He did have a lot of signs though. 

Anyway, it’s cool to know that in a city as apathetic as Miami, there are people who care enough to stand outside for five hours holding a sign in hopes that their persistence will make a difference. 

I’m looking forward to the long and arduous road to November. Bring on the mudslinging!

 

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