In The Swing State Of Florida, GOP Voter Plans To Switch To Clinton's Side
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And I'm David Greene at member station WMFE in Orlando, Fla., as part of our project Divided States. We're meeting four voters today. And one of them lives with her son in a suburban neighborhood that's really close to Orlando International Airport.
Good morning, I'm David.
DIANA FONT: I'm Diana Font. Nice to meet you.
GREENE: Nice to meet you.
FONT: OK. Puerto Ricans, (kissing on cheek) we say hello like this.
GREENE: Oh, good. Oh, good (kissing on cheek).
Her name is Diana Font. She's a single mom. She owns her own events planning business. And she is proudly Puerto Rican. We came here to visit Diana with Renata Sago. She's a reporter at the member station here, WMFE.
FONT: So you wouldn't want to sit outside? I'll bring out chairs.
GREENE: Yeah, let's do it. That'd be great.
We all brought chairs out front. And I started by asking Renata to tell us a little bit about this area.
RENATA SAGO, BYLINE: Orlando's part of the I-4 corridor, which, you know, in the past few decades has gone from, you know, white, rural, mostly poor to this sort of cultural mosaic where you've got an influx of Puerto Ricans who are coming. And they're new arrivals. This will be their first time in many respects being able to participate in a presidential election on the mainland. So there's a push to get them engaged.
GREENE: And so how is that changing how Florida votes, if at all?
SAGO: Wow. I mean, this is the gateway to Latin America. So you've got people who are coming because we've got a robust tourism industry. There are jobs here readily available for folks.
GREENE: Is their voting predictable?
SAGO: Well, they're kind of like a blank slate kind of group. So the campaigns believe that, you know, the sort of social reform that Democrats are behind, that could sway Puerto Ricans to vote for them. But also Republicans say, hey, this is a group of pioneering people. They're leaving their island for the mainland. They're starting from the ground up. They recognize the value of hard work.
GREENE: That by your bootstraps thing that a lot of Republicans talk about.
SAGO: And they might vote Republican.
GREENE: Well, so does it surprise you that we're sitting on Diana's front lawn - she has Republican signs on her yard but she's voting for Hillary Clinton - or is that a common thing that you might see?
SAGO: No surprise. This is the swingiest region of the swing state.
SAGO: You'll meet longtime Democrats who are pro-Trumpers. And you'll meet longtime Republicans who will stump till they die for Hillary Clinton.
GREENE: Well, it sounds like we have someone in you, Diana, who is not so predictable. I mean, there are there Republican signs out here that I'm looking at - one for Marco Rubio.
FONT: Marco Rubio, yep, I have - I'm supporting him. I'm supporting - I support the whole Republicans. I've always been a Republican...
FONT: ...Even in Puerto Rico. I guess I just like their values. I like what I see. First of all, I don't believe - I work for what I have to do. I've been able to twice, in need, start my own business.
GREENE: That's impressive.
FONT: When I came from Puerto Rico, I was part of what was known as a Republican Party. We believe in working hard. You start from the bottom up and you can do it. You don't live off the system. That's a no-no. This nonsense of giving everybody stuff for free from my hard-earned money so that I can't get it when I need Social Security? I don't think so. So for me, the Democrats are more laid back in that aspect where they'll give it all away, pretty much.
GREENE: OK. So you - that gives me a sense for why you're a Republican. Your neighbor has a Donald Trump sign.
FONT: I love him...
GREENE: You love your neighbor?
FONT: ...But he's wrong, yeah. So wrong on this one, yeah.
GREENE: Now, why do you say that?
FONT: First of all, I can't stand every time I hear him say that for 30 years Hillary hasn't done anything. Excuse me? Hillary was a first lady. She's also helped out with a lot of programs for children. She's been doing things. You don't have to be there where you're not paying taxes for six years. Let's go straight to the point, you're not paying taxes for six years. You claimed bankruptcy six times, which is unheard of legally. And you manipulate the system the way you feel like it. You think I want you with my money? I don't think so. On top of it, I don't think he's got the right mind frame.
GREENE: And now one thing he's been saying recently is this whole election is rigged against him. What do you think of that?
FONT: I think Trump is the most narcissistic person there is. If you don't agree with what he has to say, he throws you under the bus or comes out with a little temper tantrum like that. Grow up, be a man.
GREENE: So are you enthusiastically supporting Hillary Clinton?
FONT: No (laughing). I am supporting her because I can't stand Trump. I don't want him with his finger on the nuclear bomb. Here's a man who's openly said that because if you're rich, you can touch any woman's bottom. I'm sorry, try coming to mine and you'll see me kick your butt real fast.
FONT: I don't care how much money you have. Hillary - going to Hillary, why am I going to choose Hillary? I don't support the Democrats. But her, she's a woman. I will definitely - because even when we had - I'm sorry (laughter) our last female - I can see Russia - I wasn't too happy.
GREENE: Was that a Sarah Palin reference?
FONT: (Laughter) Yes.
GREENE: OK, just clarifying.
FONT: I wasn't too thrilled with her, but I would definitely vote for her.
GREENE: You would have?
FONT: I would have voted - oh, definitely. Women have a different sense. We are mothers. This instills upon us a different - I don't know if a man will feel it, but I believe in what she's doing for our children. And that is our next step up. We've got to take care of these kids. So I believe in that. I don't care what they say about Bill Clinton. I liked him (laughter) so.
GREENE: Let me ask you what you just said about Bill Clinton, though. Because there is some Trump supporters who say if you're angry at Donald Trump over his behavior with women, then you should be angry at Bill Clinton as well or you're a hypocrite.
FONT: Bill Clinton's not running, his wife is. Men have affairs all the time. Why are we going to get - why are they bringing him up? He has nothing to do with Hillary's campaign.
GREENE: Is there something that Hillary Clinton can say in this final debate that will make you feel either more comfortable or totally comfortable going into that voting booth on Election Day?
FONT: If she could embrace the issues, not the parties. It shouldn't be a fight between Democrats and Republicans all the time. Oh, because you're a Democrat you're no good. No. I'd love to hear her say that she'll - she doesn't care what party you are. We are all part of this nation.
GREENE: You want to hear a call for unity from her?
FONT: I'd love to hear that from her.
GREENE: Diana, you're a pleasure to talk to. Thank you.
FONT: You're very welcome.
GREENE: That was Diana Font. She is one of four voters we're meeting this morning. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.