Friday, October 29, 2010 | Categories: Special Features
The Sunday Edition went to Gainesville, Florida, where the football is tough, and the politics are tougher.
Gainesville is the home of the famed "Gator Nation" and four generations of football fans. But to political junkies, its better known as a Battleground Town in a Battleground State.
Michael spoke with a rowdy mix of Tea Partiers, Alligators, Tailgaters and Obamamaniacs.
Listen to Hour One:
Listen to Hour Two:
Listen to Hour Three:
Gary Mormino and the Florida Dream
Gary Mormino has lived the American- and the Florida - dream. He was born and raised in Wood River, Illinois, by a father who had a simple view of the world - "Life is hard. Get used to it."
Ross Mormino was a union man in a union town. He had a fourth grade education. But Gary got a PhD in American history, and a job in Florida. He's lived here now for twenty three years.
Gary Mormino is the Co-Director of the Florida Studies Program at the University of South Florida: St Petersburg. He's written several books on the history of Florida, most recently, Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams: A Social History of Modern Florida. He also has a dream office, in a converted two story historic house in downtown St. Petersburg. That's where they met....
Michael visited the 'Bread of the Mighty' Food Bank
Michael spoke with food bank director, Anne Voyles, about hunger in central Florida.
Tea Time in America!
Michael met a group of Tea Partiers at their meeting at the Gainseville Conference Center.
Trouble Bewing on the Right.
Michael continued his look at the fraying relations between Tea Partiers and Republicans, and what that might mean to a Democratic Party that's hanging on for dear life.
The Republican War Room : Stafford Jones
Stafford Jones has been a Republican for as long as he can remember. His parents were Republicans, as were their parents before them.
He is good natured and talkative - the kind of guy you meet quite often if you hang around political campaign headquarters. He seems to live and breathe Republican politics. By day, he's co-owner of a conservative political consulting firm. When he's not working for "War Room Logistics", in another kind of war room, volunteering for the GOP.
The Breakaway Tea PartiesStafford Jones's main concern may be the Democrats these days, but it turns out Republicans have plenty of problems on their right. Next door in Florida's Congressional District 8, that problem is a political hand grenade called Peg Dunmire.
She's a lifelong Republican. But she doesn't trust them any more. She and her band of supporters have set up their OWN political party - a TEA Party. And Peg Dunmire is their candidate.
Gainseville: A Town Divided
Gainseville is not only divided politically. It is, like most Florida towns divided racially.Michael visited a public meeting held by the Black Caucus of the Alachua County Democratic Party.
The foundation for the Gator Nation: Students at the University of Florida
The University of Florida calls itself, "The foundation for the Gator Nation".
There are more than fifty thousand students here.
This is the generation that grew up with the idea of the Florida Dream. Until the crash of 2008, it seemed that anything was possible. A thousand new people were moving here every day. Jobs were being created wherever you looked. And it seemed a sure thing that they would grow up to be even more prosperous than their parents.
Now...not so much.
Michael was invited to Professor Daniel Smith's political science class, in the gleaming building that houses their new Center for Media Innovation and Research.
On the front lines of the Media Wars
In Florida, the media wars can be every bit as bitter as the political ones. The blare of competing media voices is sometimes overwhelming and always confusing. So it is perhaps should not surprise us that an increasing number of Americans now just pick one media source that they trust. And shut out all the others. On Tuesday night, we may see how this effects the entire politcal process.
Kelly McBride has been on the faculty of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies for the past eight years. For fifteen years before that, she worked as a reporter in Spokane, Washington. Michael met her in her office in St. Petersburg.