How I knew Trump would win; no gloating

Up front: I have no idea if Donald Trump will make a good president.

Also, I make no analysis of policy here. I’m not here to gloat about a Trump victory I didn’t stump for. I’m not here to claim it’s about the wall or Hillary’s infamous “basket of deplorables” comment. I have ideas, but of that I am not certain.

All I was certain of was what I saw in a swing state that I have lived in for the last year. I’ve been all over Florida, from the “redneck Riviera” of the panhandle to Miami. I learned what parts of Florida were deep red, deep blue and purple.

I knew before the national polling experts and pundits that Florida, at least for this election, would go for Trump. As such, so likely would the presidency. Here’s how:

You might have heard about the “I-4 corridor” in the national news. Interstate 4 cuts through central Florida like a backslash on a keyboard, from Daytona Beach, westward through Orlando and Tampa/St. Petersburg. It’s a curious 133-mile long swath of the state, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. It includes the site of NASCAR’s signature event, Disney World, franchises from the top five team sports in the USA and a gorgeous drive across Tampa Bay.

It’s also noteworthy in that north of the interstate is blood-dripping Republican red — Jacksonville, the Panhandle, etc. South of I-4, by a three-hour drive on the turnpike, Miami is midnight Democrat blue. So I-4, which has both urban areas and rural, is mixed. Win I-4. You likely win the state. You also are in excellent position to win the presidency.

I often work in Sanford, infamous for the Trayvon Martin killing. Both Trump and Hillary Clinton held events in that little town. Trump drew thousands. Hillary drew hundreds.

When I leave Sanford, I take I-4 home. There are three pedestrian bridges before I reach my destination. For weeks, people lined the first bridge holding Trump/Pence signs. They also bought billboards on the side of the freeway and built their own on major roads. Not the campaign, mind you, regular people. Some signs were likely illegally placed on the side of the highway for Trump. I saw nothing for Hillary.

I also drove I-4 in its entirety to Tampa to see two NFL games. Same story, except for pedestrian bridges. I saw people shill for Trump at a tailgate for a Rams-Bucs game.

When the “Access Hollywood” tape surfaced, I saw people line the streets in front of Altamonte Mall with their “Make America Great Again” signs. I saw four get out the vote demonstrations last weekend before Election Day. These areas allegedly went for President Barack Obama in two elections. (I don’t know for sure. I wasn’t here.)

I saw the power of belief — where it wasn’t enough to simply vote. People had so much faith in the candidate they wanted to spread the word like gospel. Republicans don’t do that stuff. Democrats specialize in that.

I spent three days in the pro-Clinton Miami area and saw nothing like that. No bumper stickers. No flash mobs. Nothing.

This is something millions never saw in the press or in their own security bubble of California. When I tried to be the canary in the coal mine, I was shouted down by people who weren’t here. I was dismissed by people who claimed to know Florida would automatically vote Clinton because what California says goes.

Now many of you are shocked and angry. I tried to warn you.

Instead, you in California want to blame Florida, the same state that voted for Obama. That’s not a particularly fair response.

Here’s what you don’t know about Florida. Here, people say, “I like Hillary because…” or “I don’t like Hillary because…” In California, it’s “If you don’t like Hillary, eff you.” There’s a huge difference. Californians are not interested in political discourse. They are only interested in capitulation.

I never even argued in favor of Trump. Marco Rubio was my guy in the primaries, although I eventually voted for John Kasich because Rubio took the bait of Trump’s taunting. It didn’t sit well.

But on Election Night, I sat in an easy chair and watched my Facebook feed go from premature gloating to impatience and ultimately, rage. 

Permit me one nongloating political forecast: The Democrats and liberalism are not dead. They have four years to figure something out. Maybe they’ll even have an idea or two in time for the midterms. If I see energy for that outside of the Calibubble, I’ll be honest enough to let you know.

Friday updates on Hurricane Matthew for Altamonte Springs

(Update 1:29 p.m. Florida, 10:29 a.m. LA): A curfew will lift in Orange County, which includes Orlando, at 2 p.m. today, the Orlando Sentinel reported. There has been no announcement about easing the curfew in Seminole County, which includes Altamonte Springs.

The American Red Cross reports about 22,000 people were housed in shelters last night as coastal residents fled Hurricane Matthew. The hurricane is currently south of Jacksonville.

(Original post for Friday): One woman died Friday night in Florida as Hurricane Matthew was downgraded to Category 3 on Friday morning. The victim, 58, suffered cardiac arrest in St. Lucie County, which is about 120 miles away from here.

About 600,000 homes statewide are without power in the aftermath of the hurricane, which veered slightly east late Thursday after meteorologists forecasted it touching land in Melbourne  — which is about 60 miles south by southeast from Orlando. 

The eye of the hurricane is a little further north than Sanford, only in terms of latitude, not longitude. For those out of state, Daytona comes next in terms of latitude.

Orange and Seminole counties have a curfew in effect until 7 a.m. Saturday. Only first responders and people going to and from work are allowed on the freeways. A man was arrested in Sanford — big surprise — allegedly trying to break into a Dollar General at 1 a.m. Friday.

Melbourne Airport reported no major damage, disappointing political hacks because that airport hosted a Donald Trump rally. Kennedy Space Center is currently taking winds of up to 107 mph, but reports no major damage yet. Disney World, Universal, Sea World and Wet N’ Wild are all closed today.

There’s going to be rain and wind today with some spikes in intensity.

As for me, I’m still annoyed that all the local channels broke from regular programming to hyperventilate over this.

Give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day; teach a man to fish and that idiot will stand in a tropical storm by himself

Good morning from the ironically named Sunshine State.

Last night, the initial splash from my first “named storm” doused much of Florida. For the uninitiated, I moved here from California less than a year ago. We don’t name our storms in California, but we sure have names for people who drive in the rain.

Somebody who probably never had a child or pet has been given great power by the government to treat destructive storms as their offspring with a name. This storm was given a particularly dreamy name. History has only found one ugly Colin, ladies. This is a tropical depression with maximum sexiness, but I digress…

Driving to work this morning, the downpour seized for a few minutes. Not that the clouds cleared. This pillow of grey slop is gonna smack us but good with more wind and rain until about 11 p.m. tonight. But on this final two-mile stretch of road along Lake Monroe, I saw people pull their cars over — not to admire nature’s beauty — but to go fishing.

You have 20 minutes before the flash floods and you spend it by the rising water? That’s barely enough time to throw a line in the water before nature force-feeds you your bucket of bait.

I’m starting to think fishing is worse than a narcotics addiction. Even crackheads know to come in from the rain.

My initial exposure to the horrible grip that the illness of fishing has on its victims came about in September of last year. I took a walk by a lake and noticed a guy tug a fish out of the water. He pulled the little sucker to his face. Its face was emotionless, dead eyes, sagging lips and jawline. I’m not referring to the fish, by the way. I’m referring to the guy with the pole. There was only one difference between the two. The fish looked like he wanted to live.

Sadly, there will be no intervention to break this ugly dependency. At least not in time to save these poor ruddy oafs. And not from me, either. I’m wearing scrubs. I don’t want to catch cold.

Sometimes you have to reach your bottom — even if that bottom is the floor of the lake.

Greetings from Florida, and yes, we know we live inside a “land penis”

The joke comes up in my Facebook feed about once a week from a hacky open miker in Los Angeles — that Florida looks like a giant penis.

I’ve almost lived here for a year, which is to say I’ve beaten expectations from friends and family who assumed I would high-tail it back to Southern California before the holidays. After all, it’s a giant penis, bro.

You might expect me to be offended at that. You might expect lifetime Florida residents to get offended at that.

But I’m here to tell you that — as much as I love my friends and family from the west coast — I’m not miffed because Florida has that laid-back attitude that Californians always assumed was their birthright. Maybe Florida had it all along and California was fooling itself.

Consider, I spend a few days in Sanford every week and not once has anyone brought up Trayvon Martin. If George Zimmerman so much as squeezes a zit, it’s all over my Facebook feed from my buddies on the west coast. Not that I think Zimmerman is a great guy, mind you. Pretty much the entire nation believes Zimmerman is a murderer. Florida residents just accept that life can be unfair and move on.

Californians can’t move on, ever.

Most Floridians can actually take those “Florida is so weird” jokes because many of us are actually willing to listen to the other side. Maybe that’s what makes this a purple state while California is midnight blue and Texas is redder than blood. No idea.

I do know that having driven across a continent to get here, I have some startling news for Californians — people across the country think you’re every bit as boorish and overbearing as New Yorkers. I heard the same refrain in Phoenix, Albuquerque, Portland, St. Louis, Houston, Atlanta — “Yeah, I’m a Democr… Oh, no. Not like in California. They’re crazy.”

Californians are the opposite of laid back. You can’t have multiple race riots in your largest city and call yourselves laid back. You can’t advocate for more riots and revolution — ahem, Bernie Sanders supporters — and call yourself laid back.

Admit it, guys. You’re extremely tense. Even with medical marijuana licenses being easier to obtain than a tank of gas, you’re really worked up.

They have a lifestyle in Florida that they don’t attempt to force on people, with the exception of asking you to eat more hot wings at Hooters. And if Florida’s worst contribution to American pop culture is junior college dropouts in tiny orange shorts, you’re welcome.

Yeah, we’re more than a little screwy. We don’t expect you to like Jimmy Buffet. You’re right. He does kind of look like the neighbor who spends a little too much time watching 12-year-old girls.

Florida brought you Casey Anthony. California brought O.J. Simpson. We could be accused of bringing the world the hanging chad, but technically that was Al Gore.

But I have to be real with you. It’s not that I hate California. Not at all. Vote for who you want. Scream at the top of your lungs about who gets to use public bathrooms. (I won’t hear it, anyway.) Demand a minimum wage of $150 every 15 minutes. It’s not my problem.

I’m staying here if I can. Florida is actually quite beautiful. The trees are lush and green. There are plentiful waters in vibrant blues. There are strikingly beautiful women who — unlike in SoCal — will have a conversation with you. We also seem to get along famously with immigrants here.

Because it’s laid back. Floridians are so laid back you can say we live on a giant flaccid penis and we don’t get our underwear all in a bunch.

That’s what the humidity is for.