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CNN Special Reports
Divided We Stand: Inside America's Anger. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired October 24, 2020 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Dr. Chandra leaves behind a wife and two children.
Warren Bowe was a beloved high school English teacher in Wisconsin. Recently retired, he passed away Sunday from coronavirus complications. His teaching career spanned more than 20 years and impacted thousands of students who remember him as a true inspiration. He was just 57 years old. May they rest in peace, and may their memories be a blessing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The following is a CNN Special Report.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With its 29 electoral votes, Donald Trump wins Florida.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a stunning defeat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He won this battleground state right here, Florida.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I Donald John Trump, do solemnly swear.
RANDI KAYE, CNN HOST: Four years later.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you're still supporting Donald Trump, you're a racist. You're a bigot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My students are very aware of what is happening.
AUDIENCE: Breonna Taylor!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're very aware of police killings.
KAYE: When you do meet people who are supporting Joe Biden, what's that conversation like?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A very short.
KAYE: The political divide, wider than ever.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're literally talking in different realms of fact.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was just now nasty.
KAYE: And in Florida.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are expecting a record number of people to mail-in vote millions of ballots.
KAYE: The anger and unrest are driving voters to the polls.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wanted to do something. I wanted to get out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What made you switch parties?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel like the party has moved in a different direction.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's only solidified my position.
KAYE: The difference, who wins this swing state often wins the White House.
Is Florida a must win for Donald Trump?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There really is no map. He really has to win here to have any chance of being president.
KAYE: Why it matters for Biden?
JOE BIDEN (D), U.S. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is the most important election in our lifetime.
KAYE: And for Trump.
TRUMP: My administration is focused on delivering real results.
KAYE: How would you describe this part of Florida?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 10,000 kilowatts of red state debate.
KAYE: Tonight on a CNN special report, Divided We Stand: Inside America's Anger.
Here in Central Florida, Trump won Sumter County by nearly 70 percent. In the retirement community, the villages, Republicans outnumber Democrats two to one.
KAYE: How are things of the villages these days?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tense.
KAYE: Has it always been so divisive in the villages?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Since Trump. You know, all the people that hated Obama, there were a lot and they've turned into Trump supporters. My girlfriend is big Trump supporter.
KAYE: And you're still together?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Barely. I don't know if we're going to make it through the election.
KAYE: Is there a political divide in the villages? Do you feel it as Trump supporters?
DIANA HAMMOND, PRESIDENT, VILLAGERS FOR TRUMP CLUB: My husband and I are golfers and my husband, in fact, I think he's out golfing today with three of his friends who are very, very strong Democrats.
STAN SWIES, ELECTIONS DIRECTOR, VILLAGERS FOR TRUMP CLUB: We don't see a lot of fights arguing here. Everybody gets along here. It's the friendliest hometown in the United States.
KAYE: In June of 2020, Donald Trump retweeted a video from a Trump rally that had taken place here.
The White House is in damage control again. A guy in his golf cart chanting white power. The White House is defense. The President didn't see it. What was that like?
ED MCGINTY, ANTI-DONALD TRUMP VOTER: Well, I was across the street. I just thought that guy scream white power, was just the tip of the iceberg.
I believe after almost four years of fighting these people, arguing with these people, if you're still supporting Donald Trump, you're a racist. You're a bigot. You're a greedy sob, or you're stupid. I was going in public grocery store yesterday. And this one guy comes up to me and he started screaming at me, you know? And what I do now is the after a minute or two screaming, I say to him, I said, I'm going to give you the first shot free. You punch me in the face, and then I'm going to send you to the hospital.
I'm not going to be intimidated by these SLPs (ph).
MCGINTY: How do you like my side?
KAYE: You have been out and about protesting in the villages, protesting Donald Trump for years now?
MCGINTY: Yeah, one of my favorite spots, because I get so much traffic, yeah, yeah.
KAYE: You say you were physically attacked by a Trump supporter?
MCGINTY: He jumps in front of my golf cart. I had to hit the brakes. And he grabbed me by my neck and dug his fingernails in my neck and he dragged me out onto the pavement and I got to my feet and I punched him in the face as hard as I can punch her as his first throat. This is the first punch I thrown in 50 years, but I nailed them.
KAYE: But, you know, you look at what you're doing. I mean, you have your signage, you've called people here in the villages racist bigots, Nazis. KKK, do you think that you're adding to the divisiveness?
MCGINTY: Well, I didn't make them be bigots and racists? I'm just pointing it out.
KAYE: Do you feel it all you've done has changed any minds.
MCGINTY: I never intended to. That's where people get me wrong. Trying to just point out to the Democrats around here, you don't have to hide from these people anymore.
CHRIS STANLEY, PRESIDENT, THE VILLAGERS DEMOCRATIC CLUB: When I moved here, six years ago, you didn't see a democratic bumper sticker, you didn't see a democratic shirt, people would whisper to you, I'm a Democrat too.
There are a lot of people who I've asked if they would publicly talk about why they voted for Trump in '16. And what's changed their opinion and why they're voting for Joe Biden in '20. And while they'll talk to me, they're afraid to talk to the press. Politics is a big part of life, and the villages, and you can lose your social group.
STEPHEN STARUCH, VOTED FOR TRUMP IN 2016 & VOTING FOR BIDEN IN 2020: And might fall into the camp of those who voted against Hillary Clinton versus voted for Donald Trump. She had her missteps and it's kind of like trying to make a tough choice. And I said, Well, I'm going to vote. And that end up being the vote, and I could have never anticipated, you know, what has transpired since then.
KAYE: Did you have confidence in Trump when you voted for him?
STARUCH: Yes, to some degree, I had this belief that a business person could take over the world's largest, most complex business called a $4 trillion plus government and kind of make some sense of it.
KAYE: What happened over the past four years that changed your mind?
STARUCH: The answer is starting with the inaugural if you have to start lying to people about the number of people showed up, and it's just been the series of lies ever since.
KAYE: There's more than 100,000 people that live here. Have you been able to find other people like yourself who regret their decision to vote for Trump?
STARUCH: Not very many, very few actually. I respect people's right to vote for Donald Trump just as much I hope they respect my right to vote for Joe Biden. Can we keep it civil? That's what our democracy is all about, which is not necessarily the case, if you've seen some of the YouTube videos.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell Donald Trump to come down here, I want to punch him right in the nose.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You won't punch him in the nose.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would punch him right in the nose.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Really? OK. JOHN CALANDRO, PRO-TRUMP VOTER: This idea that we're out feuding in the streets because nobody can get along is nonsense. We've seen one terrible incident of eight seconds, that the national media and international media has tried to blow out of proportion.
KAYE: Are you talking about the guy at the Trump rally who, on his golf cart was chanting white power and that the President retweeted?
CALANDRO: I'm more than happy to talk about the video.
Because what led up to that unfortunate incident was provocative, it was vulgar. It was just nasty.
KAYE: We talked to Ed McGinty, and he says he's been attacked, at least two times.
CALANDRO: I wasn't there. I can't respond. I would say this. So, I think the fact that we have large numbers of people who are willing to go out and express their support is good.
KAYE: How do you think the pandemics been handled by President Trump?
CALANDRO: If you listen to what the Democrats are saying, what is it that they would do that was different? You know, even if you go back and look at the early reporting on the pandemic.
KAYE: He probably won't put mask mandate.
CALANDRO: The President had a mask -- The President had recommended the wearing of mask back in March.
KAYE: It's not a mandate.
KAYE: But then he also didn't wear one.
CALANDRO: But he was also surrounded by people who were tested every day.
KAYE: But he did hold this indoor rally, several indoor rallies.
CALANDRO: Sure. Let's see what happens.
TRUMP: I hear from your two great senators and your governor that we're doing very well in Oklahoma. That's the word.
KAYE: Coming up.
BIDEN: Where you talk about them be losers?
KAYE: Do you see yourself as an outlier in terms of the community of veterans?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was a devastating hit from a category four.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we need is more support, and not to feel abandoned.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No one ever thinks something so traumatic and terrible is going to actually happen to you until it does.
KAYE: Towards the Northeast Duval County has voted for a Republican presidential candidate every election since 1980, but in 2018, a sign of a possible demographic shift when Democratic nominee for Governor Andrew Gillum won this Republican stronghold.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some monumental movement in the Deep South.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In Jacksonville, Florida Confederate statue has been removed without warning in the middle of the night.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The guy that was at the very top of it was Charles Hemming. He fought to maintain the status quo of slavery. I was raised here in Jacksonville.
Did you find him babe?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I told you they weren't in there.
Throughout my life, I have definitely noticed how conservative it is even driving down the street, walking down the street as a child. My sister, I would count the amount of Confederate flags that we would see. Even in elementary school, I remember walking to school and then a pickup truck drives by and shouts the N word at us.
MONIQUE SAMPSON, SCHOOL TEACHER, VOTING FOR BIDEN: I teach seventh grade exceptional student education. I teach American histories. It's just very interesting because children are very aware of what's going on.
In fact, we had -- I had other students drew about Black Lives Matter. They know exactly what it is. They know exactly what's going on. They're very aware of police killings.
If I can teach them how to become individuals, but this route has to be safe enough for them to grow up to become individuals.
Sorry, I cannot go back to school after the election, look my kids in the face in good conscience if Donald Trump is reelected and I didn't vote.
I definitely look at voting for Kamala and voting for Joe Biden as a vote against Trump. In my opinion, seeing his response to COVID, seeing his response to the uprisings, he has to be defeated. APRIL NUBIAN ROBERTS, CRIMINAL JUSTICE PROGRAM ORGANIZER, NEW FLORIDA MAJORITY & FIELD ORGANIZER, FLORIDA RIGHTS RESTORATION COALITION: In 2018, there was a lot of voter registration happening in Duval County. When I was out on the streets, registering folks to vote, I noticed that a lot of people didn't know where they eligible based off of felonies, sometimes even misdemeanors.
Probably in a day I would speak to 40 to 50 young black men, and out of the 40 to 50, I may register two to three. COVID-19 has stalled us actively being out doing grassroots movements, being out and talking to folks hasn't really been a thing.
KAYE: In 2018, during the midterm elections, amendment four was passed into law.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Voters in Florida decided to restore voting rights to felons.
KAYE: This is restoring voting rights for more than a million people.
DESMOND MEADE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, FLORIDA RIGHTS RESTORATION COALITION: Florida held on to 150-year-old Jim Crow law that permanently barred American citizens from voting for the rest of their life, right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An appeals court ruling that could favor Republicans and the November election.
KAYE: The governor's office argued that a complete sentence means all fines and fees and restitution would be paid.
On September 11, 2020, less than a month before the deadline to register to vote for the election, this federal appeals court blocked hundreds of thousands of felons from voting. What happened with that?
MEADE: At the end of the day, should our elections be free and accessible by American citizens? And the 11th circuit said no.
ROSEMARY MCCOY, RETURNING CITIZEN, PRO-BIDEN: Who needs the vote more than underserved? I moved here in 1987. Africa America already distressed this voting system. I was in the military. I've been in Jacksonville, Florida ever since my discharge from the military. I was arrested in 2013 for racketeering, scheme to defraud, and theft. I believe I started out with $6,007. And I believe the interest continue to accrue on it. So this is why you never you never can end this thing. It's crazy. It's madness. I can't vote because I'm too poor to vote. I had to pay to vote.
KAYE: You've had past felony convictions, now you're able to vote. Who are you voting for in this presidential election?
MEADE: At the end of the day, I have to live with this internally. And I keep it to myself.
KAYE: So you don't want to tell us.
MEADE: Because it's so sacred.
KAYE: I understand.
MEADE: It is so sacred because the minute I say that, right, what it does, it defiles the sacredness of my vote.
Voting is something that's higher than politics. This is not a political battle. This is a battle about human rights and by human dignity.
KAYE: Down South Miami Dade has more voters than any other county in Florida. And in 2016 the county had the highest turnout for a presidential election in 12 years.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translation): They are practicing witchcraft, the darkness.
DANIELA FERRERA, FOUNDER, CUBANOS CON BIDEN: It's really crazy what's going on in the media markets here in South Florida in Miami Dade County, in particular.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translation): They are vibrating with the devil.
FERRERA: There's a lot of misinformation, disinformation on Spanish language radio in particular. The number one show for Spanish language radio recently compared Black Lives Matter to (foreign language), which is witchcraft.
My own family members unfortunately have been impacted by the lies and misinformation that they're listening to on Spanish language radio. And it's led to some really difficult conversations between us because it's really tough to have a political conversation or discussion when you're literally talking in different realms of fact.
My mom was a doctor in Cuba. My dad was a small businessman. He was constantly jailed by Castro's Thugs. And as a result, my family and I decided to leave Cuba.
You know, the whole socialism communism, Boogeyman that these Republicans have created to win over, you know, Cuban American voters and Venezuelan Americans, and Nicaraguan Americans in South Florida, it's ridiculous.
Joe Biden was vice president for eight years and to the country become a socialist country? Did we become a communist country? Absolutely not. And, you know, I think a lot of folks are really waking up to the reality that the Republican Party and Donald Trump especially have exploited our trauma.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Latinos will be the largest non-white voting group in 2014. DARIO MORENO, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, FIU'S CUBAN RESEARCH INSTITUTE: The truth is what's key about Dade County is not, who's going to win it but the margins. In fact, Obama wins Florida in 2012 because he's able to increase his margin among Hispanics in Dade County and African Americans in Dade County. And although he did worse in the rest of the state than he did in 2008, the increase in margin in Dade County wanted for him.
KAYE: Trump earned more than half of the Cuban American vote in 2016. Do you think anything has changed in the last four years?
MORENO: I think he's going to do significantly better among Cuban Americans. He spent a lot of time working the community. He's made a lot of trips to South Florida. And he's also moved to West Palm Beach.
MIKE GARCIA, CUBAN AMERICAN VOTING FOR TRUMP: My family, they're Cuban immigrants. They fled Cuba, when Castro took over. They came here, had to start all over again with nothing.
KAYE: What do you think of Donald Trump as a person?
GARCIA: Well, as a person, I'm not so fun of him. I think he can tweet a lot less, but I didn't hire him for him as a person. I hired him to get the job done.
KAYE: So nothing has changed for you over the last four years that you've seen that would make you hesitate to support him again?
GARCIA: It's only solidified my position because, you know, as a Catholic, I'm very proud of the fact that Donald Trump was the first president in U.S. history not only to attend a mature life, but the speaker one. And that's something that, you know, being pro life that that really made me proud. But it's not just that, he protects our right to bear arms, lower taxes.
KAYE: You don't think you need to raise taxes to try and help people through the pandemic financially?
GARCIA: Absolutely not, I think that, you know, first of all, as an American, I want to keep more of my hard-earned money. I made that money. Not the government.
KAYE: On the issue of assault weapons, Biden's gun control plan does outline a buyback program for assault weapons and high capacity magazines, but the program isn't mandatory. So you're OK with that?
GARCIA: No. Any law for gun control is an infringement. You ban assault weapons, you're only banning for the good people because of that people aren't going to all of a sudden say, oh, I guess it's bad now, let me turn on my assault weapon.
JOHN BARNITT, MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS SHOOTING SURVIVOR & FIRST TIME VOTER: We had to start wearing lanyards after the shooting to like make sure that you were student. These are some of my hall passes and stuff. I was in my fourth period a student swung open the band doors, and like screeched, code red, code red, everyone inside now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School here in Parkland, Florida. We're about an hour north of Miami.
BARNITT: You could hear a pin drop, everyone was silent.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Another school shooting in the U.S. and expelled students opens fire on his former classmates.
BARNITT: I heard what sounded like firecrackers.
KAYE: Did you know any of the 17 students and teachers that were killed?
BARNITT: One of the students, her name was Carmen (ph). She also was in drama. We talked like we had a little friend group.
KAYE: Parkland is still one of the 10 deadliest shootings in U.S. history. It happened about two and a half years ago in the middle of Donald Trump's presidency. How would you say President Trump handled that shooting?
BARNITT: Terribly. He did basically nothing. We need to find new solutions because my generation is disproportionately affected by gun violence. No one ever thinks something like so traumatic and terrible is going to actually happen to you until it does. That's the reality of America. And that's why we have to vote.
I know that if I do not vote, that's a vote for Donald Trump.
KAYE (voice-over): The panhandle of Florida is historically Republican. Here in Escambia County, Trump won by more than 20% in 2016.
JAY WELLS, VETERAN FOR BIDEN: You have a president that hasn't just publicly disparaged John McCain, but disparage his service. Come over here if you need a towel.
The statements of him calling people losers. When you look at this president, and you're trying to figure out what the truth is, it gets harder and harder to defend that maybe it's not the truth.
KAYE (voice-over): How would you describe this part of Florida?
WELLS: 10,000 kilowatts of red state debate. You know, being a Marine, I try to focus on the common ground.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS: Four more years, four more years.
KAYE (on-camera): As we approach Election Day here in 2020, do you see yourself as an outlier in terms of the community of veterans? Are there other veterans that are voting Biden, are you on your own? WELLS: No, I find that it's pretty much just about as divided as the rest of the United States.
KAYE (voice-over): Why are there so many veterans and military here in the panhandle?
LISA NELLESSEN SAVAGE, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, PENSACOLA NEWS JOURNAL: We have hundreds of thousands of military in the panhandle that come through a Pensacola or Destin Fort Walton Beach. I mean look around the quality of life here is just fantastic. You can't beat it.
KAYE (on-camera): How does that high concentration of military and veterans play in the political demographic here?
SAVAGE: Santa Rosa was 74% of the registered voters voted for Donald Trump. If you go further, you get all the way to Holmes County where it was an 80 percentile.
MATT BARTZ, VETERAN FOR TRUMP: I heard that report about the Trump said that the veterans were losers and suckers. Two best flags right there.
But honestly, that's just like, like everybody wants to say it's fake news.
KAYE (on-camera): What made you join the Marines?
BARTZ: When I was 18. I work with a police officer and he kept told me that I didn't have the courage or the strength to go into the Marine Corps. So, one day I decided, you know, I'm going to prove you wrong.
What you doing girl?
I served 21 years in the United States Marine Corps,
KAYE (on-camera): And then you came down to the panhandle about 2014?
BARTZ: That's correct.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Got a partial order to fired off fuel tank (INAUDIBLE).
BARTZ: I received orders when I was in Afghanistan, to come down here and be an instructor at the schoolhouse to Naval Air Station Pensacola, and been here ever since.
KAYE (on-camera): Let me ask you about the Veterans Choice Program. Because critics are saying that privatizing the VA has actually led to longer waits for appointments and a new analysis of the VA claims data by ProPublica and PolitiFact says there are higher costs for taxpayers actually. So, despite all that, you are still supporting Donald Trump in 2020. BARTZ: Absolutely. And I believe that once COVID gets over with, the pandemic is over with. I believe that the VA health care system is going to start working a lot better. My friends that I know, we're all military, and they all believe the same thing that Donald Trump is going to be the person who's going to help us with the next four years.
KAYE (on-camera): When you do meet people who are supporting Joe Biden. What's that conversation like?
BARTZ: A very short. It's usually turned into a political battle.
KAYE (on-camera): Do you have any family or friends who are voting for Joe Biden?
KAYE (on-camera): Not a single one.
BARTZ: I have a single one.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Time and money are running out for small business owners with coronavirus cases on the rise and states rolling back their reopening plans recovery looking bleak here.
DONALD TRUMP (R) PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: We've given a lot of money to a lot of small businesses all over the country in itself.
JOE BIDEN (D) PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Too much of the money in these programs has gone to big business. Most people don't think 500 employees is a small business.
COLLIER MERRILL, PRO-TRUMP BUSINESS OWNER: We have a thing in football called gulfarium, which is something my grandfather got involved with 60 years ago. We have about 300,000 people come through a year. I have five restaurants here in the Pensacola area and the one we're at now fish house opened a 21 years ago.
KAYE (on-camera): How is the pandemic impacted this area directly?
MERRILL: We were trying to keep everybody employed that we could.
KAYE (on-camera): Has the President's handling of the pandemic changed your support at all for him? Have you wavered at all?
MERRILL: No, against no. I think I think he's done a pretty good job with everything's done with it.
SAVAGE: In 2019, $930 million was put into our economy just from tourists. So, when, you know, March hit April, May. It just devastated they lost upwards of 50% of their tax revenue.
SHEILA GREEN, OWNER, IT'S PERSONAL BY SHEILA GREEN, BOTIQUE & VENUE: I own a retail women's shop. And I also have a banquet hall. This right here are the contracts that were set up. Either they canceled the date, or they moved it to next year. KAYE (on-camera): How have things changed business wise since the pandemic?
GREEN: There is no business period.
KAYE (on-camera): So, tell me why as a small business owner, you're planning to vote for Joe Biden.
GREEN: I know that he's been a politician all his life. And he's probably never stepped into small business shoes. But I'm hoping that I feel like he has the heart.
CARESS HUDSON, OWNER, HENNY PENNY PATISSERIE: (INAUDIBLE). I am the owner of a pastry shop. I opened it in the namesake of my grandmother.
KAYE (on-camera): What was it like for you to get your business off the ground here? Were there challenges?
HUDSON: It seemed like I was climbing the biggest mountain I could ever in my life.
That's a fresh milk cream.
I didn't have access to resources. I -- not coming from a family that's fluent.
KAYE (on-camera): Tell me about this organization that you've started for small business owners.
HUDSON: Biden show of hands. Who here plans in the Business Roundtable for this coming up election to vote for Mr. Trump?
There's many more people like me who weren't born into money and we wanted to help, we wanted to assist.
KAYE (on-camera): As a small business owner, why are you voting for Joe Biden?
HUDSON: Why wouldn't I? I have to, I feel compelled to. We're not just talking about personal preferences here. We're talking about my safety.
KAYE (voice-over): Here in the center of Florida, interstate four runs 130 miles from Daytona Beach through Orlando to Tampa, one in four Floridians live in this region. A region Trump won by over 200,000 votes in 2016.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hurricane Maria is rapidly intensifying.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Millions of Americans are being hit right now by catastrophic storm.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was a devastating hit from a category four.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The entire island is without power.
KAYE (voice-over): What did it sound like?
MARIO ROSA, BIDEN VOTER: Oh my god. What woke me up was a like a banging. Right. Most of them remember was looking out the window just seeing a white haze of wind.
KAYE (on-camera): It was one of the strongest storms in recorded history.
ROSA: Yes. My house was 100 days without power. We felt like disconnected. There was barely any signal for cell phones.
KAYE (on-camera): In June of 2018, you and your mother decided to move here to Davenport, Florida in Polk County. What brought you here?
ROSA: Yes, after the storm hit. I definitely felt that my future was limited. And it hurts me to say it. It really hurts me to say because I love my island and I love Puerto Rico.
KAYE (on-camera): What did you make of President Trump's response to the hurricane hitting Puerto Rico?
ROSA: Well, not sufficient but putting it lightly. The lease, things that we want our paper towels (ph). What we need is much more support and not to feel abandoned.
KAYE (voice-over): Are you going to vote?
KAYE (voice-over): So you have the opportunity to try and help vote Donald Trump out of office?
ROSA: I'm definitely hoping that that's going to be the case come November.
KAYE (voice-over): The University of Florida Bureau of Economic and Business Research estimates that as many as 50,000 Puerto Ricans move to Florida following Hurricane Maria back in 2017, the majority of who moved here to Orlando and the surrounding counties, how many of them would you say stayed?
FERNANDO RIVERA, PROFESSOR OF SOCIOLOGY, UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA: That's obviously a hard number to track. One pattern of population movement with Puerto Ricans is circular. So basically, people come stateside, and, you know, see if things go well, and then might return to the island.
KAYE (on-camera): In general, Hispanics now make up a record 16.4% of Florida's registered voters. What does that mean for the presidential election this year? RIVERA: Well, it means that a large segment of the electorate comes from a Hispanic background. Hearing the I-4 Corridor, that stretch from the west of the state all the way to the east of the state. That's where the -- a lot of Hispanics are concentrated. It's about 40% of all Puerto Ricans live in this area.
KAYE (on-camera): What is it about the I-4 Corridor that makes it so unique?
SUSAN MACMANUS, FLORIDA POLITICAL EXPERT: The fact of the matter is it's the most divided part of the state from a partisan perspective. A state is divided into media markets. Florida has 10 media market, along the I-4 Corridor or two media markets, and they are the two largest media markets in Florida from a registered voter perspective. 45% almost half of all Florida's current registered voters watch television or could watch television in those two media markets.
KAYE (on-camera): In 2016, there was upwards of $100 million spent on ad campaigns in those media markets. What does that say about the efforts by the candidates to win these voters?
MACMANUS: They'll go to any cost but it also says that television particularly local television is a way that you can reach the broadest swath of voters quickly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The radical left wing mob agenda take over our cities, defund the police.
BIDEN: Fires are burning, and we have a president who fanned the flames. He can't stop the violence, because for years he's formed.
MACMANUS: Generational divides are the deepest we've ever seen in Florida's politics. 30% of millennials and Gen Z-ers are registered.
KAYE (on-camera): Do you find that people are afraid to say whether or not they support Donald Trump or maybe even Joe Biden?
ERICA DIANGELO, SWING VOTER: Yes. Actually, when people found out that I voted for Trump in 2016, I actually had people find me on social media, and find a number to my company and reach out and say nasty things like even one person was like, I hope you die of cancer.
KAYE (on-camera): And how are you feeling about Trump in 2020?
DIANGELO: Well, it didn't go exactly as planned. And there's, of course been moments where I'm like, yikes. I don't like that representation of our country. I mean, if I were to go back in 2016, I would still vote for Trump. But now that we're in 2020, I'm still undecided. I have not committed to voting one way or another.
KAYE (on-camera): Why do you think we're so polarized, and so divided?
DIANGELO: Well, I mean, I hate to say it to you guys, but I think in part is the media and you see one headline, and doesn't really match up with the story. And then you see on a different media outlet, the same story with a completely different headline, and kind of like pointing fingers and placing blame.
KAYE (voice-over): Up next.
STEVE SCHALE, FLORIDA-BASED POLITICAL STRATEGIST: It's got a lot of those Deep South rural white voters who just it just kind of gone away from us.
KAYE (on-camera): You were a registered Democrat. What made you switch parties?
IMANI THOMAS, STUDENT, FLORIDA A&M UNIVERSITY: I remember calling my mom I was like, Mom, I'm going to protest and said, in a middle of pandemic. No, you're not.
KAYE (voice-over): Just miles away from the capitol of Florida, Jefferson County went twice for Obama and flipped to Trump in 2016.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is definitely Trump country. But you know what country goes all the way across this country.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS: The people united, but never be divided.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got to sit at the table and we all got to be looked at as equal.
KAYE (on-camera): Why is Florida historically such a close call in the presidential election?
SCHALE: It's an accident. It's almost kind of like God is playing a joke on our politics.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The United States has a new President.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gore campaign was folded the margin isn't 6,000 which is what our board is showing, but in fact, 600.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: CNN cannot project that the President of the United States will carry the state of Florida.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Barack Obama won Florida.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: CNN can now confirm the President Barack Obama has won the state of Florida.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With its 29 electoral votes, Donald Trump wins Florida.
SCHALE: You'll see one trend that looks like it should benefit Democrats. So for example, Puerto Ricans moving in mass to Central Florida, registering Democratic should really help Democrats around the state. At the same time, Democrats are struggling with white working class voters who live in that part of the state. Older voters are moving here that are more conservative and they kind of balance each other out that I don't see it stopping anytime soon.
KAYE (on-camera): Back in 2016, there were huge upsets in this area, in Jefferson County next door that was a pivot county.
SCHALE: You saw those non college educated white voters, Southern Democrats who probably had sort of had a toehold in the Democratic Party, just go to Trump and you saw that really all across North Florida.
KAYE (on-camera): You show any signs of flipping back do you think?
SCHALE: I doubt it. I mean, it just again, I think it's got a lot of those deep south rural, frankly, white voters who just I think it just kind of gone away from us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're listening to the faith radio network (INAUDIBLE) FM Monticello, Tallahassee.
KIRK REAMS, CLERK OF COURT, JEFFERSON COUNTY FLORIDA: This is for my offices here. Morning (INAUDIBLE). I'm the clerk of court for Jefferson County, Florida. And I was first elected in 2006. These are from one of the county was found at 1827. Anything from marriages to land records. I've been serving since then. How's it going?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good.
REAMS: Not bad. What you all got going on today?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh nothing much.
REAMS: Nothing much. Hanging out. I remember growing up, I would ask my parents who they voted for, and they would say, it was not.
KAYE (on-camera): Your parents and your grandparents grew up here.
KAYE (on-camera): And they were registered Democrats.
REAMS: They were. Yes, we go back about 10 generations in this county.
KAYE (on-camera): And you were registered Democrat as well.
REAMS: I was.
KAYE (on-camera): Up until June 2019, you were a registered Democrat.
KAYE (on-camera): What happened? What made you switch parties? REAMS: I just kind of felt like the party that was my great, great grandparents and my grandparents, you know, that they were Democrats. And I feel like the party kind of left, you know, kind of left them.
KAYE (on-camera): In your circles, do you know of other people who switched parties?
REAMS: Yes. Actually, before the pandemic, and we only have about 10,000 registered voters in this county and I switched over around 50 at that point in time.
KAYE (on-camera): How do you feel about Donald Trump, the candidate himself?
REAMS: I'm not a huge Donald Trump fan, but he's our president. And, you know, he represents the Republican Party. And that party is more closely aligned with my values related to abortion, gun control and, and fiscal areas.
KAYE (on-camera): So nothing that Donald Trump has done over the last four years is his response to things like the pandemic or uprisings or racist events? Nothing would change your mind?
REAMS: I'm not going to sit out there and hold a sign for him. But no one's perfect. Everybody has their faults.
KAYE (on-camera): Critics say he's a racist.
REAMS: I don't really, you know, I honestly don't follow a lot in national politics.
KAYE (on-camera): Critics say he lies.
REAMS: I don't really have an opinion on that either. I think that no matter who's in power, they're going to have critics. And that's just how it goes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What in your bypass triple because it is not being use? For this man is what his hand. But for some of us it is faith. Lord have mercy.
KAYE (on-camera): Has the pandemic impacted you personally?
THOMAS: Yes. I say Sundays are really hard because I don't have interaction with people other than my family members. My older sister had tested positive for COVID. It was definitely scary seeing her like that she could barely get out the bed and eat food without her feeling just frail.
KAYE (on-camera): Wow. It's amazing. She's lucky she survived.
THOMAS: It was scary.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Blue lives matter.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS: Blue lives matter. Blue lives matter. TRUMP: What do you want to call them? Give me a name, give me a name.
TRUMP: Proud Boys stand back and stand by.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This debate was an embarrassment for the United States of America.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When he was asked to condemn white supremacists, he said he could but he didn't do it.
KAYE (on-camera): Just six months really before Election Day, 46-year- old George Floyd was killed in police custody. That video.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want our body cam (INAUDIBLE).
KAYE (on-camera): It sparked millions of people to start protesting around the country, they still are. You were one of those people.
THOMAS: I remember on Instagram scrolling and seeing the video and how much it affected me just to treat somebody so terrible, like treat a person like an animal and I wanted to do something I wanted to get out. And I remember calling my mom and I was like, Mom, I'm going to protest. She said, in the middle of a pandemic. No, you're not. And I said, Mom, I'm going to protest.
KAYE (on-camera): Do you think that black lives matter? And the pandemic will be driving forces to get people to the polls to vote?
THOMAS: Absolutely. I definitely have some friends. They're like, well, why should I go to go vote because it doesn't matter. He's going to win anyway. And I'm like, no, that's not thing.
KAYE (voice-over): In 2016, black voter turnout fell for the first time in 20 years country wide. In terms of changing the outcome of the 2020 election here in Florida. What does that say to you?
KATRINELL DAVIS, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF SOCIOLOGY, FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY: I'm more concerned with the issues or the constraints that may be put in place to impact their participation.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS: We want peace, we want peace.
DAVIS: I'm not concerned about their willingness to vote or their drive to vote.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS: The people united, will (ph) never be divided.
DAVIS: My concern is for our republic. But I have hope in the youth in what they are capable of achieving.