Just a few more weeks now

Staff Columnist

For it’s a long, long while

From May to November,

But the days grow short

When you reach October.

When November 8

Turns the leaves to flame,

We haven’t got time

For the waiting game.

(Apologies to Kurt Weill)


The State of Florida is famous for two things:  sunshine and oranges.

But it is also intimately noted for circuses, with our own area providing historic winter grounds for many decades.

P. T. Barnum, a nineteenth century showman, is best remembered for promoting entertaining hoaxes and for founding the circus in 1871 that eventually became the Barnum & Bailey Ringling Brothers “Greatest Show on Earth.”

He made a fortune by creating and promoting freak shows featuring midgets and giants, bearded ladies, conjoined twins and exotic animals, earning for him the title of “The Prince of Humbugs.”

Mr. Barnum also allegedly created the statement that “there’s a sucker born every minute.”

It now appears that the gentleman has been reincarnated and returned to Florida as a self-proclaimed multibillionaire running as the first ever non-politician for the office of President of the United States.

Lest the irony escape you, please remember that the Florida electorate has a history of freak election results.  Witness the election sixteen years ago of a candidate who was beaten by tens of thousands of votes, but dominated the Electoral College after the Supreme Court in an unprecedented intervention stopped the state recount.

Recall also the election to the U.S. Senate six years ago of the retired Florida Speaker of the House, who thereafter created an absentee record of astounding proportions while he ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for President.

His excuse was that the Senate “bored” him, and he would never run again.  Oddly, his name appears on the November 8 ballot, and Florida’s always unpredictable voters appear likely to anoint him once more.

For those who take politics seriously, the current campaign is unlike any other in the history of the country.

Charge after charge, insult after insult, gaffe after gaffe, Mr. Trump committed himself to a course of conduct that should have alienated him from voters whose support was vital to his success.

Although successive polls have been compared variously to a see-saw or a roller coaster, his base remains committed to him, fueled by a nationwide disgust with a non-functional government.

As these words are being written, and after two debates with a third and final one coming next week, the Democrats show a slim margin, but on a nationwide basis, the final outcome remains closer than anyone would have predicted.

On a local basis, the recent  disclosure of a tape showcasing the candidate’s sexist view of women based on their looks, shape or lack of morals should have tipped the balance in favor of Florida’s Democrats, given the older, staid, conservative population.

But you never know.

There’s a sucker born every minute.

Richard L. Hershatter is a retired Connecticut lawyer and novelist who writes an occasional column of interest to Floridians. He can be reached at Banyan502@AOL.




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