Election Spurs Yard Signs Feud

clinton-tax-4
Feuding yard signs: Clinton-Kaine (left) and Fight Tax Disease. In a surprise development, the Clinton signs predominate in my neighborhood. / Maria Padilla

The lawns in my neighborhood have sprouted about seven Hillary Clinton yard signs.

Is it a harbinger of things to come on November 8? Is it an I-dare-you-put-up-a-Trump-sign moment? Is it a stand-your-ground event stating “Enough!” Is it a not-so-secret symbol of Democrat solidarity?

The political pendulum in my voting precinct swings both ways, just like the I-4 corridor that plays a big role in making Florida a purple state, that makes Florida a coveted state. Because as Florida goes with its 29 Electoral College votes, so goes the election.

Which is why I hit “pause” when the Clinton signs came out.

Swing Precinct

In 2008, my precinct voted 52 percent for Barack Obama, according to the Seminole County Supervisor of Elections. But I saw few Obama yard signs that year, certainly not seven. Four years later, in 2012, the precinct turned a ripe red, voting 57 percent for Mitt Romney. Another 1.4 percent supported Libertarian Gary Johnson, who is on this year’s ballot as well. There were more Romney signs and only one o two Obama sign that year.

Recently, when a Clinton sign popped up around the corner from me, a neighbor put up a red, tea partyish  “Fight Tax Disease” sign, driving a stake in the yard-sign feud. The elderly gent periodically puts up and takes down the sign, according to his cantankerous moods. (Oct. 16 update: 8 Clinton signs vs. 2 for Trump.)

On my route to work, there is a house in a different neighborhood that does the same with a blue Trump-Pence yard sign. Trump in big white letters; Pence in tinier ones.  It was the first Trump yard sign I spotted this election season, and I have been following it ever since.

Sometimes I see it in the morning on my way to work; sometimes it’s gone by sundown. Sometimes I see it on the evening route home; sometimes it’s gone by sun-up. One day, the sign multiplied by two.

Family Feud

I imagine there is an election feud going on in the house. Somebody is for Donald Trump, somebody is not. “I’m putting up the sign.” “No, you’re not!”

There are probably many households like the one I imagine, given that nonHispanic white males are all in for Trump – 61 percent lean Republican while 32 percent support Democrats, states a recent Pew Research center poll. NonHispanic white women, meanwhile, are more divided, 47 percent affiliate as Republican versus 46 percent who identify as Democrat, according to the same Pew poll. The numbers flip dramatically by generation, with Millennials all in with Democrats.

In my own backyard, I know some of the neighbors who have Clinton yard signs. They are quiet, thoughtful Democrats living in a leafy suburb filled with mostly quiet, thoughtful Republicans in a county where the GOP predominates and there are no term limits. As someone noted recently, “Seminole is Republican but it’s not bat crazy.” We shall see.

At community gatherings neighbors living side by side do not talk politics – for the most part. Everybody is polite. Nobody wants to upset the live oak leaf cart.

But here’s what I think went down: Some of my Democrat neighbors got together– yes, a conspiracy! More likely, they bumped into each other during a morning or evening walk along the shady cul de sacs, a popular activity here. And they agreed to throw down the yard signs together, as one, to create crowd safety.

Insecticide

By being the firsts to put up yard signs, they sprayed insecticide on the grass, signaling, “Go ahead, put up a Trump sign, if you dare.”

More important, they seem to be stating that something has gone terribly wrong in this presidential election campaign. But here, in this subdivision of quiet streets and lovely lawns, “Do not bring the lawn pest in here.”

˜˜ Maria Padilla, Editor

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