ad info


Asiaweek TIMEASIA.com CNN.com
 > intelligence
 home
 intelligence
 web features
 magazine archive
 technology
 newsmap
 customer service
 subscribe
 TIMEASIA.COM
 CNN.COM
  east asia
  southeast asia
  south asia
  central asia
  australasia
 BUSINESS
 SPORTS
 SHOWBIZ
 ASIA WEATHER
 ASIA TRAVEL

Other News
TIME.com
TIME Europe
FORTUNE.com
FORTUNE China
MONEY.com
Asiaweek Services
Contact Asiaweek
About Asiaweek
Media Kit
Get up to 3 months of Asiaweek free when you subscribe online!


SEARCH ASIAWEEK

From Our Correspondent: Letter from America
A journey to the heart of the presidential election
By TODD CROWELL

November 6, 2000
Web posted at 1:30 p.m. Hong Kong time, 1:30 a.m. EDT


I usually take my home leave in October, and this year has been no exception. Flights are easier to get and cheaper in the off-season, the weather is cooler in Florida, where my father makes his home, and the nice crisp smell of autumn pervades the air in Seattle, where my children live and work. And there was another reason for a political junky to be in the States this year. There was a chance to immerse myself in American politics close up, instead of just watching the campaigns from a distance.

 INTERACTIVE  
Talk back to Asiaweek's correspondents on our message boards
 
It took me a while to realize that my travel itinerary had, by chance, taken me to the very epicenters of this year's presidential campaign, which will be decided tomorrow. Whoever carries the Tampa Bay area will carry Florida, and whoever carries Florida will be the next president of the United States. That is not just local boosterism, but the considered opinion of no less than Time magazine and its editors.

Actually, the electoral battleground is a somewhat wider field known to political analysts as the "I-4 Corridor." This refers to the interstate highway that runs from Tampa northwest across central Florida through Orlando to Daytona Beach. This used to be an empty land of orange groves, but has in recent years been filling up with young families drawn to work in the theme parks and high-tech industries that have sprung up around such growing mid-sized cities as Orlando and Lakeland.

The voting patterns of these new arrivals are much less predictable than some of the other more settled communities of this large and mostly Republican state. They would include the Cuban Americans in southern Florida, the transplanted mid-westerners, both trending Republican, or the large community of Jewish retirees in Miami (madly for Democrat Al Gore and his running made, Joseph Lieberman, the first Jewish person to run on a national ticket).

Florida should be safely Republican in this year's election. After all, the governor is Jeb Bush, brother of the Republican candidate. He is very popular there and is naturally pulling out the stops for George W. For all that, the two candidates are running neck-and-neck, so they are scrounging for votes along the I-4 corridor. The two have visited the region, courting these uncommitted voters, so many times in recent weeks they should both get life-time passes to Disney World.

At the opposite end of the country is Washington state, which should be safely Democratic, but which is also now considered only touch-and-go for Gore. Clinton carried Washington twice. Hell, even Michael Dukakis carried Washington in 1988. As I turned on the television, I saw that the vice president had arrived for yet another stop in the Evergreen State (greeted by Maria Cantwell, the first dot-com millionaire to run for the Senate).

I can't remember when my humble home state has ever had so much attention for its middling eleven electoral votes. The candidates are spending more time there than in California, which has five times as many voters. But then California is seen as being safely Democratic this year (well, maybe not quite safe, but still leaning toward Gore). Again, Washington could go either way tomorrow, and so could neighboring state Oregon.

One reason, of course, is evident as you drive around north Seattle near the University of Washington. One sees quite a few yard signs supporting Green Party candidate Ralph Nader and his (American) Indian running mate Winona LaDuke. Although Washington's establishment is overwhelmingly pro-free trade (this is the home of both Boeing and Microsoft, remember), many workers like Nader's protectionist line. This was, after all, the site of the "Battle of Seattle" at last year's meeting of the World Trade Organization.

When I was there two weeks ago, Nader was getting something like 10% of the vote in Washington, which is famously sympathetic to mavericks. That is why Al Gore is running scared in this state, and why the Democrats are bringing up some of the liberal headliners like the Rev. Jesse Jackson to urge voters to return to the fold. So while watching election returns, keep a special eye on Florida and Washington state.

Write to Asiaweek at mail@web.asiaweek.com

Asiaweek.com home

AsiaNow


Quick Scroll: More stories from Asiaweek, TIME and CNN

   LATEST HEADLINES:

WASHINGTON
U.S. secretary of state says China should be 'tolerant'

MANILA
Philippine government denies Estrada's claim to presidency

ALLAHABAD
Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

COLOMBO
Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

TOKYO
Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

BANGKOK
Thai party announces first coalition partner



TIME:

COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state



ASIAWEEK:

COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness


Launch CNN's Desktop Ticker and get the latest news, delivered right on your desktop!

Today on CNN
 Search
  ASIAWEEK'S LATEST
Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?

  MORE F.O.C.

Dotcom Ups and Downs
For one Singaporean on the Internet wave, it has been a rough ride
by Alejandro Reyes
- Thursday, Nov 2, 2000

No Way Back
Thailand faces an election under new rules
by Julian Gearing
- Wednesday, Nov 1, 2000

Taking a Strike At Baseball

The game has got to face reality
by Murakami Mutsuko
- Tuesaday, Oct 31, 2000

In the Land of Make-Believe
Thailand's fashion victims and villains
by Dominic Faulder
- Monday, Oct 30, 2000

Walking with Kuta
Jakarta at the end of a leash
by Santha Oorjitham
- Friday, Oct 27, 2000

What Is Contempt of Court?
In Malaysia, moves at last to clarify the law
by Santha Oorjitham
- Thursday, Oct 26, 2000


• Search for recent Intelligence stories
• Search for recent From Our Correspondent stories

  ALSO IN ASIAWEEK
Intelligence
The story behind today's news

Business
The inside scoop on the day's business stories
  TIME ASIA
Asia Buzz
Daily commentary from the editors of TIME Asia


Back to the top   © 2000 Asiaweek. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.