Lakeland, Where Presidents Are Made

Why did journalist T.A. Frank come to Lakeland to report his National Journal cover story on non-voters? In a nutshell, he said, voting counts in Lakeland because we can determine who the next president will be.

Frank told radio host Leonard Lopate on WNYC (the NPR colossus in New York City) that Lakeland is the key bellwether in the I-4 Corridor, the decisive region in one of the nation’s most important swing states.

So people here know their votes matter in presidential elections. “Someone who sits out there is much more committed to non-voting” than in states where the outcome is certain, he told Lopate.

This dialogue followed:

Lopate: Lakeland was a place where every single vote counted in 2000.

Frank: Absolutely. If a few more Lakelanders had shown up at the polls, everything could have changed.

Lopate: And Al Gore would have been president.

Frank: Most likely. If people in Lakeland who did not vote had voted, then Al Gore would have been more likely to be president than not, I would say.

Listen to the entire 25-minute conversation.