Bombers on, shirtsleeves rolled to the elbows, Joe Biden took the stage at happy hour and roared one last invocation to the masses.
“Man, you are some state,” he said. “It always comes down to Florida.”
So it does, doesn’t it? Which is why on the final night of this endless, maddening 2016 campaign, the vice president called on the ultimate Florida Man, Jimmy Buffett, for a free voter rally on behalf of Hillary Clinton at Albert Whitted Park.
It sounded like a headline from The Onion — “Joe Biden Hitches Last-Minute Flight To Florida For Free Jimmy Buffett Concert” — but as the sun set behind the Salvador Dali Museum, Election Day hours away, it also offered Floridians one last chance to soak in the surreality of it all.
“I get to pinch myself a lot at work,” said U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy, who spoke before Buffett and Biden, a day after campaigning with President Barack Obama and Stevie Wonder in Kissimmee. “Growing up in the Keys, (Buffett) is an icon. To have him now doing a little show to help encourage people to vote for you is pretty cool.”
“Yes, it’s been quite a summer,” Buffett sang on Come Monday, a song whose lyrics he tweaked for the occasion: “There’s a Dumpster that waits for that Trumpster with hate / and I’m all glad we’re on the right side.”
The crowd cheered, but will it really make a difference come Tuesday? Well, there weren’t many minorities in the mostly older crowd, not all of whom were #WithHer.
“Not voting,” shrugged Dan McCain, 68, of New Port Richey, unwinding on a bench in a lime green lei. “Don’t like either one of them. I’d vote for Jimmy Buffett, though.”
After Biden’s Trump-roasting, science-pushing stump speech, Buffett politicked between songs, pledging support for Clinton (“I come from a house of women. I live in a house of women now. I’d like to see a woman in the White House”) and the pro-marijuana Amendment 2.
“A little relief, right? That’s all we’re asking for,” he said. “Down in Margaritaville, we know what that’s about.”