Boaters for Trump provides a nautical demonstration on election eve

With just a day to go until the much-anticipated presidential election, boaters across the nation have been vocal about their political views. 

It’s not just American flags waving through the sea breeze, but ones that read “Trump 2020” too. In Miami Sunday, boaters organized one final “Trumptilla” along Biscayne Bay towards Bayside to make a statement. 

The boat parades, which were started by a South Florida man, grew popular during the summer when Trump supporters organized them in states including Florida, Texas and Arizona. The events went viral, drawing the attention of President Trump himself. He tweeted:

Whether they be by boat, car or motorcycle, the parades symbolize strength and enthusiasm. Although the coronavirus pandemic has affected traditional campaigning, the president’s nautical supporters have managed to come together to make their message loud and visible.

“People are drawn to these mobilization efforts because they’re drawn to, in my opinion, rebelling against what they think is the concept of political correctness, media bias and this constant narrative telling them that they’re bad people for supporting this president,” said Brian Fonseca, Director of the Jack D. Gordon Institute for Public Policy at Florida International University. 

While it’s unclear why many boaters are conservative, boat-owner demographics fit the criteria for the average Trump supporter. Trump’s base includes many white male supporters.

However, studies show that most Cuban Americans also align with the Republican party. According to the Pew Research Center, over 50% of Cubans Americans voted for Donald Trump in Florida during the 2016 presidential election. A recent poll at Florida International University showed 59% support for the President. 

“Down here in the Keys, there’s a lot of support for Donald Trump. I see a lot of boaters with his flags and signs all over the boats, especially on weekends when they’re out partying in the sandbars,” said Cuban American fisherman Jose Olivera.

Campaigns have been an important element in politics since the 1800s. The parades and rallies serve as opportunities for the candidates to reach as many people as they can. 

In 2012 and 2016, then-President Obama’s campaign was media-driven. His team’s use of marketing and networking developed a strong online presence that ultimately resulted in his election win.

For his re-election campaign, Trump’s merchandise has gone way beyond the typical shirt that reads Trump and Pence. He has sold out of his limited edition “Boaters for Trump hat,” which retailed at $40.

The infamous “Make America Great Again” hat has made its appearance on the water. Florida man Carlos Gavidia, wore his red cap proudly when he organized a “Trumptilla” from Jupiter to Mar-a-Lago months ago. 

Gavidia drew national media attention by starting this mobilization effort back in May. The parades grew so popular and made their way to other states, including South Carolina, Arizona and California.

A boat parade at Lake Travis in Texas resulted in at least four boats sinking due to the choppy waves. It had been organized via the Boaters for Trump Facebook page and included a large turnout of supporters.  

With the increase in technological advancements, campaigning has morphed into a new medium. Both President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden heavily rely on digital media platforms to get their messages across. 

Although the flotillas have garnered attention from the media, political analysts are not quite sure that these forms of mobilization will be enough to secure Trump’s re-election. 

Has Trump taken over Poseidon’s reign of the waters? Find out on Nov. 3.

Cristina Feliciano is a broadcast media major at Florida International University. She is passionate about delivering the news and creating professional digital media content. She is experienced in field reporting on camera and editing news packages, but also loves to write.