The Lincoln Project drops ‘Mourning in Florida’ version of ad that made the group famous
Screenshot from "Mourning in Florida" video.

Mourning in Florida
Blunt messaging targets Sunshine State voters and attacks the President's coronavirus response.

The Lincoln Project built its reputation instantly with its Ronald Reagan-esque “Mourning in America” ad. Friday, the anti-Donald Trump group of Republican consultants drops a sequel of sorts, set in the Sunshine State.

“Mourning in Florida” localizes the same basic messaging— that President Trump so badly bungled coronavirus response he can’t be allowed a second term. The ad goes live at 8 a.m., but The Lincoln Project shared the video with Florida Politics in advance.

“There’s mourning in Florida,” a narrator says as images of a vacant coastline scroll by. “Today, hundreds of thousands of Americans have died from a deadly virus Donald Trump ignored, praising China’s response instead of heeding the warnings, then blaming them to cover his own failures.”

Quickly, the message zeroes in on how the COVID-19 pandemic has struck Floridians.

“People across Florida are still out of work,” the narrator continues. “One of the worst economies in decades, this afternoon, millions of Americans will apply for unemployment.”

That’s likely a particularly resonant message in Florida, a state that struggled tremendously with unemployment claims and a website crushed under a flood of applicants early in the pandemic.

The ad shows individuals sleeping in the streets in front of shuttered storefronts or alone in dark apartments with undecorated walls bearing stressed expressions of isolation.

“With their savings run out, many are giving up hope. Millions worry that a loved one won’t survive COVID-19. There’s mourning in Florida.”

Indeed, the state on Thursday tallied its largest single-day increase in reported cases since mid-August. The most recent data shows 768,091 have so far tested positive for COVID-19 in the state. One of those in the count, as it happens, is Trump himself, a Florida resident and thus part of the Department of Health’s tabulations.

About 16,470 have died in Florida while infected.

“Under the leadership of Donald Trump, our state is weaker and sicker and poorer,” the ad states.

Those words ring over images of Floridians masked and lined up outside office buildings six feet apart.

“Now, Americans are asking, if we have another four years like this, will there even be an America?”

The last line harkens back to the first “Mourning in America” ad, which first ran on Florida airwaves in May. While statistics have been updated (strikingly so, from 60,000 deaths to more than 200,000), much of the narration of the original ad repeats in the Florida-specific cut.

But the willingness to make a Florida-tailored version stresses the significance of America’s largest swing state in the Nov.3 presidential election. Most national pundits agree Trump must win the state in order to secure a second term. The Lincoln Project aims to leave the incumbent mourning those ambitions.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at jacobogles@hotmail.com.


4 comments

  • Sonja Fitch

    October 23, 2020 at 8:19 am

    Reality of the Trump goptrump death cult is almost impossible to put in words. Pictures maybe! Folks that lived through the holocaust have given me a greater perspective of how similar this trump handling of the pandemic has crippled our Democracy! Difference! Vote! Vote like our lives depend on it! Vote to keep our wonderful democracy where people count! Vote Democrat up and down ballot!

  • susan hillier

    October 23, 2020 at 2:22 pm

    Yes Sonja. And yes again. Good post—thank you.

  • Marshall Froker

    October 23, 2020 at 4:26 pm

    Editing suggestion: When you say someone ‘drops’ an ad, it means they are canceling it, not that they are ‘dropping’ it into TV circulation. I read the whole story wondering why they canceled the ad. They didn’t. They launched it.

  • tim morell

    October 24, 2020 at 2:37 pm

    Thanks for posting this Jacob. Meanwhile, I don’t know much about how to get through to many people in the general public, but maybe you could help on two issues: 1. Trump’s Health Care fallacy; 2. DJT running the country like he ran his businesses== into bankruptcy.

    Specifically, on #1: DJT braggs about how he got rid of the ACA mandate but yet promises over and over that he’ll cover pre-existing conditions. I think regular folks could be made to understand why this is a blatant fallacy and lie if it were explained to them this way: How could an insurance company do business by paying out on fire insurance policies if the customer never paid a premium or bought a policy until after his house was already burning down?

    That is the whole reason why the GOP can’t come up with a workable replacement for the ACA. Why would anyone pay in if they knew that they could always wait until they got sick to buy a policy?

    On #2: I saw an interesting interview with some Cuban -American voters in Miami where they stated that they were all voting for DJT because, well, socialism. They said that they don’t want “free stuff”, instead they “want freedom.”

    That is a powerful sentiment that I think needs to be talked through. What is free? Is our national defense “free”. Freedom is never free. But with DJT … his history is buying things on credit and then not paying for them. He cut the income of the country by giving away historic tax cuts to the upper 1 percent. But then he went out and spent over 700 billion on the military. So… I think the Cuban Americans I heard talking about freedom might understand that you can’t just go run up a 3 trillion dollar credit card with China and Arab oil and then just not pay— that’s what DJT has done and did all his life…bankrupting 6 companies and stiffing hundreds of suppliers and workers along the way…

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