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Documentary Examines One Broward Senior Community's Power In Shaping Florida Politics

A meeting of the Democratic Club of the Wynmoor Retirement Community. Wynmoor is featured in the new documentary, "A Greater Society."

A new documentary examines the role one retirement community in Broward County is playing in shaping Florida's politics.

As the 2018 midterms are rapidly approaching, there’s a segment of the population in South Florida that will have a definitively large impact on the election -- seniors.

The Wynmoor retirement community in Broward County is indicative of that power. They've hosted Joe Biden, Charlie Crist and many other high profile politicians on the campaign trail.

"A Greater Society" is a documentary that follows the Wynmoor retirement community as residents conduct voter registration drives and host political candidates before the 2014 midterm elections.

Directors Stacy Goldate and Craig Colton joined Sundial along with Minerva Salazar, a Wynmoor resident and one of the featured characters in the documentary. The Miami premiere of the documentary will be Wednesday, Oct. 17 at Filmgate Miami at 7 p.m. 

WLRN: Stacy, how unique of a retiree community is Wynmoor and could it be indicative of other retirement communities across the state of Florida?

GOLDATE: People who are older are more likely to vote. There's going to be that kind of response. Wynmoor is particularly known to have a large turnout and it's more predominantly Democratic-leaning so it's an important stop.

Why does that particular community lean more Democrat when you tend to see other retirement communities, especially in Florida, tend to lean a little more right?

GOLDATE: I think it's because a lot of the people who retired to Wynmoor were from the Northeast. In the 70's you had a lot of advertising that was geared towards people in New York and Philadelphia who were tired of the cold. They were the snowbirds who eventually became residents and many of them were Democrats.

And something fascinating about this film is it points out that you have a large group of seniors in the community and they're known as "Roosevelt Democrats." Minerva, what does that mean?

NAZARIO: It means that they have been Democrats for a long, long time.

Have you been a Democrat most of your life?

NAZARIO: I am originally from Puerto Rico and my family moved to Philadelphia. Then as a young woman, I went to work in an antipoverty program in the Virgin Islands. The reason why I mention Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands is because the citizens of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, even though we are U.S. citizens, we cannot vote in the elections here in the United States.

You can't vote when you're in Puerto Rico.

NAZARIO: Right. So 2008 was the first time that I was going to vote for a president, a senator and everything like that. I was so glad that I was able to exercise that and be able to vote for the president of the United States.

Craig, I asked about the term "Roosevelt Democrats" and you touch on that throughout the film... how would you describe?

COLTON: A Roosevelt Democrat is someone that was born in the turn of the century or the little after that. They actually went through the Depression. They saw the creation of the New Deal laws that President Roosevelt put together and along with that Social Security. It's basically a dying generation. There are very few people alive today that actually remember the Depression. So that whole demographic of Roosevelt Democrats is vanishing. They are very liberal. They feel the government should put in its fair share to support these [senior] programs and unfortunately because they are vanishing that support system seems to be diminishing. It's important for our kids and our grandchildren to remember what their great-grandparents did for them.

Watch the trailer of “A Greater Society.”

Chris knew he wanted to work in public radio beginning in middle school, as WHYY played in his car rides to and from school in New Jersey. He’s freelanced for All Things Considered and was a desk associate for CBS Radio News in New York City. Most recently, he was producing for Capital Public Radio’s Insight booking guests, conducting research and leading special projects at Sacramento’s NPR affiliate.