Elec­tion eve in DC: hope, cyn­i­cism

In a tra­di­tion­ally Demo­cratic strong­hold, vot­ers of­fer a mix of views on can­di­dates

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By CHEN WEIHUA in Wash­ing­ton chen­wei­hua@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

Amer­i­cans who live clos­est to the White House ex­pressed cyn­i­cism, pes­simism and some op­ti­mism about the pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates less than 24 hours be­fore elec­tion day on Tues­day.

Aby Diaz moved three months ago from Florida to Langley Park in Mary­land, a multi-cul­tural neigh­bor­hood with a lot of work­ing-class res­i­dents. It’s also close to the Univer­sity of Mary­land and part of the Greater Wash­ing­ton metro area.

Diaz said she will be trav­el­ing on the elec­tion day and hasn’t cast an ab­sen­tee bal­lot.

“Trump!” Diaz replied with a re­sound­ing voice when asked which can­di­date she likes. “We need Trump. We need some­one who is rad­i­cal, who is strong, who loves his coun­try and is will­ing to make a good change, not Obama’s change.”

Diaz, car­ry­ing a Louis Vuit­ton hand­bag, de­scribed “Obama’s change” as “de­stroy­ing the coun­try.”

Dianna Wash­ing­ton, a mid­dleage woman in Carver-Langston in north­east Wash­ing­ton, said she will vote for Demo­cratic can­di­date Hil­lary Clin­ton.

She de­scribed Clin­ton as a bet­ter can­di­date than Repub­li­can can­di­date Don­ald Trump be­cause her hus­band Bill Clin­ton was pres­i­dent. “She knows more about the sit­u­a­tion than Trump,” she said.

Asked about the key is­sues that she cares about, Wash­ing­ton said, “A bet­ter United States; a bet­ter sit­u­a­tion here be­cause the crime rate is ter­ri­ble.”

There were 154 homi­cides across the na­tion’s cap­i­tal in 2015, com­pared with 97 in 2014, and the most since 2008, ac­cord­ing to govern­ment statistics. Most of the killings took place

I want our next pres­i­dent to rep­re­sent the best as­pects of the Amer­i­can cul­ture and diplo­macy, and the best ideas we have. I just don’t see that role in Don­ald Trump.” Peter Clerkin, DC res­i­dent and for­mer Bernie San­ders sup­porter

in com­mu­ni­ties east of the Rock Creek River and in rel­a­tively poor neigh­bor­hoods heav­ily pop­u­lated by blacks.

Peter Clerkin, who lives in the Cleve­land Park sec­tion, a rel­a­tively upper-mid­dle-class neigh­bor­hood in north­west Wash­ing­ton, had worked for Sen­a­tor Bernie San­ders’ cam­paign. He has voted for an in­de­pen­dent can­di­date be­fore, but said he will vote for Clin­ton.

Clerkin said the key is­sues he cares about is for the US not to get into any more con­flicts in the Mid­dle East and to be a re­spon­si­ble power.

“I want our next pres­i­dent to rep­re­sent the best as­pects of the Amer­i­can cul­ture and diplo­macy, and the best ideas we have. I just don’t see that role in Don­ald Trump,” he said.

In the Columbia Heights neigh­bor­hood in Wash­ing­ton, 67-yearold Mary just fin­ished shop­ping and was sit­ting on a bench in the sun­shine on 14th Street. “I don’t like ei­ther one of them,” said the woman, who de­clined to re­veal her last name.

Asked who she will vote for on Tues­day, Mary said with dis­dain, “Any­body, there are two peo­ple there. When I go, I am just go­ing to pick one.

“This coun­try does not take care of its poor. It does not take care of its home­less. It does not take care of its se­nior cit­i­zens. It does not take care of the men­tally ill. And it’s dis­re­spect­ful of the vets, the peo­ple who fought for us,” she said.

A study last year by the DC Fis­cal Pol­icy In­sti­tute, a lib­eral-lean­ing non-profit group, showed that 26 per­cent of blacks in the city lived be­low the poverty line in 2014 while only 7 per­cent of non-His­panic whites lived at that level. The pop­u­la­tion of the na­tion’s cap­i­tal in 2015, was 672,228, ac­cord­ing to the US Cen­sus.

The cap­i­tal also has the high­est food-stamp-use per­cent­age in the US.

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