Voters call debate ‘cringe worthy’, few reluctant to cast their ballot
Days after explosive revelations about Donald Trump’s predatory comments about women and Hillary Clinton’s closed-door speeches to banking executives, some people who watched the US presidential debate Sunday night were so disgusted they said they wouldn’t vote or were weighing a third-party candidate or write-in option. “I feel that it is wrong that these are the two choices I have,” said Patrick Trombetta, a Bernie Sanders supporter trying to decide between Clinton, Green Party candidate Jill Stein or writing Sanders in on the ballot. Here are stories of voters watching the debate around the country:
Looking for a conservative in Nevada
John Burns, 42, is a registered Republican and self-described conservative upset with his choices because he said both seem like Democrats. He took in the debate from a Las Vegas restaurant at a watch party organized by the Clark County Republican Party, where attendees howled with laughter as Trump attacked Hillary Clinton.
Raised Mormon, Burns works at a casino and uses a wheelchair after being paralyzed in a motorcycle accident. He said his disability can make it hard to get jobs, and the thought of people taking welfare benefits or abusing the system bothers him. Burns said the 2005 video in which Trump bragged about women letting him kiss and grope them was off-therecord “locker-room banter” and thinks women can be just as bad in private. “I think it shows a human side. I think it’s the politicians who are trying to make a political point,” he said.
Burns said he’s “almost ready to just sit this vote out because I’m so fed up with both sides.”
Cringing in Arizona
Sarah Parsons Fein, 38, of Tempe, Arizona, had one word for Sunday night’s debate: “cringe-worthy.” “The whole thing is just terrible for me; it’s like a car accident you can’t look away but you want to,” said the 38-year-old stay-at-home mom. Fein wasn’t swayed by Trump brushing off his vulgar talk about women as “locker room comments.” “I think that just perpetuates rape culture,” she said.
Fein plans to vote for Clinton after supporting Sanders in the Democratic primary. Stein.
Backing a different woman in Pennsylvania
Cheyanne Dawson, 22, of West Chester, Pennsylvania, watched the debate with co-workers at a restaurant and said it didn’t change her disdain for both candidates. “They’re not good representations of what we want them to be,” Dawson said. Clinton “just says what people want to hear, and so does Donald Trump, but you want someone to be genuine, authentic, and I don’t think either of the candidates are like that.” She is especially disappointed with Clinton because she has high expectations for the first female president - “someone you can look up to” and thinks Clinton lies and lacks passion. But Dawson dismissed Trump immediately as a “social media” phenomenon with bizarre policies that “wouldn’t benefit us.”
She plans to vote for
Reluctant voter in Michigan
Andy Fox, 24, a server at Lansing Brewing Co., said he supported Sanders “to try something new” and is reluctant to vote for Clinton or Trump because “they’re both criminals.”
Fox watched parts of the debate during his shift in Lansing. He said it did not assuage his fear that regardless of who is elected, “something really terrible is going to happen” in the next four years. With Clinton, he said, there will be “more wars” and with Trump, a “racial divide.” Fox credited Clinton for talking about health care, but otherwise “it’s just like high school banter” between the candidates - much too personal criticism and not nearly enough policy discussion, he said.
Fox said he probably will not vote.
Worried about Islamaphobia in Washington
Irkan Abdullahi, 26, a university student, watched the debate at a civic center in Seattle where most of the crowd of around 100 people appeared to support Clinton, often cheering after her lines and laughing at Trump’s claims. She said Trump doesn’t respect women. “It’s ridiculous. I mean he’s just saying things that he shouldn’t,” she said. Abdullahi, who is Muslim, said she liked that Clinton talked about her religion. “The things that she said really made feel good about this country and being here. When it came to Donald Trump, the things he said were very hurtful,” she said.
for Clinton. — AP Abdullahi will vote