Who is the least terrible?
When a presidential election season rolls around, my husband and I make an effort to avoid voicing our opinions. Our political views have been in contrast for the past 18 years. In the beginning of our marriage, whenever we discussed politics it led to doors slamming. Often enough, one of us ended up sleeping on the couch after a heated political discussion. We have mellowed over the years. We have accepted that we will always cancel out each other’s votes. We find each other’s views less offensive though we still disagree on everything from gun control to healthcare. I like to believe that our differing views make our children well-rounded and less prone to follow the status quo. But, perhaps we are setting them up for a life filled with confusion and self-doubt...only time will tell.
This campaign season I took to the streets and web to discuss what my husband and I avoid.
I BEGAN WITH MY LOCAL FACEBOOK FRIENDS
I think everyone can relate to the issue of an overzealous political Facebook friend. I have many Facebook friends that are strong supporters of a particular candidate. Some of them post daily political tirades, others are low-key in their support. Below are a few of my politically minded Facebook friends’ thoughts on their favorite candidates.
Katherine Lopez, age undisclosed, freelance writer, South Bay
“I am voting for Hillary Clinton. I supported her eight years ago and support her even more so now. How much more experience and qualifications can anyone have, or get, to do this job? If anything, she is overqualified.
"Senator Sanders keeps saying she’s an 'insider.' What he and his supporters fail to acknowledge is that the most revolutionary presidents are always insiders: FDR, JFK, LBJ. You have to know the game and the players, otherwise you stand zero chance of making any changes.
"Look at Obama: he was an 'outsider.' He couldn’t do anything with Congress, failed to keep a single promise he made, and, by and large, failed on his progressive agenda. Anyone that has studied Hillary Clinton’s life, her thoughts, and actions, knows that she is a true progressive and knows how to get things done. I am so looking forward to her eight years in office.”
Mike Coldwell, 57, retired, Alpine
“I am voting for Trump mainly because he knows how to get things done. He cannot be bought by anyone. Trump has a great family to support him. He is not a politician. He is not part of the lifer politicians in Washington right now. He talks about the tough issues no one else will.”
May Star, event planner, Golden Hill
“I’m voting for Bernie Sanders because we need a better healthcare system, and because I keep watching everyone around me become poorer and poorer. We need major change.
"If you’re a landlord reading this magazine, please stop raising everyone’s rent in San Diego! Care about people, not just money. Life is about more than just profit and possessing things. It’s about working together as a community, as a nation, to make our country the best.
“Bernie wants to raise minimum wage to $15/ hour. I have 7500 Facebook followers and most of them are struggling. I’ve been directly watching the gap between the rich and the poor grow for ten years now. It’s really true: our middle class is almost gone. Bernie wants to rebuild the middle class. He is giving hope to the whole nation. Hope alone can be enough to get the spirits of our country up. Americans are tired of using credit cards to buy groceries.
“Bernie wants to set up a better healthcare system, one where companies aren’t trying to charge $1000 for a single pill or $180,000 for a $16,000 surgery. Every human being deserves healthcare, and at a reasonable cost. Obama’s healthcare system is too expensive, though it was a start in the right direction.... How could you not vote for Bernie? He is going to cut down the overinflated medical costs and keep it so that if you’re sick, you can apply for healthcare and they can’t deny you. What America needs right now is radical change.”
Remington Shock, 32, business owner, Poway
“Rand Paul was my guy, but he dropped out. I have decided that I can’t stand Republicans anymore. I am a libertarian. Voting the Libertarian Party usually puts you in with a very small percentage of like-minded individuals. I usually try to find the most libertarian Republican candidate to vote for. This time, I am left with no one. The closest is Cruz. I guess, out of all the front-runners, Cruz is the only one I might vote for. I don’t even know if I am voting. I am so sick of the political climate. Trump is a farce, Bernie is a farce, and Hillary is a farce. If we didn’t have 17 Republican candidates, Rand Paul would’ve outshown the rest of them, but Trump gathered all the news attention. The 16 other candidates just washed out in the background. As a man, Trump is a horrible person. As a presidential candidate, he is a horrible person. He is racist, bigoted, and ignorant. He just happens to be really good at business and that is about it.”
Moving on from Facebook, I hit the Mission Beach boardwalk crowd to see what locals had to say about their favorite candidates. Many boardwalkers said that they had zero interest in politics and did not plan on voting. One man explained, in California. What is the point of voting?” Another young woman’s response was, “I find politics really boring. I just don’t care.” I ran into a guy smoking a joint just off the boardwalk who said he was voting for Bernie Sanders because of what, “Sanders and Abe Lincoln accomplished during the Civil Rights Movement.”
Nate Paul, 23, student at SDSU, Mission Beach
“I am voting for Donald Trump because I don’t care as much about the social issues as I do economic and monetary issues. Bernie would be my second choice because of his environmental views.”
Paris Navy, 22, entrepreneur, and Mike Wright, 24, student (Wright not pictured because of an outstanding warrant)
“I am voting for Bernie because he is truly, deep down, for the people, and for all races,” Wright explained.
“He talks to everyone about the problems we face. Hillary seems like she is strictly a puppet getting paid by people to say and do things.”
Added Navy, “Trump is too disrespectful toward the Latinos. I love my Mexican people and black Hispanics. They are the backbone of our country. They need our respect.”
Concluded Wright, “With Trump, there is too much aggression behind what he stands for.”
Robyn Smith and Melissa Swanson
Robyn Smith, 29, yoga instructor, and Melissa Swanson, 30, swim teacher, Pacific Beach
“I am voting for Bernie because fuck the bullshit,” exclaimed Smith.
“Me, too. I really like how the support for Bernie’s campaign comes from small money,” added Swanson. “Hillary would be a great candidate if she wasn’t such a corporate monster and if it weren’t apparent to me that she is going to create more global strife. I think she will win, though. I don’t think Bernie will. It seems like Bernie is the most straightforward politician maybe ever, or at least in my lifetime, anyway,” said Smith.
Chas Reiter, 73, Air Force vet
“I want to vote for Donald Trump, because I think he is about the biggest jerk I have ever seen! I hope he wins because he is entertaining. Presidents are talking heads; he’s a talking jerk. What difference does it make? Why shouldn’t he be president? My vote is a protest vote.”
Next, I headed to Balboa Park, hoping to find a broad sample of voters. But Balboa Park was teeming with Democrats when I visited.
Chet Harrison, 57, musician, Normal Heights
“I am going to vote for Bernie Sanders. I shouldn’t be voting for him because I am a libertarian. I actually changed parties so I can vote for him. There are some major issues facing the country that Bernie is going to deal with, or at least he is going to try. He has a more libertarian foreign policy than any of the other frontrunners.
"Hillary Clinton is just as bad as George W. Bush, in my opinion. I like peace. I like freedom. Bernie is the best candidate for those sorts of things.
"Economically speaking, people think that we have capitalism in this country, and we don’t. We have, a pseudo fascism where we have a marriage of corporations and the government. Medical care, education, and the military all cost too much. These things are expensive because of the alliance between the government and the financial interests of the country. With Bernie Sanders, it could be a complete disaster, but, hopefully, he is going to be able to get control of costs. He might not be the best possible candidate, but he is addressing things other candidates aren’t addressing that are highly, highly important.”
Steve Mather, 66, minister, Coronado
“I am leaning towards Hillary. She has been around for a long time. She has a real track record — granted, some of it is sketchy. She is not the perfect candidate. The reason I will vote for her, as opposed to, say, Bernie, although he is more consistent with my values, is that she is going to be less of a target for the Koch brothers to destroy her. [The Koch brothers] will destroy Bernie. They will be able to successfully caricature and demonize him. I don’t like that; but it’ll happen. I really believe Bernie is a champion of ideas. I just don’t believe that he can govern. The Clintons know how to do a little wheeling and dealing. Many people don’t like that, but you need to do that to govern. I kind of get Hillary’s values. I have been involved with [the Planned Parenthood Clergy Advisory Board] and recently their action fund endorsed her. I think she is the most likely candidate that can cobble together the disparate Democrat entities, which is a rough job.
"Bernie, I feel, is so far out there. I don’t see Republicans working with him. I think he is successful at getting across straight talk. As a preacher, that is my thing, but at the end of the day, I don’t think you have to be right on the issues. It’s about being able. I think a lot of people forget what the real job description of being the president of the United States is. The job description is being able to govern. You don’t hire someone because they are your best pal, best orator, or the one that makes us feel good. The president is the chief executor of the U.S. government."
Riko and Adam Radojcic
Riko Radojcic, 63, engineer, and Adam Radojcic, 26
“Normally I would vote for a Republican, but the choices out there are rather horrible. I don’t like any of the leading guys except maybe Kasich. On the Democratic side, Bernie is cool. I would want him in my living room. He’s a nice guy. I like Bernie as a human being, but no, he can’t possibly be a good president. Bernie won’t win, so it would have to be Hillary. If I were given a choice between Trump or Hillary I would vote for Hillary. The rest of them are all slimes,” says Riko Radojcic.
Adds his son, Adam, “I don’t vote. I find politics uninteresting. I don’t know much about it. It would be hypocritical for me to go out and vote just because I am being told to.”
Kyle Darcey, 25, freelance videographer, Point Loma
“I am voting for Hillary. I think with her experience in national security she could be a real player. Honestly, in a race where Donald Trump is running, I will definitely vote. If he does get elected, it will be such a public disgrace to have a guy like that in office. Donald Trump is like having another Bush in office. There are so many lies revolving his campaign that it would be pretty shit not to vote.”
East County is rumored to veer right. I headed to the downtown district to see if there was any truth to that assumption.
Carin and John Stone
Carin Stone, 52, homemaker, and John Stone, retired, 66
“We really don’t know who we are voting for yet...at least I don’t know,” John Stone says.
Says Carin, “I am leaning more toward Hillary, because I am not a Republican. I don’t like Donald Trump, and she is the lesser of three evils. I have been voting since I was 18 years old. This election is like a side show. I am not real cool with Hillary, but at this point, I am going with her anyway.”
Pipes in John, “I always vote, but this time I am undecided. The fact is, it was the Republicans that ruined our economy. It was the Republicans that made the banks go under. I will not forgive them for that. I have never been so adamant about voting against a party in my life!”
Carin interrupts , with a smile, “He’s going Democrat!”
Adds John, “I definitely won’t vote Republican. What good is it to say I am a Republican and just look for the Rs on a ballot?”
Gayle Catas, Peg Tischer-Keeley, and Shawn Crapeau, La Mesa
Gayle Catas, 62, retired make-up artist; Peg Tischer-Keeley, realtor, 73; and Shawn Crepeau, 72, trainer, all from La Mesa
“I don’t know who I am voting for, but I have to say that I saw Bernie Sanders on The View today and I was very impressed! I don’t know how he feels about a lot of things, but you’ll never hear him bash another candidate!” Gayle Cates explains while holding tightly to her dog’s leash. “I am embarrassed to hear what kind of cruel and hideous remark Trump will say next!”
Interrupts Shawn Crepeau,“Did you actually hear Trump say something cruel and hideous? He never said anything that wasn’t true! Everyone says he said, ‘All Mexicans are killers and rapists.’ That is not what he said! He said that they’re letting rapists and killers across the border — and they are!”
Peg Tischer-Keeley responds with a nod, “I like Trump, but I don’t think he is the one who should be president. I believe he has a lot of good things going for him, but I am concerned with him and foreign affairs.”
Says Crepeau, “I am voting for Trump because he didn’t take any money from anybody. I am a bigtime conservative, and I think he has a lot of great ideas for this country. I am very well informed.”
Tischer-Keeley adds, “I really liked Carson. I would like to see most of the people in the Republican panels in cabinet positions or some other position of authority. I think that every single one of them are good and decent human beings. Bernie Sanders has made it real clear that he is a socialist. The younger people think he is just fabulous because they do not really understand what socialism is all about. I find that really frightening. I don’t think the young people understand where our country is going to be. Plus, he is my age. I don’t want to be president at my age.”
Adds Cates, “My God, could you imagine!? How in the world could he stand it?”
The two women laugh hysterically before Tischer-Keeley adds solemnly, “You know, I have ten children and all of them are Democrats.”
Tuleah Johnson, 47, grocery-store receiver, El Cajon
“I don’t want to vote for anyone at this point in time. I don’t like any of the candidates. As an African-American woman, it is very nice to have an African-American president. That’s history. I think it would be great if a woman were to become president, but I am not looking to break in the first female president if she is not the right person.
“I voted for Obama but not because he’s black. I voted for him because at that time he had the best answers. My sister is a Republican. She didn’t vote for him. I am not here to make a mark on history. I am here to vote for the right person. So far, we don’t have a good pick. I would like to vote for someone because I want to feel like my vote matters but I guess I won’t vote if I don’t feel comfortable with who they have.”
In La Jolla I talked to a few locals as well as folks from around the region.
Zoe Sebrite, 19, economics student at UCSD, North Park
“I am voting for Hillary Clinton. Although I personally like Bernie Sanders’s viewpoints on issues like inequality and the minimum wage, I think a lot of his ideas are unrealistic. I don’t think they will be able to pass through Congress. I feel he lacks foreign-policy experience. Hillary Clinton has a lot more experience overall that she can bring to the table. I think if Hillary gets the nomination it will be easier to get swing voters.
“For a while I was thinking that Marco Rubio wouldn’t be the worst of the bunch. It’s hard to tell who will get the nomination. I am really excited to vote in my first presidential election. It’s a really interesting election. I just wish there were more options on the Democratic side. I think it’s really cool that Hillary is a candidate. I think it is an awesome opportunity to be able to vote for a woman. I voted locally for the first time last year but this is way more exciting! Local issues are more relevant, but I like the excitement of electing a president.”
Shawn-Patrick Bland, 35, U.S. Navy, Temecula
“I wanted to vote for Ben Carson. I like his morals. He comes from humble beginnings. I like his views. I really like that he is not political. It worries me that the last 50-plus presidents were political and that they have made so many mistakes. That’s the problem: people have this idea that someone who is not political is going to run this country into the ground. Politicians lie. Ben Carson is more genuine. I don’t think these politicians have the middle-class people’s best interest at heart. They care about who is funding them and whose agenda they are trying to push. They don’t care about us.
“The biggest problem I have with American politics is that it is separated into parties. Instead of going for the best person fit for the job, we go for our party’s candidate. If I thought a Democrat were the best candidate, I would vote for them. I am more conservative and Republican in most of my views but I don’t think any party has it all right. To say I am fully Republican isn’t accurate. I voted for Obama in his first term because I believed he was going to make some real changes. Once candidates get into office it’s completely different than what they campaigned for. A Democrat doesn’t care about you. When has Hillary Clinton ever cared about poor people other than when she is campaigning in the ghetto? I just wish Americans didn’t try to rely on one guy to change the world.”
Tom Hull, 81, retired, La Jolla
“I am ready for the country to go hard left or hard right — make up its mind! For 60 years I have voted Democrat. Well, I voted for Pete Wilson one time before he went crazy on Proposition 180, which was an anti-immigrant prop in ’92.
“I agree with Bernie on education. I am not for free education, but I am for it being cheaper than it is. I am for a single-payer healthcare. If Hillary gets the nomination, that will be complicated. If I had to choose between Kasich on the Republican side — although I don’t think he’ll make it — or Hillary on the Democratic side, that would be a toss-up. I have never forgiven her husband [Bill Clinton] for Monica Lewinsky. In situations like that, I think wives stay with husbands because of children or other considerations. My fear is that Hillary stuck with [Bill] out of political aspirations. In the long haul, both their political careers were tied up. Kasich implemented the Medicaid in Ohio. When you look at Trump and Cruz, Kasich seems like a real moderate kind of person. Bill Clinton’s welfare reform wasn’t a very progressive or liberal solution.”
Sam Kerson, 24, computer-science student
“I won’t vote for Cruz or Trump. If it came down to either of them, I would have to begrudgingly vote for Hillary because I hate them both so much. I wouldn’t move to Canada if they won, but I would be very upset. I am a fiscal Republican and a Democrat on the social end. I actually really like Marco Rubio. He is a little young, but I do like him as a more moderate Republican.
“I guess I would have to say I am leaning largely toward Bernie Sanders. What it boils down to is that there are just no good Republican candidates. What I don’t like about Bernie is that he wants to defund Planned Parenthood — what a horrible idea! As a woman that has used Planned Parenthood when monetarily it wasn’t feasible for me to go to a regular doctor, it was so valuable in my life. That turns me off, but still, I will be voting in the primaries for Bernie Sanders.
“I really like moderate candidates, which I guess is crazy because I say that Bernie Sanders would be my number-one pick and he has literally declared himself a socialist. I just feel like I am picking the least shitty of all the candidates. Really, I have to ask myself, Who is the least terrible?”
Chad Warren, 26, tech-company employee, Poway
“I am for Jeb Bush, because I work for a tech company and he wears an Apple watch. That is my main reason. I think I have a little more reading to do before the election. I always vote Republican. If Trump gets the Republican nomination, I would want to vote for him just to see what happens.
"In 2008, when Barack won, I was excited to see if it would change other countries’ opinion’s on Americans. I lived for four years in the Netherlands. In the Netherlands people loved Barack. I think it would be interesting to see their opinion of Trump. Trump is the epitome of the stereotypical American. I think other countries would think it was funny if he became our president.”
Aisha Subhan, 20, UCSD student, UTC
“I am really divided between Hillary and Sanders right now. I know that Sanders will probably be better for us domestically, but I think Hillary will probably do a better job in terms of foreign policy. I don’t think Sanders could win the Democratic nomination. I am just so confused. I almost don’t even want to vote. I am a political science major so I kind of have to vote. Also, it’s my first presidential election. I will probably vote for HIllary. I am not as excited about it as I thought I would be.
"I don't like any of the Republicans. I think Jeb Bush is probably worse than his brother. I think Donald Trump just talks and has no agenda. His ideas seem revolutionary to a lot of people. In the end, I don't think he will actually do much.
I found it difficult to find individuals willing to talk about their political views in City Heights. I invited many, but only five people agreed to speak with me about politics.
Adrian Nuñez, 64, Transportation (driver), City Heights
“I am voting for Ted Cruz because I think he’s got balls. I think he is going to do what he says. He is going to be able to represent the United States in a different fashion than Obama has. I think we will be respected by the Russians, the Syrians, and everybody else. He is not going to let people get away with stuff and they aren’t even going to want to try to because they’ll respect him. I think Ted Cruz is a man of great integrity. We need somebody like him right now. Not only is America going to hell, but the whole world is because of the lack of American leadership.”
Hassan Hussein, 62, and Abdul Mohamed, 50s, City Heights
“We are both voting for Hillary because she is the best politician in the American state. I am voting for her because I like her husband. I think he will help her. I always vote, and I always vote Democrat. I voted Obama. I am happy with him. I might be worried if someone else becomes president, I am not sure yet,” says Hassan Hussein.
Adds Mohammed Ali with a laugh, “If we don’t get the Clintons, the last president will be Obama. I think she is good with other countries. She doesn’t have a problem with the Muslims.”
AJ Steen, 32, dental hygienist, and Nick Eskins, 30, unemployed
“I am not going to vote. I don’t even know who is running,” admits Nick Eskin.
With a look of disgust, AJ Steen responds, “You’re dumb! Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, they are running! I don’t like any of them. They are all liars. I really wanted to vote for Hillary when Barack Obama was running against her because she would be the first woman president. Then she lied about all that stuff and had all that scandal. We need a president that is trustworthy. I feel like not voting. But, if I had to choose I would go with Hillary. When Bill ran the country, things were a little bit better for my class, the poorer end of people. I absolutely hate Trump. He is a fascist. I hope he dies!”
I'm not going to vote
55 total votes.