Every four years November acts as a pivotal month in our nation’s political calendar. The months of lively debate leading up to the election often cause tensions to flare in communities across America, and never has an election stirred up controversy and vitriol as much as this one has.
Yet, despite all of this, the majority of local residents seem squarely unified against a particular candidate in the running for the future President of the United States. It should not come as a surprise, that in a community as diverse and unique as Park Slope, that a certain resentment would be felt towards Donald Trump — a man who has distanced himself from nearly every minority group with reliably divisive rhetoric.
There are a number of Americans who admire Trump for saying what others won’t, and for not shying away from the more turbulent areas of conversation that most politicians avoid. But there are also those who find this mindset distasteful.
“I don’t like Donald Trump, especially for the Mexican people,” said Luis Correa, 64, local resident and taxi driver. “He speaks poorly of us.” Correa identifies as an Independent but he finds himself drawn towards Hillary Clinton, finding her likable and attentive. “She works for honest, hardworking people. She works for my community.”
For many, the upcoming election results are cause for concern, with supporters on both sides keeping their nominees aloft in the polls. But for Correa, the future is clear. “I’m not worried,” he said firmly, rapping his knuckles decisively against the top of his taxi cab. “Hillary Clinton will be our next president.”
Lizette Chaparro, 26, works for a non-profit affordable housing company and is a proud Democrat. She said that her party has “long championed the well being of the working class and has reached out to communities of color.” She plans on voting for Clinton come fall, “for obvious reasons.” She is genuinely a supporter of Clinton’s policies and calls her “the most experienced candidate running for office,” but she also is driven by a desire to “make sure Donald Trump doesn’t end up in the White House.”
Chaparro also praised Clinton for championing women’s rights. “As a future mother, I worry about equal pay and maternity leave,” Chaparro said. “If Hillary Clinton wins the White House she’ll do a lot for working women. She’s very focused on giving women equal rights and opportunity in the workplace.”
David Hoffer, 58, is a computer technician who has been a Democrat for his entire life. He believes in the Democratic party because “they seem to care more about people and want to truly do good for us.” He paused for a moment before admitting, “At least most of the time.”
Hoffer expressed his discontent with the current voting system in place. “It’s all gone digital. I know technology progresses, we all progress, but if you look at any other field where technology is a large component – there’s always going to be people who try to supersede the rules. It’s too easily hackable; it’s hard to challenge discrepancies.” Hoffer said frustration in the voting system is nothing new, referencing the Florida election recount of 2000 and the controversy over hanging chads, stating that gray areas such as this hamper true democracy.
When asked about his thoughts on Trump as a presidential nominee, Hoffer could not help but laugh and respond, “Where to begin? I think he’s the biggest pathological liar and bigot there is. The fact that so many support him makes me wonder about our country.” For Hoffer, his vote is less a personal choice and more about choosing the lesser of two evils. “I’m not a big fan of Hillary, but choosing between the two? No question.”
Local graduate student Riyana Dasgupta, 23, believes that this election has “struck a chord with many people for a variety of reasons” and that it is much more than a popularity contest. “The presidential candidates’ policies and character brings out the morality of their supporters,” said Dasgupta. “And I think this election has a lot to do with morals, in addition to electing a new Commander-in-Chief.”
Dasgupta described Clinton and Trump diplomatically, stating that, “One of the candidates has well thought out policies, a solid temperament, and a positive character that can truly enact change in this country. The other candidate, however, has policies that have the potential to do more harm than good and a quick, haughty temperament.”
However Park Slope residents personally felt towards either candidate, each expressed encouragement in every American’s right to vote. “I would like to see more people, older and younger alike, come out and vote,” said Dasgupta. With support mounting on both sides, whether passionate or resigned, this election in particular will ride on the citizens who actively stand in line for the voting box come November 8th.