One less vote for Hillary
It was one of those scorching 100° summer day in Washington DC, not an ideal time to be touring a 13 yr old boy from Austria on his first international trip. Today we decided to go on the trolley hop-on-hop-off tour around the mall and the Arlington cemetary to lessen our sun exposure but we couldn’t escape the heat. After a quick selfie at the Lincoln memorial, we decided to get on a cab back to Chinatown to shop at New Da Hsin store.
My young European companion sat quietly in the backseat. What should have been a short ride was turning into a costly one because of protesters against China's Communist Party parading on Constitution Ave stretching from the Capitol to 7th St, combined with an emergency incident on 7th St. When you're stuck in traffic in a cab, in Washington DC, the likely small talk would be politics. The topic of politics is not something I would write about nor start talking about, especially with a new acquaintance such as a cab driver. But my curious young companion, innocent as he may seem, was so keen to learn about the Nation's Capital turned to me and asked if I like Donald Trump. I was careful with my answer almost mumbling knowing that our cab driver from Ethiopia was ready to react to my response, whether he would approve or not, I was not sure. These days, you never know how people will react to your comments, a simple statement could end up into a heated debate. With all the anti-immigrant, anti-islam rhetoric from Trump, it is surprising that there are "Latinos for Trump" and "Muslims for Trump" and perhaps our friend behind the wheel was part of "cab drivers for Trump" movement! On the other hand, he may be a long time member of the Hillary Rodham Clinton Fan club. During a trip to New York last year, while in a cab stuck in traffic, we were surprised to learn from our cab driver that New Yorkers "don't like Hillary"! To think she was an elected Senator for the State.
With his eagerness to practice his English (which was quite good), my innocent Austrian companion expressed his dislike for Donald Trump with so much honesty. For the "safety" of my companion and myself, I politely included our friend behind the wheel into the conversation as we turned on G st. We were now a few blocks from Chinatown and the traffic had abated so the risk of an awkward conversation was lower.
Recent CBS/Times polls show that Hillary and Trump are almost tied, and that support for Hillary has declined in the last three months. The impact of Bernie's endorsement of Hillary remains to be seen. According to a recent Yik Yak survey, 48 percent of Bernie supporters, mostly millennials, would go for Hillary. However, some of Bernie supporters prefer a third party. These polls are vague to me, and almost meaningless. However, our friend behind the wheel makes the trending catch up of Trump with Hillary, very real. He claims he WAS a Democrat but will vote Independent in this year's election. He was a Bernie supporter but there is no way he will vote for "crooked Hillary" (I guess he was never a member of her fan club). For some strange reason Bernie and Trump have the same appeal to him, even if their ideologies are very different from each other. Now that he is Independent and Bernie is no longer in the race, he will vote for Donald Trump. He will not even consider a third party such as Jill Stein, who is gaining some of the Bernie supporters after the Hillary endorsement was announced. For our friend behind the wheel, he does not believe in anyone who has been in elected office before because they simply "don’t care!". He wants someone new, an outsider who is not influenced by the political culture of Washington. And Trump is that guy who does it his way, all politics and diplomacy aside. With her political and international track record, plus wealth, Hillary is everything our friend behind the wheel will never vote for. He says "she is corrupt!".
My husband claims that there will be 45% who will always vote Democrat, and another 45% who will always vote Republican. Then there is that 10% who might sway to the left or to the right depending on who says the damnest or dumbest thing during the campaign. Learning from our friend behind the wheel, I wonder how many more of democrat voters are turning Independent? And how many of the Independent voters can Hillary convince to vote for her? While the Trump style of campaign is way off track from "diplomacy" and "political correctness", it seems to be working for him. It worked for him as he campaigned for his candidacy, and it seems to be working for him against Hillary, for now at least. Since moving to DC (legally) more than ten years ago, I have been fortunate to witness the election of the first African-American President, perhaps this year the first Woman President will be elected. But If more immigrants and independent voters think the same way as our friend behind the wheel, then she may not have a chance. On the other hand, it may also be a historical breakthrough if the first reality celebrity, who strays from campaign tradition and ethics, is elected as president and will bring about the change to make "America great again!". Who knows? It will all depend on how Bernie supporters and independents vote in November.