Politics & Government

The horrible election that everyone has an opinion about

Gianna Wilson says Obamacare needs to be improved but she wouldn’t want to lose it.
Gianna Wilson says Obamacare needs to be improved but she wouldn’t want to lose it. The Wichita Eagle

Although Kansas voters say they don’t like the mudslinging they’ve seen in the presidential election, they often describe the election in some of the same melodramatic, even apocalyptic, language they decry.

About 90 Eagle readers responded to a questionnaire through the Public Insight Network.

“Crooked Hillary” Clinton “is a liar!” wrote one reader. She’s “in the pocket of big money,” wrote another, and could even be “a dark imp of hell.” Many readers “don’t like, don’t trust her” because, as Wichitan Roger Huddleston put it, she “cannot open her mouth without telling a lie.”

George Stump, a Derby Republican, “would rather have Mr. Trump the womanizer to Mrs. Clinton’s power-grabbing lies and coverups.”

Donald Trump, on the other hand, is “a narcissistic megalomaniac,” said Wichitan John Trewolla. Trump is “a raving lunatic” who inspires “doubts about his sanity” and “needs a personality transplant,” according to other questionnaire responses. He is a “crazy sexist moron idiot” and a “dangerous, misogynist hatemonger.” He is a “bullying, finagling,” “disgusting reality show idiot.”

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After voting at Grace Presbyterian Church on Tuesday, Karen Clark, a retired Wichita teacher, laughed and threw up her hands at her choice. “It’s almost everything that comes out of (Trump’s) mouth, it never makes any sense; everything seems to be kind of a joke,” Clark said. “A wall? You’re going to make Mexico build a wall, really? On what planet does that make sense?”

A Trump supporter felt that Clinton would “sell America to the highest bidder.” A Clinton supporter worried that if Trump is elected he will become a “third world strongman” who will “destroy this country,” who when he “gets mad he will start a nuclear war,” possibly “over Twitter.”

Election ‘a circus’

It’s not just that the candidates this year are uniquely bad, but the election process itself has divided the country, many voters said.

All of the “constant mudslinging” has made the “issues take a back seat to gutter politics,” which has turned the election “into a circus.” The result: “The country has been denied a genuine debate over important issues.”

“Instead we’ve been focused on a bunch of social issues that has no place,” said Donna Gordon of Wichita, who is voting for Clinton. “Philandering, an email controversy, and who Donald Trump sleeps with. Who cares?”

What are the issues that haven’t had a full airing? The Affordable Care Act, for one.

Gianna Wilson, 26, of Wichita is voting for Clinton because she wants to continue to receive health insurance through the Affordable Care Act for herself and her son, Greyson, 1. But her premiums are set to rise $100 a month next year. She doesn’t think Clinton will throw the baby out with the bathwater.

But Wichitan Jerry Ashley, 46, said he prefers Trump because “Obamacare isn’t working out for me. I’m a poor guy and it costs more than it should,” Ashley said.

What’s to come

While many voters decried the election, they’ve been able to compartmentalize it.

Gordon said she has purposefully remained civil with friends voting for Trump, despite being disappointed by their choices. “I know at the end of the day whoever goes into the White House, we’re going to have to deal with it together whether we like it or not,” Gordon said. “So we might as well keep speaking to each other.”

Other voters have had a harder time holding their emotions in. “Trump has placed an attack on me personally because I’m a woman,” said Brandi Lawrence of Kansas City, who made a political post on Facebook for the first time this year. “I won’t engage in conversations because it’s hard not to be emotional.”

Some voters worry about what will happen on Nov. 9. “The country is split so far apart that whoever wins is going to face such terrible partisanship that at the very least the next four years nothing will get done and at worst, there could be violence and a lot worse,” said Michael Davis of Wichita.

“The people calling for an apocalypse, I’m sorry but that isn’t going to happen,” said Wichitan B.G. Bennett. “This election isn’t going to change my life. I’m going to get up on November 9th and brush my teeth and go on with my day.”

Oliver Morrison: 316-268-6499, @ORMorrison

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