Before the presidential election hits the Sunflower State, The Eagle asked voters who represent a cross-section of the community to talk about who they support among the five leading candidates – and why.
By March 16, more than half of Republican and Democratic delegates will have been awarded. Kansas’ caucuses take place Saturday, right in the middle of this big push.
Kansas’ caucuses are small, but could be important, given how close the races are.
The winners will receive just under 1 percent of all Democratic delegates and just under 2 percent of Republican delegates.
Today, we hear from Bernie Sanders supporters.
Coming Friday: Donald Trump supporters.
Dennis Romero, 56
Dennis Romero sells cars. His customers don’t like it when he answers a question about how much a car costs with, “How much do you got?”
He thinks Sanders has straight answers, as opposed to Trump, who he thinks says, “Everything’s horrible, we’ll fix it. ‘How?’ Don’t ask me, I have ways.”
Romero, a former community organizer, likes that someone is finally addressing the needs of working class people.
He said he has seen young people energized by Sanders’ campaign whereas most political meetings are filled with older people.
“That’s good, but it doesn’t represent all across the board who we are. Walmart is not all full of old people or kids, it’s a mix,” he said.
His relatives were some of the first Latinos to immigrate to Kansas, several generations ago, he said.
“Hispanics are usually at the bottom end of the food chain,” Romero said. “The majority … do the jobs we don’t want to do. … If (Sanders) can make our weakest link strong, I think that’s going to affect the majority of the Hispanics in this country. … He’s talking about mi gente, my people.”
Lindsey Thiry, 27
Lindsey Thiry heard people complain after the past two elections that she voted for Barack Obama just because she is mixed-race. She decided to combat that perception this time by emphasizing the overall qualities of the candidates.
“I don’t want anyone to ever think that I would vote for someone just based on appearance,” she said. “It is one of the most important jobs in the country, and it should be taken seriously.”
At the same time, she is a former schoolteacher and new mom and thinks institutional racism is the most important issue in the election. She was impressed by Sanders’ record in college “fighting for and marching for black people.”
She thinks women should have the right to decide whether to have an abortion, which is one of the main reasons she doesn’t consider most Republican candidates. Although she would vote for Clinton in the general election, she said Sanders better fits her vision for the country, based on issues like health care and income inequality.
“While it would be nice to vote for a woman, I more align with Bernie Sanders,” Thiry said.