Al Jazeera talks to Americans about who they’re voting for and why – as well as those choosing to abstain.
9 Nov 2016
Voters in the United States are choosing their next president and Al Jazeera asked them who they picked and why.
Others, unhappy with the two candidates put before them, have decided not participate.
Here’s what they said:
Ilika Masam and Romeo Morgan, ice cream shop owners
Ilika Masam, a 54-year-old father of 14 and Romeo Morgan, president of the Georgia Ave Business Alliance, a father of 16, are co-owners of an ice cream shop in Washington DC.
“Everyone who votes gets half off ice cream cones. It’s called giving back to the community. I don’t care if you vote Democrat or Republican, a vote is a vote. If you’re asking me to tell you the truth though, if Donald Trump, wins I’m going back to Trinidad,” said Romeo.
Ilika added: “I’m headed back to Ethiopia. I couldn’t fathom the idea that we’re going to set ourselves back 60 years. A lot of us are going to have problems on a real level. I think Hillary’s going to make a better president than the other guy.”
Romeo added: “My family business has been here for 84 years. Racism has been hidden for so long in this country. If he [Trump] becomes president, that sets us back 600 years.”
Antoinea Lyles and Derrick Bryson
Antoinea Lyles, 21, works on Capitol Hill and Derrick Bryson, 25, is personal trainer.
Antoinea: “This is my first election. It felt kind of crappy just to have these two candidates as the fore-runners. With this being my first election, I really wanted to do my research. I wasn’t impressed with either one, but I grew up in Florida. I was registered to vote there and it’s my obligation because it’s a swing state. It could be life or death. Trump’s got to go.”
Derrick: “I’m a personal trainer, I work in DC, and this is my second election. Me, personally, I’m not into politics, I wouldn’t vote. But people before me believed heavily in voting. I’m paying respect to them. I’m going to miss President Obama. I do think that there’s a lot of sexism going on during the elections. I think the reason Hillary is getting a lot of crap is because she is a woman. And [on the other hand] you have an outright racist – if Trump gets elected, it’s just publicity. What is he going to do in office? “
Paul Pryzborowski, technology salesman
Paul Pryzborowski, 49, is technology salesman from Forney, Texas.
“I’m not sure if I’m going to vote, but I know who I would vote for. I feel that I am just a pawn in the little game of the world. If I decide to go up there and vote, I’ll definitely vote for Trump. I am not voting for Clinton. My firm belief is that I don’t want to play into the games about hearsay. These guys who were killed in Benghazi – Clinton was fully involved in it and lied about it. And nobody is doing anything, and we’re willing to look the other way. Most definitely, I want change. I just don’t like the New York arrogance [of Trump]. There’s a lot of oligarchy in him. He thinks he’s better than everybody. But he is the better of the worst, the lesser of two evils.”
Dot Baumgartner, retired office worker
Dot Baumgartner, 65, is a retired office worker from Gastonia, North Carolina.
“I voted for Trump because as a Republican I think he represents my views on many issues. As for his statements disparaging women, I think he said it when he was younger, even though he sinned, but God will forgive him for all the junk and negative things he said. But his statements on Hillary, refugees and Muslims, I think he told the truth. Hillary is all about bringing more refugees. And I think he is right about Muslims, even though I am not against them. I even met one Muslim friend down at the beach, but I think their religion is a cult. Muslims don’t believe in Jesus or the bible… The only democrat I liked was JFK because he was a good man.”
Drew Zimmerman, labourer for a natural gas company
Drew Zimmerman, 27, works for a natural gas company in central Arkansas. He’s a registered voter but says he will not cast a ballot this year.
“I don’t know much about either one, but I know I’m not a big fan of either one. If I was to lean in a direction, I would lean Hillary, because I think Hillary has a lot more time in office, and Trump seems to be just a dangerous – what’s the word I’m looking for – bully… He just seems like a dangerous person. Hillary, she has some skeletons, but I can get over that I guess.”
Gina Bradley, former industrial worker
“I voted for Donald Trump because it’s a man job to begin with because women have no business taking a man job of being the president of the United States, as God intended it to be. Women can do other jobs but not the president of this country. I also heard that Hillary will bring more and more refugees into this country, and I disagree with that. Regarding Trump statements about women and other minorities, I forgive him for that because he would be a better president for this country, and all the negative things will just go away. Although I used to be a Democrat a long time ago because the Democrats stood for helping the poor and social justice, but I am not Republican, my husband converted me.”
Jose Andino, 23, voted for third party candidate Jill Stein of the Green Party.
“It’s not right that people feel like they have to choose the lesser of two evils. America needs more parties and more political diversity. The two-party system is deeply flawed. No one is as excited about this election as people were back when Barack Obama ran for the first time in 2007.”
Nancy Stockdale, history professor
Nancy Stockdale, 45, is a history professor, from Denton, Texas.
“I voted for Hillary. I was a Bernie Sanders supporter in the primaries, but there was no question in my mind that I would support Hillary if she won the Democratic nomination. Although I have trouble with elements of her foreign policy, as well as her ties to Wall Street, I support most of her platform, and I deeply appreciate her long life of service. Also, there is just no way I could stand by and let Trump get the presidency. He operates in fascist, violent rhetoric, has zero political experience, and is a crass embarrassment. Hillary is ultra-qualified for the presidency and I’m with her.”
Melinda Maney, mother of three
“In principle, I don’t care for either one of the candidates, they both are not good choices. That said, I like Trump despite the negative things he said. But as a life-long Republican, I voted for him because I wanted the Republicans to win. As far his statements against minorities and American Muslims, I disagree with him on that, and I am not against any refugees, blacks, Latinos or Muslims, but I don’t think we should bring any more refugees into this country, and I am against illegal immigrants as well. As for Trump statements against women, I think it’s just guy talk, most men talk that way, so I did not hold it against him. As for Hillary Clinton, I just don’t like her because she and the Democrats are pro-abortion, which is something my husband and I, who is also a Republican, care deeply about. But what’s more dangerous about Clinton is that she will start WWIII, which my husband had heard about from work.”
Rodrick Henderson and Erin Savitsky
“We did not vote because we don’t believe either one of the candidates. Trump is all about himself and not about the American people. As he said Hillary is about making herself and her husband rich,” said Henderson.
“I did not even vote for Barack Obama because I never believed him either. The only president I liked was George HW Bush. Hillary should not be a president because she already had her chance when her husband was president. Therefore I think her presidency, if she wins it, will be a third Clinton term.”
“Hilary should not be a president because she is a woman and women are too hormonal. Her hormones might affect her job performance,” said Savitsky.
For the first time in her 60 years, Cherl O’Connor will not be voting in a presidential election.
“I’m not happy with either [Trump or Clinton],” the Franklin, Massachusetts resident said. “I am not voting for Hillary, because I don’t think she’s telling the truth… And Trump is just too scary. I’m worried what he might do to our country… He’s just off the handle. You can’t be president of the United States and be off the handle.”
Regardless of who is elected, O’Connor said she and other like-minded individuals are “prepping” for the future.
“People are putting cash away, instead of in the banks. People are buying ammunition and their handguns and putting those things away. A lot of my friends, people my age, are very worried about what’s going to happen in the next four to eight years.”