An interview with three people who voted for Hillary Clinton

When I first came up with the idea to interview people who had voted for Hillary Clinton in the last election I admit to wanting to hear from people who voted her because they legitimately like her as a person and not because Bernie Sanders lost the primary. While I don't agree with every response to the questions I asked I respect the people I interviewed for taking the time to share their thoughts and opinions with me and the people who read this.

1. Why did you vote for Hillary Clinton and not Donald Trump?

Sarah: I voted for Hillary Clinton in the November Election for a multitude of reasons, and they all relate to the way Donald Trump and his supporters treat people. Their behavior suggested that he did not support the majority of Americans and the ones they didn't support were going to suffer. 

Elizabeth Roderick: Mostly because Trump is a terrifying racist misogynist who ran on wanting to deport Latinx and Muslim people, support big business and the rich at the expense of the poor and middle class, and take away the health insurance that I personally (as well as many others I know) rely on for survival. But I like Clinton’s ideas about changing health care for the mentally ill. I like her environmental and educational ideals.

Theo Taylor: I supported Bernie Sanders. I voted for him in the primary in my state, that he summarily won. When the final candidates were Hilary and Trump, I asked myself as a white, mid-20's college educated male: "Neither of these candidates will really effect me personally. Which of them will more positively effect poor and disenfranchised people?" So I voted for Hillary.

2. How did you feel seeing Hillary Clinton constantly being maligned by Donald Trump and the media during her campaign?

Sarah: It frustrated me that many Americans simply believed what was being said about Hillary Clinton without a thought to whether it was even remotely true or not. This made the election particularly emotionally driven, rather than driven by facts.

Elizabeth Roderick: It was infuriating. Not only that people believed it, but because the Democrats didn’t seem to hit back hard enough.

Theo Taylor: I personally believe that we live in a society where negativity is more heavily emphasized than positivism. People latched onto Donald Trump's message. This may have been the first election cycle where I paid attention to the majority of what was being presented, but I feel as though Mitt Romney's message against Barack Obama wasn't as negative as Trump's was against Hillary. 

3. Do you feel that Russia and James Comey played any part in why Hillary Clinton lost the election?

Sarah: I do believe that the fact that Comey released his information about Clinton's emails just the week before the election. I do also believe that falsehood disseminated by individuals from Russia did influence voters' opinions.

Elizabeth Roderick: I said a few weeks before the election that all Trump would need was one more scandal and he’d win, which is exactly what happened. And if the Russians hadn’t hacked the DNCs emails it would have been a lot harder for Trump to win, too.

Theo Taylor: Absolutely. Russia interfered with the election of the United States, and James Comey inadvertently kicked up a dust storm days before the election.

4. How did you feel when it was announced that Donald Trump won the election?

Sarah: I felt scared. Scared for my future personally, and for the futures of everyone in the country. I was also worried about the international repercussions and possible effects.

Elizabeth Roderick: This is sort of a long story…I was away from home for the election (we vote by mail where I live). I was meeting the movers to pack up my house back in CA – my then-husband and I were in the midst of a divorce. The night before the election, I was given roofies by an acquaintance. I escaped harm, due to the grace of God and my partner Phoenix, but on election day I was still whacked out, physically and emotionally. I went to bed early on November 8, and woke up to look at my phone, just in time to see him win Ohio and Florida. I have mental health issues, and I went into a little mini psychosis I guess. I thought I was dreaming, or that I’d slipped into a dimension where I was being punished and tested. People of my country had voted in a man who glorified sexual assault, which seemed to connect too well with what had just happened to me.

I’m medicated, so my brain pulled out of it pretty well in that regard, but I was absolutely furious for a long time, that so many people – even liberals – thought it was no big deal this guy was elected, really. Even if they didn’t like him, it wasn’t likely to affect their lives in any big way. But I was homeless and really mentally unstable before I got on expanded Medicaid. My daughter and I depend on it. His election could be life or death for me, and I know it’s the same for so many others.

It made me realize how truly wide the privilege gap was, and I knew it was even wider for others.

I’m still furious, but now a lot of my fury is directed at the liberals who are turning against their own and spending all this time and effort bitching about intellectual issues with little to no practical value in the lives of people like me. I’m fighting against that anger, because I don’t want to further widen the rift in the left. But it seems to me this is more a battle of the truly underprivileged against the privileged, more than the right versus the left. It’s the same way it’s always been.

Theo Taylor: Initially, it felt abysmal. In the six months since however, it's more interesting to understand that Donald Trump is largely marred by his own incompetence. I also feel that this has woken up a liberal base that was starting to fall asleep.


5. Do you think Hillary Clinton should have done anything differently during her campaign?

Sarah: I think that Hillary (and the whole democratic party) should have taken the rural 'fly-over' areas more seriously during the election. Part of the reason she lost was that she (and the whole democratic party) grossly underestimated what 1000 people here and 1000 people there, clustered in isolated rural America could do.

Elizabeth Roderick: Not conspired with the DNC against Bernie. I don’t think she was a horrible candidate, though I wasn’t a fan when she was running against Obama.

Theo Taylor: Yes. She attempted to pander to young voters--with the "hot sauce in her purse," and the dab. Hillary Clinton's entire life was literally a run up to this election. Barack Obama wasn't wrong: She was probably the most qualified person for the office of the President of the United States of America in our history, but the problem is that she isn't--to me--genuine. Hillary Clinton didn't stay with Bill Clinton after the Lewinsky scandal because she loved Bill, but because it was a prudent political move.

Hillary's largest problem was Donald Trump's strength: unlikeability. Nobody liked either of these candidates. Donald Trump embraced it. He said: "Yeah, I'm an asshole, but I'll get stuff done." (He won't). She resisted it. "People think I'm not likeable. Well, I am--and here's why." (She's not).
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