In their own words: US voters explain their election views

·3 min read

In the build-up to Tuesday's US presidential election, AFP correspondents have travelled to dozens of towns and cities far beyond Washington to hear from voters about how they view hot-button issues. 

Here are some of those voters in their own words:

- 'No hope' -

Demon Lane, a 27-year-old Baltimore resident, is among the Black Americans who have given up hope, saying he believes his neighborhood will still be blighted by drug-dealing and neglected by the establishment no matter who wins the election.

"It didn't make a difference with the last three presidents. So it ain't going to make a difference with this next one ... I have no hope. The only thing I have hope in is my own self -- what I can do for my family."

- Trump's a 'rebel' -

Brian Milo, a former GM worker laid off when an Ohio plant shut down, nevertheless says he's sticking with Trump.

"I like a business guy and I like a guy who is strong-willed. America was somewhat founded by people who were rebels... Trump, he's somewhat of a rebel."

He forgives Trump for not meeting his goal of reviving US manufacturing in America's so-called Rust Belt in the Midwest, saying: "I think it was something that he promised that maybe he didn't have the ability to deliver."

- 'As racist as he is' -

Brook Manewal, co-founder of the Suburban Women Against Trump group (the SWAT Team) in Connecticut, responded to Trump claiming that Joe Biden would "destroy your neighborhood and your American Dream" with low-cost housing. 

"I was just appalled by how he was trying to paint this picture of suburban women falling into his camp and being as racist as he is. He paints us as afraid of losing our white picket fences, perfect little houses and perfect yards and I don't think that's the people I have run into at all."

- 'Slip away from us' -

Bill Burke, a 55-year-old history professor who lives on the street where Biden lived until he was 10 years old in Scranton, Pennsylvania, warned not to trust polls.

"No Democrat in America is confident because 2016 took everybody by surprise, even Donald (Trump). Most Democrats are looking at good news, at polling numbers and all of that, your brain is going frantic trying to say: 'Ok, where is it looming? How is it going to slip away from us?'"

- 'Treat people with respect' -

Dan Barker, a 67-year-old retired judge and lifelong Republican who, along with his spouse, founded Arizona Republicans for Biden due to his disagreement with Trump's behavior, based on his Mormon faith.

"We think you should treat people with respect. If the two candidates were the same, I would be voting for the one that opposed elective abortion. But these two candidates are not the same. One of them, from my perspective, will build and strengthen our democracy, whereas the other, I think, if he continues on this path, will have an extremely negative impact on our democracy."

- Attacking 'the bureaucrats' -

Jim and Sue Chilton, ranchers in Arizona, say Trump has lived up to what they hoped he would do when he took office by clearing away red tape.

"For us, on our private land, to do anything we had to get permits ... and the Trump administration has eliminated (such) requirements. I no longer have to get a permit to do anything on my own private land," said Jim Chilton, 81.

- 'A man like that' -

Oscar Walton, a 28-year-old in Wisconsin, said he didn't vote in 2016 because he didn't feel Trump or Hillary Clinton spoke for him. But this time, the social worker and musician will be sure to cast his ballot for Biden -- though not because he is inspired by the 77-year-old.

"I honestly feel that we need to get Trump out of office. The bottom line for me? I mean he's a systemic racist. Point blank period. A man like that has no business... running the country".

bur-mjs/dw