Election Day is Tuesday and campaigning has reached the usual fevered pitch –especially in close races.
Among eligible voters there’s the usual spectrum of emotion: energy, disgust, hope and disillusionment.
While far from scientific, a bit more than half of those I approached were unable or unwilling to share their thoughts, I nevertheless hit the road Thursday, talking to people in Gridley and Oroville trying to gain insights on their hopes and concerns.
Steve Hepworth of Gridley, who said he never misses an election is still studying the propositions, but he does have a message for candidates.
“I don’t like the acrimonious stuff these days and so I really hope that we can somehow get passed that but I don’t see it coming,” Hepworth said. “I wish they could describe their vision instead of what they hate.”
For Kim Alexander of Gridley, the disillusion is too much. Asked if she’ll cast a ballot this election …
“Absolutely not, I used to… in light of recent events, I think it is just a complete joke anymore,” Alexander said. “They have made it a circus, like it’s ridiculous. I think that our country is going back to racism. We might as well be living in the 50s or 60s, honestly, and I just kind of want no part of that.”
Several who declined to be interviewed mentioned support for Proposition 6, the gas tax repeal, and opposition to Prop 10, allowing rent control. One young man in Oroville who likewise declined to share his name wants the state to change course.
“Everything California’s doing is bad. Letting illegals in. Giving all illegals everything, what are you supposed to do? If you raise minimum wage, all it’s going to do is raise everything else, make everyone more poor. That’s all it’s doing.”
Others, such as independent voter Water Alexander of Gridley were seeking change on the national scale.
“I’d like to see the democrats take the house and senate, but I don’t think it’s feasible…they might get the house. Just need to get Trump under control some way,” Alexander said.
A sentiment shared by Raoul LeClerc of Oroville. Asked what’s motivating him this year…
“Ha. To oust the Republicans, absolutely. The Republicans kowtow to Trump. He’s our mistake and the only way we can get at him is to vote against the Republican ticket," LeClerc said.
Frustration with Washington and politics and politicians isn’t only among Democratic voters.
Richard Copeland of Oroville said he always votes and is looking forward to marking the box for LaMalfa.
“Our government’s stuck. We’re stuck. And nobody’s doing anything but arguing,” Copeland said.
He said there are many issues that concern him.
“Poverty, the homeless, drug addiction, opiates, illegal aliens, our budget, we could just keep going down the list like a toilet roll,” Copeland said.
Kellie Gutierrez also resides in Oroville.
“I just wish people would wake up and realize that we can’t open our borders up and just let any Tom, Dick and Harry into here. Especially since there’s so many people that want to cause American people harm and take away our right to live free, so I am very concerned about that and I am glad that we have a President that seems to be just as concerned,” Gutierrez said.
Frequent voter Marla Vaughn sees things differently.
“The craziness in our country. Just the hatred and that we allow a bully to keep saying the things he does with nobody taking action. That really disturbs me,” Vaughn said. “We would not allow our children to behave that way, why are we allowing anybody else to behave that way and say lies and not call him on it. And people love the lies and they believe they’re true. They don’t go to any other source, than his mouth.”
How the election will shake out is anyone’s guess. While voter impact will be greatest in races for town councils and for county measures, the national spotlight and thus the drama is largely on congress. In the North State, Democrats John Garamendi and Jared Huffman and Republican Doug LaMalfa remain heavy favorites.