News Analysis: How Voters Chose in 2016


After a brutally negative campaign, the presidential race of 2016 boiled down to which candidate voters would view as the lesser threat to the American people.

Republican  Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton were the most unpopular candidates ever seen in a presidential campaign.

“Clearly with Donald Trump in the race, it’s totally about the negatives,” said 67-year-old Manhattan political consultant and former political reporter Bob Liff. “You pick it, he pissed all over it. He took shots at it. “

Liff saw Trump’s role in the election as polluting, and said Clinton had to confront that.

“He dragged her more than she probably wanted to into that muck,” he said. “But at the same time, if you listen to her, she talks a lot more about a positive vision of the country. “

Many Clinton supporters seemed bittersweet or reluctant about their decision while Trump voters liked his tough, no-holds-barred attitude.

“I voted for Hillary. Honestly I don’t like Hillary neither, but Trump can’t win,” said 27-year-old Jennifer Acevado, a middle school teacher. “If he does I’m moving back to the Dominican Republic.“

“Donald Trump has my vote! He is the best!” said 26-year-old Jessica Peru, a sales associate in Flatbush. “Being nice doesn’t take you anywhere in life. We need someone strict like Donald.”

Office assistant Sasha Peterson, 22, was in the minority of New York City residents who chose the billionaire developer. “I’m voting for Trump. I like the way Trump thinks,” she said.   “Yes, he is strict. However, America needs a strict leader.”

Is Trump’s anti-immigration attitude the kind of strictness that resonates with many Americans? The election raised that question.

Some Clinton voters interviewed yesterday expressed full confidence in her candidacy.

“I am voting for Hillary; Trump cannot win. I won’t allow him to win,” said 22-year-old Richard Stevenson, a full-time college student. “Trump is a businessman; he knows how to run a business. America is not something we can play.”

Other voters are not even buying into both the negatives of Trump and Clinton’s candidacy weighing the same, remaining skeptical towards the possibly of both candidates being as equally bad.

“There’s been an awful a lot of talk of the lesser of two evils and the equality of the negative points of each of these two candidates, making it equal. But I’m not buying it,” “said 68-year-old George Rodman, a professor of media at Brooklyn College.

As the returns came in, Gov. Andrew Cuomo assailed Trump over his anti-immigrant positions.

“You are going to tell us that differences are bad, you’re in New York my friend! You are going to tell us that immigrants are bad; we are all immigrants in New York,” said Cuomo. “Unless you are native American. My friend, you are an immigrant. “

Trump hammered relentlessly on Clinton’s use of a private email server when she was the Secretary of State while Clinton attacked Trump as a misogynist.  The voters judged which one would be the lesser threat.

Photo: Donald Trump. (Greg Skidmore, via Wikimedia Commons).


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