Several excursions through Southwestern Virginia in recent days, highlighted with discussions with residents of various regions, show a troubled, angry region when the talk turns to the 2016 Presidential race.
Clearly, signs displaying “Trump-Pence” outnumber “Clinton-Kane ” in front yards but the overall number of promotions of candidates on either side of this year’s troubled race appear diminished from previous campaign years.
In most Presidential campaign years, one finds many more signs, not only in front yards but along roads and streets, in the final month of the campaign.
With half of October gone, most yards display no preference for the person who will occupy the White House and serve as the purported “leader of the free world” for the next four years.
Perhaps the empty yards and sign-less roads display more of a dislike of either candidate and a “what’s the use” attitude.
“I don’t care for Donald Trump but I will vote for him because I can’t stand Clinton,” said a farmer alongside of field near Hiwasse Saturday afternoon.
A rare “Clinton-Kaine” placard appeared along Little River Dam road, along with only five “Trump-Pence” signs.
“Don’t care for either one of ’em,” said a lady at a cemetery on the road.
In a discussion over coffee and donuts in Roanoke, most said they don’t care how many women Trump may or may not have groped because a vote for him could keep Clinton out of the Presidency.
“He’s a crook but she’s a known liar whose actions cost lives,” said one man. “He’s the only choice.”
I tried to explain to them that current polls show Clinton with a clear lead, one that is so strong that Trump pulled out most of this campaign staff over the weekend and sent most to North Carolina, where the race is closer.
“Perhaps,” another said, “but my vote could help her elsewhere.”
Not really. In America’s electoral college system, voters cast their ballot at the state level and those votes count only towards decision of the electoral ballots cast after the election. A win by either in Virginia means 13 electoral votes for Clinton or Trump. A vote in the Commonwealth has no standing in any other state or in the count overall.
Al Gore beat George W. Bush in the national overall vote count in 1980 but Bush won the election in the electoral college.
National polls this year show Clinton leading Trump by 4 to six points in total votes but her leads in key “battleground” states that yield the deciding electoral votes is larger.
Trump should beat Clinton in Southwestern Virginia but it won’t mean a thing because if Clinton wins in the more populous Northern Virginia and Tidewater precincts she will win the state and all of Virginia’s 13 electoral votes will to for her.
“That’s wrong,” said a motorcyclist just outside of McDonalds Saturday. “My vote should be more important than that.”
Discussions reveal anger that has split families, cost friendships and led to violent arguments this year. A divorce in Carroll County cites a Clinton-Trump disagreement as the primary factor for ending several years of marriage with kids.
Polls show a hardening of base support for both Clinton and Trump, although Trump’s base has slipped some after a videotape surfaced of him bragging about chasing a married woman and being successful with star struck when when he “grabs their pussy.”
Daily releases of hacked emails of the Clinton campaign, orchestrated by the Russians and used by Trump, raise questions about tactics, beliefs and the sexual history of former President Bill Clinton.
Some political watchers feel the third and last Presidential debate Wednesday may help those who are wavering make up their minds for the decision they must make on November 8.
It’s our choice and let’s hope that the vote we cast is based on rational conclusions, not hyperbole, and reasoned thinking, not anger.