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September 20, 2017

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Contradictions among Democratic voters

A recent public opinion poll suggests that more than eighty percent of Americans believe the United States has gone in the wrong direction during the Bush years. If true, you would think Americans are not just hungry for change, but starving for it. Now take a look at other recent opinion polls which suggest a close race between either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton and John McCain, and consider the schizophrenia in the Democrats' voting patterns. Clinton won by a landslide in two of the most recent primaries, West Virginia and Kentucky, while at the same time Obama won North Carolina and Oregon by a margin greater than fifteen percent.

Polls and voting patterns have been quirky this year, but what seems to emerge from the mix of serious issues, silliness, and confusion is that Americans really do want change, but many are far from certain whether to go for it. They are frightened by the choice offered. Otherwise you would be seeing a consistent Obama romp in both primaries and polls.

This is not happening because surveys show more than 20 percent of white working class voters admitting that race is a factor in their vote, and they shun Obama by large margins. That Hillary and Bill Clinton have done their best to emasculate Obama is another factor. Their attack politics have kept her in the race more than anything positive she has contributed to the debate, even though polls suggest that a majority believe her attacks are unfair.

All things considered, one very plausible conclusion from these polls is that Americans will vote for the candidate with whom they feel most comfortable sharing a few beers. Pundits say that is why George W. Bush is President, and Hillary's new image as the candidate with testicular fortitude who swigs whiskey with factory workers certainly helped her win in rust belt states and Appalachia.

All the above worries a lot of voters, according to my unscientific survey of fellow writers and high school classmates. Some of their concerns are paraphrased below:

From Vermont: I was raised a nice Republican girl, but once I left town, my brain engaged. It would be good to have a woman president, finally, yet I have grave misgivings about Hillary's judgment. This remark was written before Hillary cited candidate Robert Kennedy's assassination in 1968 in her efforts to justify her continued candidacy; some critics alluded to a barely concealed desire to see Obama removed from the contest, no matter what it takes.

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