With one son backing Hillary Clinton and another supporting Donald Trump, Nula Dalagiannis was in a no-win situation at the polls Tuesday at Amherst Steele High School.
Dalagiannis said she voted for Clinton because she believes Trump — who in February re-tweeted and praised a quote by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini — is a potential dictator. “He gives me chills when he starts talking,” she said.
A 68-year-old part-time hairdresser, she knows firsthand about dictatorships. She spent the first 17 years of her life in Greece and left just two years before a U.S.-backed military junta overthrew the democratically-elected government in 1967. Democracy was not restored until 1974.
“He brings me back bad memories,” Dalagiannis said. “There’s something about this guy that give me nightmares.”
However, Trump had his supporters at the polling stations we visited in Amherst and Wellington. Darcie Parsons, a 34-year-old Amherst resident and stay-at-home mother, said she voted for Trump because of his anti-abortion, pro-gun policies.
Parsons opposes Clinton’s call for overturning a 2005 law that protects gun manufacturers from liability in deaths from their products. As a U.S. senator from New York, Clinton voted against the law that Wayne LaPierre, National Rifle Association chief executive, called “historic legislation.”
Parsons said gun manufacturers aren’t responsible for gun deaths. “People are responsible for their own actions,” she said.
At the Wellington Fraternal Order of Eagles Post 2051, Bill Jungerberg said he was a lifelong Democrat who twice voted for Barack Obama for president. But this time around, the 66-year-old retired factory worker said he voted for Trump.
Jungerberg praised Trump for promising to abolish Obamacare, officially known as the Affordable Care Act. He said he’s grateful to have Medicare but believes Obamacare — which has helped some 20 million uninsured Americans get health care — only helps jobless people get covered. Obamacare was primarily designed to cover unemployed people or those who don’t get coverage through their employer.
Jungerberg said he wasn’t bothered by Trump being caught on tape bragging about grabbing women by their vaginas. Allegations by about 15 women that he groped or made unwanted advances on them are unproven, he said.
He’s frequently heard remarks similar to Trump’s at bars and in the workplace. “Men have nasty minds some times but I don’t think they always mean what they say,” Jungerberg said.
“You can say it’s locker room talk all you want, but I’ve been in sports professions in locker rooms and we don’t talk about sexually assaulting women,” countered Eric Harrison, a 47-year-old accountant and supply planner from Wellington. “I have two daughters and that really hit home with me.”
Harrison said Trump has no grasp of domestic or foreign policy and relies on simplistic slogans such as promising to “bomb the s—t out of ISIS.”
Clinton was cleared in the Whitewater real estate probe in the 1990s and the FBI found no criminal wrongdoing in her handling of State Department emails on a private server while secretary of state. Nevertheless, Sharon Fuller, a 52-year-old Lorain County health worker and Wellington resident, said Clinton is a “criminal” who can’t be trusted.
Clinton was supported by several Oberlin College students who voted for her at Phillips Gym.
Seyquan Mack, an 18-year-old freshman and music major from Boston, said Clinton will continue Obama’s policies. “If she does follow in his steps, the U.S. will be in a good spot,” he said, adding that he was repulsed by Trump’s claim that most Mexicans here illegally were drug dealers or rapists.
Megan Van Breemen, a 20-year-old junior and environmental studies major from the Chicago area, said she likes Clinton’s plan to reduce climate change by switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Trump has called climate change a “hoax” promoted by the Chinese to gain an economic advantage over the U.S.
Van Breemen said Trump’s presidential debate remarks about “clean coal” were unfeasible. She was alarmed by his call for rolling back federal Environmental Protection Agency regulations on coal-fired power plants implemented under Obama.
“Trump has no idea,” Van Breemen said. “He is believing in myths.”
Evan Goodenow can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @GoodenowNews on Twitter.