Voter Anxieties Heightened Even Before Results Came In

Tiffany Pennamon @tiffanypennamon

Washington Heights residents wait in line to vote at P.S. 153 Adam Clayton Powell School in the late hours of Election Day.
Washington Heights residents waited in line to vote at P.S. 153 Adam Clayton Powell School at 6:15 p.m. on Election Day. (The Ink/Tiffany Pennamon)

On the afternoon of Election Day, as tourists and New Yorkers strolled through Times Square, one man could be overhead speaking into his cell phone saying, “It’s the end of the world today.”

After a divisive and seemingly endless campaign, Election Day couldn’t come soon enough for many New Yorkers. But even into the last hours before polls closed, many voters were not enthusiastic about either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.

“Frankly, I think both are not appropriate for president,” Rene Hebert said outside Times Square. “Trump says wild things, but the Republican viewpoint is more preferable than the Liberal viewpoint. I want a halt to the increasing liberalism. What’s going to build a country? People getting jobs and supporting themselves.”

Sam Williams, who works for Go New York Tours, was for Clinton, mostly. “Hillary is honestly the lesser of two evils,” he said. “Racial tensions existed before, but Trump brought it to light.”

Many of the voters interviewed in Times Square were for Donald Trump, although they expressed reservations about him.

“I’m not thrilled with Trump, but he’s a businessman,” Robert Delano said. “My biggest fear is that things will stay the same. Hillary’s not going to beef up the military and we will have no safety.”

Alex Flipse, a cashier at Duane Reade, said, “I think that Hillary is actually trying to start a war with Russia, and she’s on record saying that.” Flipse said he feared World War III if Clinton won.

Some Trump voters echoed the complaint that Clinton cannot be trusted. “Hillary Clinton is a liar,” said Tyler Rutledge.

In Harlem and Washington Heights, African-American and Hispanic neighborhoods that typically vote for Democrats, some residents said that supporting Clinton is crucial. They are concerned about the backing Trump has received from the Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups.

“The option of having Mr. Trump as president is not best for my needs,” Teresa Jackson said while sitting outside of the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building. “He doesn’t embrace all people and I don’t like the way he talks about people of color.”

Jackson, whose husband is from Jamaica, is worried that Trump’s stance on immigration could have negative consequences for her family.  “I fear that people who are immigrants, or those that don’t walk in [Trump’s] status will be shafted,” she said.

Leslie Francis, a fashion designer, said he fears that a Trump win might mean that people won’t be judged by their talents, or “the good you can do for the country.”

Delilah Wright was far more blunt. “He’s a racist, and he can’t handle government business,” she said. “He will reverse the country back to racism, and I would have to leave the country.”

Then there was Frank Jeudy, an MTA worker, who in the late afternoon was still undecided. “We know what we’re getting into with Trump,” he said. Even so, Trump is “just not suitable.”