We thought there might be “yuuuge” lines today outside James Madison High School, the polling site where presidential candidate Bernie Sanders would have voted had he not fled his hometown for Vermont. However, much to the disappointment of media teams camped out beside the ballot box, voters trickled into the school this morning — a slow start to one of the most game-changing presidential primaries to hit New York in decades.
There is a lot at stake. Sanders is hoping a New York victory will keep his insurgent candidacy afloat as the race enters its final leg. Meanwhile, former New York Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who leads in the opinion polls, is banking that her adopted state will solidify her coronation at the Democratic Convention.
On the Republican ticket, the GOP’s bombastic frontrunner Donald Trump is expected to win his home state by a landslide. While his opponents, Ted Cruz and John Kasich, are hoping to peel away delegates in order to force a contested convention this summer.
Even though the early turnout was slow (perhaps voters are planning to hit the polls after work?), we spoke with some Midwood residents leaving the ballot box and asked how they felt voting at one of the candidates’ alma mater (Sanders attended James Madison High School), which is only a few blocks from his boyhood home at East 26th Street and Kings Highway. We found a lot of political viewpoints and there was a supporter for every candidate (the Trump voter and Kasich voter didn’t want their picture taken). However, the overwhelming majority of people we spoke with were behind Clinton — citing her experience, economic plan, and position on Israel as reasons why she earned their vote.
Check out what they had to say:
Arlene Boiangiu, voted for Hillary Clinton
I hate and despise everything that Bernie Sanders represents. He is not pro-Israel. He is a communist. I think he will ruin healthcare even more than Obama has.
I’m not such a big Hillary Clinton fan. I’m voting more to stop Sanders than to elect Hillary. Though I’m a registered Democrat, I’m actually a Republican. But if it came between Trump and Clinton, I’d be all the way for Clinton.
I don’t really like any of [the Republican candidates]. But I think Cruz is the best of a bad lot.
Michael Levinton, voted for Bernie Sanders
I like the message that he’s bringing. I like his brand of social democracy. I think we have to even things out between the people at the top and the people who are struggling in the middle and at the bottom like I am.
It doesn’t hurt that Bernie is from the neighborhood, but I wouldn’t just vote for him because he is a local guy. I don’t care if he grew up in Missouri. I like him because he is the right candidate.
Michael Manopla, voted for Hillary Clinton
It’s so tempting to vote for the Jewish guy from Brooklyn. But his views don’t exactly align with what I think would be the right moves in Israel. The Israel issue was probably the deal-breaker for me. Hillary is overall more pro-Israel. Also, I think she would probably be better in terms of taxes and I think she’s stronger in foreign policy and better for the middle class.
Richard Reggi, voted for Hillary Clinton
I live in the building [Bernie Sanders] grew up in. He did a rally right in front of my building and I was at the Prospect Park rally. But I just feel this is Hillary’s time.I think she would make a good president. And I think we should give her the benefit of the doubt for being the first female president.
I think she might be able to bring something different to the office: a new vision, a different view, and a definite change.
Leon Forte, voted for Bernie Sanders
I believe the young people of this country don’t have a chance the way things are going. Old farts like us, we’ve done it. Now it’s their turn. And they don’t have a shot like we did.
When I was a child and I worked for minimum wage, there was no such thing as an adult that worked for minimum wage. That was for kids. That was potato chip and ring ding money. And today, how can anybody live on a minimum wage? Give a five dollar minimum wage to children, not to adults.
Marlene Bucalo, voted for Ted Cruz
I feel he is the most principled of the lot. I am a capitalist. I believe in this republic. I think he has been playing a very smart game. He knew where the delegates were. He knew how to get them. He’s not a whiner. How many other reasons?
He doesn’t bloviate like Mr. Trump. And I can’t believe that Trump is going to win this.
Blanca Lombardo, voted for Hillary Clinton
She is different than Trump. She is for the middle class, she is for the poor people, for black people, immigrants, she likes everybody. Plus she’s a woman.
And I don’t like Trump because Trump doesn’t know too much about politics. I’m voting for Hillary Clinton because she knows the system, she’s been in politics for a long time, and she knows what she’s doing.