In four months, Americans will be voting for the next president. In partnership with NPR’s “A Nation Engaged” project, Detroit Today is asking listeners, “What does a better life look like for you in your community, and what do you hope the president can do to help?”
Detroit Today producers Laura Weber Davis and Jake Neher visited Eastern Market over the weekend to see how Metro Detroiters would respond to that question.
“I could see an element of distaste on their face for the subject in general… driven by the candidates” when she asked the question, says Weber Davis. She says many people are frustrated with the choice of candidates in this year’s election.
Tiara, 18, says, “I am planning on voting, I have to.” But she is not confident the presumptive nominees will influence the issues that are concerning to her. Tiara has decided to write in Bernie Sanders this November because she says, ”he stands for everything I believe in”.
Neher met with Trevor from Sterling Heights who wants a better opportunity for his children, better roads, better schools, and better infrastructure. But when asked if the president can help and influence that change Trevor says, “I’m not so sure anymore. I tend to be on the Democratic side, but some of those lines are getting blurred”. Weber Davis suggests this election has brought ”a vague sense of hopelessness” to some Americans.
Some citizens also believe the president and the state has little influence on their community. Tom from Northwest Detroit says, “its going to have to be on the local level… quality of life issues in the city is going to have to come from the mayor and city council”. Neher concurs that “local elections that get very low turnout will probably affect you the most.”
On the other hand, issues that have grasped national attention in the presidential race will affect certain communities. Weber spoke with Southwest Detroit resident Tiffany, who is dealing with a national issue that will affect her locally. She says, “I’m not going for Trump, sending my people back to Mexico”.
Neher also speaks of a feeling in America that ”we are divided.” He says current presumptive presidential nominees Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are not figures that have created a sense of unity for the country.
Matt from Detroit says, “the passion Bernie Sanders created was incredible, the passion Obama created in 2008 was incredible.” He says the presumptive nominees have not echoed the public confidence in the executive office to help their community.
Erika, also from Detroit, suggests the president needs to create a feeling of unity in the country. “I think we are divided. I don’t think we should be, because it’s not going to amount to anything. We have to be as a team. If you don’t have a team, you don’t have nothing.”
Click on the audio above to hear the entire conversation.