As primaries conclude, US voters eye general election
By Associated Press | June 7, 2016, 12:48 EST
Voters in six states cast ballots in presidential primary contests Tuesday, but many were clearly looking ahead to the fall general election.
Voters in Democratic and Republican primaries told The Associated Press they have long been weighing and comparing candidates of both parties with an eye toward who would make the best general election candidate in November.
Hillary Clinton reached the 2,383 delegates needed to become the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee on the eve of Tuesday’s voting, according to an Associated Press tally. Her total is comprised of pledged delegates won in primaries and caucuses, as well as superdelegates — the party officials and officeholders who can back a candidate of their choosing.
On the Republican side, Donald Trump has had the nomination locked up for weeks.
Tuesday’s elections in New Jersey, California, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota featured a contest between Clinton, the former secretary of state, and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is urging superdelegates to drop their support for Clinton before the convention in Philadelphia, arguing he is a stronger candidate to take on Trump.
In Closter, New Jersey, an upscale suburb across the Hudson River from Manhattan, Izabela Biel voted for Donald Trump, saying his success as a businessman symbolizes the American dream for her. Biel came to the U.S. from Poland about 25 years ago, and she offered that even though he isn’t the perfect candidate, she prefers him to the Democratic candidates who “want to make everybody equal.”
“I grew up in communism,” said Biel, 46. “I’ve lived it, and I absolutely know that it’s proven that it doesn’t work. You can’t make everybody equal; that just doesn’t exist in the real world.”
Biel said she voted for Trump even though she is an immigrant and a woman, and he has been criticized for some of his statements about those groups.
“Hillary — no way,” she said. “She’s a woman, but the reason I never voted before in the primaries is that I don’t want a woman running our country.”
Lou Dilkes, a retired heavy machinery operator from Lyndhurst, New Jersey, voted for Hillary Clinton because of her experience in, and knowledge of, Washington. He said that makes her better suited to tackle the issues important to him: security, jobs and education.
“She’s experienced, she’s been in Washington for years and she knows best,” said Dilkes, 72.
Dilkes said he doesn’t consider Clinton’s status as a Beltway insider a negative because politicians “all have to do things they’re not supposed to do, at times.”
He said he feared a Donald Trump presidency
“I’m afraid of Trump,” he said. “He’s dangerous. He could be a dangerous man for this country.”
Bernie Sanders “is good, but he’s too old. That’s the bottom line,” Dilkes said.
Sanders is 74; Clinton is 68.
Near the Jersey shore, Nicholas Serito, a college student and restaurant worker, cast his vote for Bernie Sanders.
The Toms River resident said he didn’t feel that Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump were trustworthy enough to hold the nation’s top office, saying they were “politicians who should not be president.”
Serito said there were many issues he considered in making his decision, including the economy and the role that big banks and large corporations play.
“I feel they have too much power and need to be broken up,” he said. “They’re just too big and strong.”
When asked if he could support Trump or Clinton if they face off in the presidential race or if he would look at a potential third-party candidate, Serito said that’s something he hasn’t decided yet.
“It would be a moral decision, and I’m not comfortable at this point with (Trump or Clinton).”