'I'm Fearfully Hopeful': Conversations With 14 Women Voters Across the Country

Illustration for article titled Im Fearfully Hopeful: Conversations With 14 Women Voters Across the Country
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As election day looms—inarguably the most important election in modern history—I wanted to know how women voters across the country were feeling. And so I asked them. While 2016 PTSD endures, as does Trump-induced nausea, it looks like for the most part, many of us are hopeful—a welcomed emotion in a bullshit year.

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I reached out to women across this nation and on social media, to get a read on their election thoughts. Those interviews follow and have been edited for length and clarity.


Alex, 18, Pennington, New Jersey, University of Vermont student (currently remote learning)

Illustration for article titled Im Fearfully Hopeful: Conversations With 14 Women Voters Across the Country
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“I feel okay leading up to Election Day. Honestly, there’s just a lot of uncertainty, which is one of the worst parts for me. I think part of me just wants it to be over with while another part is afraid of what could happen. I would say I’m just nervous. Sometimes I feel like ‘Yes! We’ve got this!’ And sometimes I think ‘Oh no, what if we are stuck with Trump for another 4 years?’ So, it really has just been a rollercoaster of emotions.

This is my first time voting in a presidential election (my second time voting at all). I know a lot of people are not pleased with either option, and I can totally sympathize with that feeling. But, for me, this election is about protecting human rights and ensuring that everyone is guaranteed equality, safety, and respect in the next four years. And our commitment to change should not end when we find out who wins in November. The election is a starting point for more action. No matter who ends up winning, it’s important for all of us to continue to advocate for human rights, uplift and support voices of those who have been silenced, and demand action from our elected officials. I also think this election is important because of how involved young people are. In 2016 most of my peers were not able to vote. But now we can and we recognize the importance that our vote holds. Voting will certainly not change everything overnight, but it will send a message and create the groundwork for us to do more.”

Nicole Natalie, 33, Miami Beach, FL, Art Advisor

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“I am feeling anxious, stressed, sad and overwhelmed, but still hopeful because I see a lot of action. I see so many people speaking out and not being complacent. I really feel like my vote and the vote in my community can make a difference, especially being in Florida. I hope for great turnouts and I’m trying to be optimistic and not have apocalyptic nightmares.

This election seems more important than ever, so much is on the line for marginalized communities, immigrants, POC, lgbtq+—not to mention respect and dignity. This year has been excruciatingly tough on our country and we desperately need change because cannot continue the way things are going, we need healing.”

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Whitney, 34, Nashville, TN, Assistant Property Manager

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“How am I feeling going up to election day? Nervous. Nauseous. Sick. Scared. We can’t withstand four more years under Trump. After the 2016 election you can’t be overly confident, or confident at all that Trump won’t get reelected... we somehow failed the last time even though we knew we had it the whole time. The disappointment from the next day has lasted for 4 years now so I can’t let myself get my hopes up. I’m in the mindset of ‘hope for the best but prepare for the worst.’

How do I view the importance of this election? It is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT! We need a president that is going to unite us, not divide us. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris is our only option for unity. It has been nothing but division since day one with Trump, four more years of this man is not an option anymore. Silence is not an option. We have to get out there and vote this time, more now than ever. It is so important to stress to everyone who thinks their vote doesn’t matter... IT DOES! Every single vote counts.”

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Lauryn, 18, Los Angeles, CA, Howard University student (currently remote learning)

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“Leading up to the election I am definitely very nervous to see the outcome. I think [this] election could really go either way and as we saw with the 2016 election, the polls do not mean much. As someone in Gen Z whose first election is this critical, there’s a lot at stake and I hope my peers know and understand that their voice and their vote, even if the candidates were not their first choice, matters! I really would like to see change in all aspects because so many people are suffering at the hands of politicians who claim to care about their constituents but do not.”

Amaiya Branigan, 21, Indianapolis, IN, Indiana University Student

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“I am feeling confident that people will see how presidential influence can affect the climate of our country and then vote wisely. I voted from Hamilton county in Fishers, Indiana this past Wednesday and I feel amazing about it. Being able to exercise a right that was once unobtainable to my ancestors gives me great pride! I believe this election is one of the most important elections of the century. I believe that we have the chance to bring America out of this controversial state that it’s in and resolve lots of age-old issues such as systemic racism, police brutality, gender discrimination, LGBTQ rights, and fixing the disproportionate stats of mass incarceration in this country. If people really want to co-exist and live harmoniously, they will vote accordingly.”

Christina, 51, Camden, ME, Middle School Librarian

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“I’m feeling anxious. I was so hopeful in 2016; the choice seemed so clear and I was proud to vote for our first female president. Misogyny was on the ballot and misogyny won. Every time I see a poll I think ‘yes, but this is what they said in 2016.’ I am very excited about Kamala Harris as a candidate but regret that once again we have two old white guys at the top of the ticket. I don’t think my anxiety will be abated on Election Day, I think this will be a long slog. One thing that gives me hope is all of the get out the vote efforts. I don’t remember seeing this level of person-to-person get out the vote effort in the past. My friends and I all have voting plans. We have all reached out to friends and family and encouraged them to vote. Let’s hope this time love trumps fear.”

Nicole, 41, Dallas, TX, Real Estate Professional

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“I am feeling confident about a Biden/Harris Victory and getting Trump out of office! This election is so important because this country is in such bad shape after four years of not having a leader, and it’s more important than ever to have our voices heard and be the change we need. I am also in Texas, so my vote here is ultra important!”

Ginger Snaps, 38, Austin, TX, Aerialist and burlesque performer, producer, teacher

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“I am feeling nervous but hopeful. I am really scared that the demonic mango will be reelected but also hopeful that will not happen because we are seeing such a surge in early voting and enthusiasm to put morals and rationality back in office. We are at the precipice of a cliff and moments from falling off. Between the climate crisis and insecure politicians hell bent on denying the rights of so many Americans I can’t recall a more important election in my lifetime. I’m so tired of America being the bratty child of the world and hoping this election can be a step towards maturity, removing the metaphorical blinders, and going back to believing science and facts and using them to make responsible policy decisions.”

Naydeline, 22, Bronx, NY, Writer

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“I am feeling a bit anxious going up to election day. Although I am confident about a Biden win, you just never know what will happen. Back in 2016, most people were confident that Hillary would win because no one could ever imagine Trump becoming president, but we all know how that turned out. It was disappointing as that was the first ever election I voted in, and I was so excited for a woman president or literally anyone but Trump!

I’m quite left-leaning, so I am not too excited about either candidate this election term, but I will be settling for Biden because I feel like he can at least restore some sense of justice and balance back into this country. This election is very important because I just can’t imagine things getting worse than this—I don’t want to imagine it—and I am afraid for the state of democracy if a Trump presidency continues. As a daughter of immigrants, the way this administration has treated families at the border has been immensely bothersome for me. I’m not only voting for democracy and press freedom, but I am also voting for my family and every person who has the right to seek asylum in the U.S.”

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Jessica, 28, Riverside, CA, Sign Language Interpreter

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“I feel very nervous about this election. As of writing this, I have already submitted my ballot. I didn’t vote for Trump (obviously) but I’m not at all confident in Biden either. If I’m honest, I have no confidence in this election at all. I feel like the two choices we have as candidates are not for the American people. These men are in positions to make life-changing decisions, and it appears to be a big game to them, a game we are forced to participate in. Their decisions will affect all of us, especially those in marginalized and oppressed communities. I wonder what this country will look like after the election, no matter who wins. I do not trust either of them nor our current political leaders to do the right thing. That’s very unsettling.

Do I feel like this election is important? Yes, absolutely! And I think that’s why I’m so nervous about it. I understand that with covid-19, the nuances and complications of this election will be far greater than any before it. To me, this election will solidify the destiny and legacy of the United States of America. When Obama was president it felt like the U.S. was becoming the beacon of acceptance and tolerance. It felt as if we were becoming one people despite our differences. Was it perfect? Not at all, but it was progress. I feel like regardless of who is president, that progress is gone and our legacy of tolerance and acceptance with it. I find myself asking ‘Where is the hope? Is there any?’ I think if there is, it can be found in future generations. Fingers crossed.”

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Kelli Bloch, 39, West Orange, NJ, Stay-at-home parent

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“After the last election, I am nervous about the complete utter mess this one will be. Voter suppression is already happening, both my husband and were affected. We never got our ballots at the address we were registered at, yet his mom got hers—despite us having received ballots for previous elections there. Luckily we submitted a second ballot request on the last day possible, and have since received them and voted via a ballot drop box (just don’t trust mailing it in).

For myself, there has been a sense of urgency to make my voice heard. Trump has divided our country, not unified it. The way he has handled various topics (detaining immigrants/separating families, climate change, the BLM movement, and covid-19), proves to me he is not fit to run this country. However, I am so hopeful for the future, and the power the younger generation has to truly change this country to be what it stands for: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

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Tina, 50, Southern New Hampshire, Librarian

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“I was taking my 18-year-old son back to college after a weekend home, and we stopped at the town clerk’s office to drop off his absentee ballot. He has been looking forward to voting in this election since 2016, and took it very seriously! When I realized I could get an absentee ballot and return it right then I was kind of relieved. NH does not have early in-person voting, and I was not especially looking forward to voting in person on Election Day.

My town voted for Trump in 2016. There are lots of signs and banners with angry eagles on them, everywhere, and there have been for a while. I hate seeing them. They might as well say ‘I don’t give a shit about you!.’ It’s disheartening and scary to see how many there are. There are a lot of Biden signs, too, but only more recently. Mine was stolen.

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I was going to say that I was feeling cautiously optimistic about the election, but it’s really more like fearfully hopeful. I’m incredibly anxious about it. I was so shocked in 2016, and angry, and then depressed. I cannot imagine another four years of this. Either way, I’m afraid of what’s going to happen after the election results are in. What would have been unthinkable before isn’t anymore. I just hope it’s a clear victory, a decisive win for Biden.”

Lorena, 38, San Antonio, TX, Accounting Manager

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“I am feeling excited for the potential of a new president that can bring this country back together again and not have us divided like Trump has us now.

The importance of this election has to do with morals and values and care for everyone in the United States no matter what color you are, what religion, or how much money you make. We are all human and deserve to be treated the same. Equality.”

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Beth, 46, Oxford, GA, Customer Service Representative

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“I am feeling extremely anxious and scared about the upcoming election. I am terrified Trump is going to win again. I work for an international company, so watching Trump destroy our country’s relationships with other countries has been so hard to watch. It was something I feared would happen before he was even elected and he did not disappoint...

I feel this is the most important election I will probably ever have to vote for in my lifetime. We need a leader who will bring our country back together and mend our international relationships. It will take the next president at least four years just to undo all of the harm Trump has done during his term. Trump has made it socially acceptable to hate again. It just breaks my heart. I live in the middle of Trump country so I see Trump signs everywhere. If you try to have a conversation with a Trump supporter about politics they become combative and verbally abusive. I have had so many experiences like this that I now associate those flags that I see everywhere, on houses and on the back of large trucks, with angry and mean people. I have a true fear that if I put a Biden sign out someone will vandalize my home or my car. It is that bad here. Since all I see around me are Trump signs everywhere, I am very worried he may win again. I have many friends and business associates I speak with daily in all parts of the country that give me hope and tell me it is not like that where they live but it is hard for me to keep my hopes up when I am surrounded by red. All I can do is place my vote and pray pray pray! I am pretty positive Trump will win GA but I am praying these other states will save us.”

No. Senior Writer, Jezebel. My debut book, LARGER THAN LIFE: A History of Boy Bands, is out now.

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DISCUSSION

sassyskeleton
Sassy After Death

how any woman can support that orange bag of shit is beyond me.