How could Democrats be undecided at this point in the presidential race?
That was my editor’s question. He didn’t get it.
My theory was Obama nostalgia. (#Obamastalgia?) Settle on Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton, I said, and you’ve acknowledged the end of Obama is nigh.
But that wasn’t it. At KUOW’s Uncaucus event last week, 10 identified themselves as undecided. They all had the same line, more or less:
“My values line up more with Bernie than Hillary,” Kellie Kinzel, 27, said. “But Hillary would be a more strategic vote.”
Kinzel had a “U” sticker on her lapel – for undecided.
“Hillary has the chops to make things happen,” Kinzel continued. “It’s not going to be a socialist paradise if Bernie is elected. I think Hillary understands how governance happens – in little steps.”
Would she vote for Obama again?
“I don’t know,” she said. So much for #Obamastalgia.
Monal Shah, a 29-year-old engineer at Boeing, said he was leaning toward Hillary. He, too, used the word strategic.
How boring, I said. Who wants to be the strategic candidate?
“It’s something she’s going to have to overcome in the general,” Shah said. Next to Shah, Andrea Hidalgo said she initially supported Clinton because she was a woman.
“I thought, ‘It’s about time we had a woman president,’” Hidalgo, 32, said. “But women wanted to be treated the same. So voting for a woman because she’s a woman negates what I believe in.”
More KUOW: Who’s That Neighbor In The Box House?
Mike Dodds, 43, a biotech consultant, said Democrats would be “further alienating red America” with a Sanders nomination.
“If Bernie got in with a Congress controlled by the Dems, then yeah,” Dodds said. “The question is, do we keep our foot on the gas and go Bernie, or let our foot off the gas? Bernie is Obama on steroids.”
I asked Dodds about #Obamastalgia. Nope. But he worried that Clinton carries too much baggage.
“Even after eight years in the White House, Obama has less baggage than Hillary after less than four years as secretary of state,” Dodds said.
Monica McCary, who works at a child care center on Capitol Hill, recently moved from Washington, D.C. She shied away from politics in D.C. because it was all anyone discussed.
“Hillary is strong,” McCary said. “She knows what it takes. And being a woman – that’s a big deal. But I wonder if I like her because she’s female. I don’t have an answer.”
But she said that Sanders’ support of African-Americans has moved her. She described herself as a white, middle-class woman who had worked with African-American children. She believes he’s being genuine.
“He breaks the mold in a way, even though he’s a white man,” she said.
McCary added that she doesn’t think Donald Trump, on track to becoming the Republican nominee, is such a bad choice.
“He’s just in a time of social media – he has diarrhea of the mouth,” she said. “Of all those presidents from back in the day, you’re going to tell me that none of those guys had the same problem? I don’t think so.”
Democrats can find information about the location of their precinct caucus at the state party website.