US election: voters in Pennsylvania stand by their men

At polling stations in Philadelphia, Trump and Sanders supporters had plenty to say


US congressman Brendan Boyle is at a school in north Philadelphia handing out flyers for his younger brother Kevin, a member of Pennsylvania House of Representatives who is running for the state’s senate.

“He lives right here in the neighbourhood,” Boyle tells voters in his five-second pitch as they enter the polling station in the suburb of Bustleton.

On Monday, the day before Pennsylvania’s primary elections, Boyle the elder, son of a Donegal-born man, joined the swelling ranks of the super-delegates – elected Democrats and party officials – who will back Hillary Clinton as the presidential nominee at the party’s convention here in Philadelphia in July.

Most Democrats arriving to vote in Boyle’s constituency, Pennsylvania’s 13th congressional district, said they were not voting for Clinton, but for Vermont senator Bernie Sanders. The self-described democratic socialist is staying in the race, despite having virtually no chance of closing Clinton’s lead among delegates.

“My main issue with Hillary Clinton is that she doesn’t seem to care about the communities. Senator Sanders is a little bit more passionate,” said Shatara Lewis (26), a pharmacy analyst living in the north Philadelphia suburb.

If Sanders isn’t the nominee, his supporters would reluctantly back Clinton in the November election because voting for Donald Trump would be unthinkable.

“More than likely,” said Sue Herrman (46), a postal worker. “I admire what she has done but I’m a little worried that she is too much in bed with corporations.”

May 17 Primary Results

“I am not 100 per cent sure on that,” said Bernie fan Ryan Smith (29), a schoolteacher wheeling his four-month-old son, on whether he would support Clinton.

“It would depend on who the Republicans nominate. I would not vote for Donald Trump. He is the opposite of what I care about. I do not align with Hillary Clinton’s issues. She flip-flops on every issue just to support who is standing in front of her.”

Overwhelming support

“I just think he is going to shake things up and that is what needs to be done,” said Bill Gamble (63), a retired gas company worker.

“’We just need a change and I think he is probably the one to do it,” said Trump voter Andrea Ryan (62), a hospital registrar. “He’s brash, loud, obnoxious and yet, in a way, you have to have some of that as president.”

“Enough is enough,” said roofer David Potoma (58) who likes Trump’s plans to build a wall at the Mexican border to stop the flow of illegal immigrants.

“It is sucking us dry. You have to pay for them,” he said.

The results of Pennsylvania’s primary backed up what these voters were saying. Trump won a 35-point victory in the state with 57 per cent of the vote.

Boyle said the billionaire was what most voters were talking about in Bustleton, an area he estimated was 55 to 60 per cent Democrat.

“What dominated the conversation was Trump, either some people who were vocally for him and a lot of people who were vocally against him,” he said.

In his own party, he sees Clinton’s bruising primary with Barack Obama in 2008 – “a nastier race than this has turned out to be” – and her subsequent switching to support him as “a great road map” for Sanders to follow.

“I am very optimistic that they will be able to come together and be united at the convention,” he said.

“I really think that Sanders is running for the right reasons and he believes in what he is talking about so I think and I hope that he is going to concentrate on that rather than the winning and losing.”