US Elections, Polls finally open

November 8, 2016
Source: Nana Yaa Ofori-Atta |thebftonline |US
US Elections, Polls finally open

The polls in Virginia opened 59 minutes ago and already, Vice Presidential candidate for the Democrats, Tim Kaine, former Governor of this Blue-ish state has cast his vote.

The taxi driver taking me around is a brother from Somalia.? We have established bona fides - Ghana and West Africa versus Somalia and the Horn of Africa.? Ghana is looking good.

My guide to my first dawn drive through in Virigina migrated 20 plus years ago, is married and now has 3 children.? His last visit to Somalia was in 2012.? He may go back and visit but America is home.? And he is voting for Hilary? Clinton for President.? I asked him why and his response … 'because Trump is racist’.

Clinton looks like she will just about scrape over the edge - polls have her between 6 and 3 points ahead of the curious phenomenon that is known as Donald Trump.? The reality for many like Mo* (*he prefers for his name not to be used) is she is acceptable, safe even and anything is better than the volatile Trump.? "Only uneducated white people and Republicans who are angry at their party will vote Trump."

Hardly a revolutionary perspective and I also consider that I haven’t met a single person since I arrived who admits in public to being a Trump supporter.? Obviously the Trump supporters exist so are they clever, ashamed and or angry?? I have made a mental note to try a different tactic in approaching people for their views.? I must find a proud Trump supporter.? Perhaps if I changed my perfume or where I am hanging out… perhaps not.

So what if Trump wins I ask Mo?? What if enough voters do not hold their noses long enough and plumb for Trump?? What if the millennials (young voters) display the feared apathy?? What if the ‘emerging' Latino vote doesn’t materialise.? What if … Mo has a simple answer "53-47".

America’s Congress has 535 members.? 435 of them in the House of Representatives, 100 of them come from the Senate.? Representatives serve 2 terms and represent a constituency, as it were.? Each state has 2 Senators who serve 6 year terms.? The terms are staged so every 2 years, a third of the Senators are up for election. In this election, all seats in the House are up for grabs, and a tantalising third of the Senate is on offer.

Currently, the Republicans have a majority in the House of Representatives and a majority in the Senate.? Mo’s theory is that if Trump wins and the Democrats are able to snatch a few (3 to to be safe 4 seats) in the Senate then the celebrity who prides himself on the ‘art of the deal’ will find himself a bewildered apprentice in the middle of gridlock.? Politics has a way of blunting the rough edges and aspirations of many.? Mo figures that if Trump wins and heads to the District of Columbia as Commander in Chief this time, the cameras will not turn off when he yells ‘You are Fired."

Mo says he will be voting in the afternoon, close to his home, then he plans to grab lunch and go right back to work to complete his 12 hour shift.? Like many in Virginia he owns his house, pays his bills and has to work hard to keep up.? Local issues such as the 4% meal tax hike proposition on the ballot box will make a difference to his bottom line.

In Virginia, LuAnn Bennet (D) is gunning to unseat Barbara Comstock a first term incumbent Republican to represent the 10th District.? If Bennet wins it will be the first time in 30 years that the Democrats have delivered this critical seat.? Given how wafer thin the chances are, on either side, Bennet and Clinton must pray that Mo stops long enough to actually vote today and that he votes for both of them.