Biden-Harris Has Central Bucks County Fired Up and Chatty. Trump? Mostly Silence.

Bekah and Nancy Comley stand outside their polling place in Bucks County. (Keystone Photo/Freda Savana)

By Freda Savana

November 3, 2020

Bucks County, with its more than 450,000 registered voters, has long been considered a bellwether in Pennsylvania. Trump lost the county by only 1 percentage point in the 2016 election.

BUCKS COUNTY — As lines of Bucks County voters grew Tuesday morning, stretching across parking lots and winding their way around street corners, some were reluctant to speak to a reporter about who they were voting for or what their concerns were for the country. But others welcomed the opportunity to discuss the historic election that includes the first woman of color on a major party ticket.

Bucks County, with its more than 450,000 registered voters, has long been considered a bellwether in Pennsylvania. Trump lost the county by only 1 percentage point in the 2016 election.

In this election, most of those who spoke to a reporter said they were excited to vote for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris.

Kristine Shields said voting for Biden and Harris was about “common sense.” 

“I voted for Biden because he actually has common-sense plans to deal with the pandemic, the economy and climate change, unlike his opponent, who has nothing,” Shields said. “I’m done with lies and chaos, and ready for stability and respectability.”

She believes Harris’ “intersectionality (female, African American, East Asian, and a child of immigrants) represents America’s current and future voters. I’m thrilled. Kamala represents progress.”

Nancy Comley shared Shields’ enthusiasm for having Harris as vice president. “I have such respect for her. It’s really, really about time. She’s extremely qualified.”

Comley’s 21-year-old daughter, Bekah, said she also respects Harris as a politician.

But, Bekah Comley said, “at first I was worried she was being used as a token.”

This year was Bekah Comley’s first time voting in a presidential election. She said her top concerns were protecting rights for LGBTQ+ communities, climate change, and international relations.

The Biden-Harris ticket brought out new voters—young and old(er).

John Pendergast, 57, voted in his first election Tuesday, said his daughter, Carly Pendergast. He voted for the Biden-Harris ticket.

“I think my mom and I influenced him to register and vote through our conversations on politics at the dinner table,” said Carly Pendergast, 24.

“Elections used to be about taxes and money, but it’s not now,” she said. “It’s more about compassion and social issues. I remember growing up and you were never supposed to talk about politics, but it’s not like that now.”’

Topping her concerns this year, Carly Pendergast said, are healthcare and the representation of oppressed communities.

Sean McCarthy stands outside his polling place in Bucks County on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. (Keystone Photo/Freda Savana)

Sean McCarthy shared Carly Pendergast’s concerns.

Though, he said, “Climate change, for me, is the biggest thing.”

The 22-year-old said he was happy to be voting for a ticket that included Harris. “I’m excited for it. I would have voted for her in the primary if she hadn’t dropped out.”

Ehren Shorday stands outside his polling place in Bucks County on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. (Keystone Photo/Freda Savana)

Ehren Shorday, 38, said being able to vote for Harris was both important and encouraging. “I feel great about it. It’s about time.”

Still, he noted, the fact of having a female candidate who is also African American and East Asian shouldn’t even be a point of discussion. “It shouldn’t be anything unusual,” he said, as he waited to cast his ballot in Buckingham Township.

And even though Biden “doesn’t totally reflect my values and issues,” Shorday said, the former vice president is the kind of politician the country needs right now—”not a freaking TV producer.”

And ending Donald Trump’s presidency far outweighs any concerns Shorday might have with Biden.

“I just want Donald Trump out of office,” he said.

Not so, for Chris Coloracci. “I’m voting for Trump because of everything he’s done for the economy and the way he stood up for everything I believe in,” she said.

“I don’t care if he’s not perfect; I just care about results,” said Coloracci.

Bill and MaryKay Wunsch agreed.

“We’re Trump supporters and always have been,” said Bill Wunsch. “The fact that he’s never been a politician—but a businessman—is what the country needs, and it’s helped in foreign relations, too.”

Asked if he had concerns about how the president has managed the novel coronavirus pandemic, Bill Wunsch said no.

“President Trump has done what’s necessary to help us understand the severity of it.”

Others, such as Karen Greenhaus, see Trump’s presidency in a dramatically different way. 

She expressed fear for the country.

“As someone who travels to other countries (in a non-COVID world) I have seen the respect for our country disappear. It’s actually embarrassing to admit I’m from the United States, since our current president has ruined so many relationships with long-time allies and is a laughing stock to the rest of the world,” she wrote in an email.

Greenhaus said she’s “excited” to have Harris on the ticket. “I think our country needs a strong woman to temper the male-dominated leadership decisions. A woman’s voice and perspective is something we haven’t really had at ‘the top.’”

Rebecca Cooper said she voted for Biden because she believes he will “reestablish our valuable relationships.”

Cooper said she was a lifelong Republican until 2020, but “the values that I grew up believing have slowly been eroding in the Republican Party. I voted for Biden because his values align with mine.”

Kamala Harris, Cooper said, “was very impressive” during the impeachment hearings, showing her determination and strength.

“She embodies the new American woman—determined, accomplished and seeing logical solutions for America,” Cooper said.

“It does not matter to me the color of the skin of a president or vice president—but it might really matter to people of color. For girls of color to experience being American with Kamala Harris as vice president can only be a good experience, offering inspiration and hope for their future.”

Harris is “going to break the glass ceiling, in more than one place. It will shatter,” said voter Marlene Foss.

Danielle Pollack said she had similar feelings about the Biden-Harris ticket.

Despite some concerns, Pollack said, “Biden and Harris’s broader policies align with my hopes as an American citizen raising a female child in this era. Furthermore, I find abhorrent the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant children from their families as a brutal attempt to curb immigration, leaving thousands of children suffering and in many cases orphaned as a result.”

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