Bowling Green residents speak out ahead of election

William Kirby, 71, is a veteran of the Vietnam War who also lives with memories of the segregated South and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Before he deployed to East Asia in 1963, he had witness a lynching in his town in Alabama and the abuse of peaceful protestors in Montgomery. “I just can’t support Trump because I think he’s a racist and a sexist,” says Kirby. He has also disagrees with Trump’s rhetoric towards military service members and veterans. Hillary Clinton has his support this year.

Gabriel Scarlett

This photo story reflects various viewpoints of voters in the Bowling Green area and some of their thoughts on the upcoming election on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

This story is by no means a scientific or comprehensive survey of the voting populous in Bowling Green. Rather, it stands to show unprecedented trends and feelings of excitement and disappointment seen clearly in this presidential race. With national polls reflecting a tight race, the 4 percent of voters who are still undecided according to Rasmussen Reports could surprise either side when votes are tallied.

The driver’s side door swings open on Michael Dennis’ rusted, blue Ford Ranger, and he steps out. Still sweating from a full day’s work, he smokes a cigarette before heading home. As a construction worker helping to build the new Ogden College Hall, Dennis fits into a key American voter demographic: the blue-collar worker.

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Both the Democratic and Republican candidates have campaigned to these voters, trying to promise them the opportunity of more manual labor jobs.

“Our roads, our bridges, our tunnels, our ports, our airports, our water systems, our sewer systems; they are in desperate need of being either repaired and maintained or built,” democratic candidate Hillary Clinton said while campaigning in Florida. “We’re going to put America to work building the infrastructure we need for the 21st century.”

Dennis’ intended vote will go to the GOP candidate Donald Trump who has also reached out to the blue collar vote. “I love blue collar workers,” Trump once said while campaigning in Ambridge, Pennsylvania. “I consider myself in a certain way to be a blue collar worker.”

Just a block away from the construction site, William Kirby, a veteran of the Vietnam War, and a witness to the Civil Rights Movement, relaxes in his bedroom.

“I just can’t support Trump because I think he’s a racist and a sexist,” Kirby said. Trump’s comments on women and toward military members and their families have disturbed him, he said. Kirby instead supports Clinton because he believes she cares more about “black people.”

On some levels, this election has proved to be divisive, with some voters planning to cast their vote “against” one candidate rather than for the other. However, Bowling Green citizen Melissa Zeisler does not entirely fit this model.

Trump has swept her away “ever since he first announced he was running,” she said. Since then, Zeisler has spent hundreds of dollars outfitting her lawn and home with Trump campaign merchandise.

“I don’t even know where this [excitement] came from … He’s literally changed my life,” Zeisler explained. “He’s made me a better person. It’s been incredible.”

Trump emerged as a candidate voicing long-held beliefs of Zeisler. Contrasting Zeisler’s election fever are Carolyn Caplinger and Sadie Saylor-Reiss.

Caplinger, a registered Republican and resident of Bowling Green, feels abandoned by her party this year due to its choice of candidate. She is disgusted by allegations of sexual assault leveled against Trump, but does not feel that she can trust Clinton enough to change her vote. Caplinger does not plan to vote in this election.

Saylor-Reiss, a registered Democrat of Louisville, feels let down by the Democratic party and wishes she could vote for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Despite being an active feminist and advocate against sexual assault, Saylor-Reiss explained she “would rather vote for an old white man that I agree with, than a woman just for the sake of her being a woman.” Nevertheless, she plans to vote for Hillary Clinton.

While these Bowling Green citizens reflect some of the voter demographics in the area, there are a number of other citizens with various opinions of the presidential race. More photo stories can be found on wkuherald.com as the Herald updates this story.