Inside an LA polling station (1 of 6)
CALIFORNIA VOTER: I am Shirley [“A-pa-LEH -no”]. I’m a physician.
VOICE OF PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR: Whom did you vote for and why?
CALIFORNIA VOTER: Well, it was a very tough decision up until the point where I actually made my selection. But I did vote for Barack Obama. It was very, very tough.
CALIFORNIA VOTER: Because I’m torn between wanting to see a woman become the commander in chief, which is very, very historical and would set a precedent. But I’m torn between seeing an African-American, who is of mixed heritage that might be able to bring the country together and inspire people. Certainly he inspires me. So that was the clincher. I kind of went with my heart. It was a tough decision.
JAY: Do you think the more rational decision was Clinton?
CALIFORNIA VOTER: Well, I think we need to see a woman commander in chief. I think that a woman would bring a sensibility that we would not have as many military interventions. Even though I think she would be a forceful commander in chief, I think she would be a person who would look for a consensus and try to avoid a rush to military interventions like our present situation.
JAY: Well, you went with Obama first and foremost because he’s African-American?
CALIFORNIA VOTER: Not only that. He’s very articulate. He’s thoughtful. He has the comportment of a person of stature. I look at the way he comports himself during the debates. He’s inspirational. And I think he’s thoughtful, and he will analyze situations. And he will reach across different divides and bring us together.
JAY: The critique has been that he’s been too general. He’s been inspirational, but not specific on policy. Do you think that’s fair?
CALIFORNIA VOTER: I think he’s been general, but I think he’s done that to try to have a broad appeal. But I think he is such an astute, intelligent individual that I think he can be very, very specific. And he seems to have a good cadre of people that will do research for him. And I have confidence in him. I mean, I think that if we could have President Bush, who really didn’t seem to have as much engagement in analyzing the issues, we certainly can have Barack Obama, who has such a high intellect, as far as I’m concerned. I like that in Obama.
JAY: After Katrina the media actually recognized for about three weeks that there’s such a thing as race and class in America. And then, after that three weeks was over, it kind of went back to media and business as usual. But do you think Barack talks enough about the reality of race and class in America? And do you think any of the candidates do?
CALIFORNIA VOTER: Well, I think the candidates are rightfully a little reluctant, ’cause, you know, the third rail in the subway system is the one that will electrocute you. And I think race is the third rail in America. It is such a hot, emotionally laden issue that I think the candidates have to be careful. And I think at this juncture he has to be careful in terms of how much he analyzes the racial situation. He can deal with specific situations as they occur and as they’re brought up to him, but I don’t think he should totally go off in that direction yet. I don’t think it’s the time. I don’t think it’s the time.
JAY: Were there any specific policy diferences that made you choose Obama, for example on health care or some other issues?
CALIFORNIA VOTER: Well, in terms of health care, I was not as impressed with either Hillary’s initial proposal or Barack Obama’s. I think the issue at this point is trying to get the health insurance companies—making them less of the gatekeepers and probably going with a universal payer system. And I think they’re both saying it, but I think Barack Obama is leaving the door open to have some privatized gatekeeper function as well as mandating that everyone has insurance or some sort of coverage. The universal payer, I think Hillary Clinton does go toward that more.
JAY: So you like a plan closer to Edwards or even Kucinich’s plan?
CALIFORNIA VOTER: I think so, yes. Yeah. I think the universal payer, it’s controversial, because the health insurance companies are a very powerful lobby. But if one were to cut them out, the administrative costs, which are about 30 percent or more, as well as the ones where it’s privatized and they have to pay their shareholders, that would be cut out. So, you know, we have to think about universal payer.
JAY: Does it concern you that both Clinton and Obama have not really come out for that?
CALIFORNIA VOTER: It concerns me, but I think we’re looking at a new phenomena, I think, in terms of the youth and the groundswell at the level of the people. And I think the groundswell at the level of the people might also turn the tide, even though both of our candidates are somewhat fence- sitting because it’s a hot issue too. It’s not as hot as race, but it’s pretty hot.
JAY: And you think people really want the government single-payer system, universal payer system.
CALIFORNIA VOTER: I think so. But I also think people can be manipulated to think that a private payer system might bail us out. But I think we’re at maybe 11:59 time-wise before midnight, and I think we’re going to have to make a radical change.
Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.