Interviews with swing-state voters: The retiree who fears a return of the Gilded Age

November 6, 2012

In the lead-up to the election, Wonkblog has been interviewing voters in crucial swing states. Sally Snidow is a 68-year-old retiree from Leesburg, Va. She's a staunch supporter of President Obama, having voted for him in 2008 and again at the polls today. But she hasn't always been a Democrat.

Why have you decided to vote for President Obama again?

I think he is making the right decision to get our country back on track. The criticism that he hasn't gotten anything done -- first of all, he hasn't had an adequate amount of  time. And he has been impeded in his time to get things back on track. We do not need to go back to the Gilded Age, which is where Republicans would be taking us.

What have you liked about what Obama has done in the last four years, and what do you wish had gone differently? 

I'm very happy about the Affordable Care Act. And I am very happy that he is putting, trying to get things going with our infrastructure in this country. That would be a wonderful way to create jobs. Our infrastructure needs attention. What I wish he would have been a little more active on is environmental issues. But I understand that A) he was thwarted by Republicans and B) he was busy with another thing, the health care act. 

What's your impression of Mitt Romney and the campaign he's run? 

I think these are the people who got us into this mess, the predatory Wall Street people. He would just be more of the same. He's very much out of touch with the middle class — he's just a party-line man, that's all. I think the Tea Party is really going to run things if he gets elected, which is scary. 

Have you been following the election very closely, and have you been involved with the campaigns? 

Very closely. I am a volunteer with the campaign. Yes, I've been working at the hub here in Loudoun County.

What's your impression of the mood where you live?

I think it's split right down the middle. Among the Democrats, we are hopeful; the feeling has been upbeat. But we can't take anything for granted. There are a lot of Republicans out there. I think there are a lot of Republicans who will vote against Obama because of racial issues, that's my feeling.

Where are you getting that impression from, about Republicans? 

That's just kind of my feeling in general. And signs — I've seen some very nasty signs. There's a lot of nastiness on the Republican side. 

Have you been a longtime Democrat? 

I used to be a Republican, years ago. With the coming of Reagan, I've just watched the Republican Party become more and more radical and to the right. I've been voting Democratic for about 16 years. 

How did you see the Republican Party change during the Reagan era and afterwards?

It has just gotten more and more "me"-centered. It's all about me and what I have…there's no sense of "We're all in this together." I'm really feeling like Republicans are headed back to the Gilded Age, with the middle class eradicated and treated as a disposable commodity. I hate to sound like a Communist, because I 'm not a Communist, but I really don't think having an oligarchy is the way we're going to succeed.

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