By Jennifer Abbott
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – Middle-age and older voters have mixed feelings about the 2016 presidential election and so are at a standstill on which candidate to choose.
“I’m actually looking forward to this election being over,” said Camden County College Philosophy Professor Jennifer Hoheisel, 54. The Haddon Township resident stated the campaign is becoming more of a “three-ring circus” and the two sides are becoming “more polarized” as time passes.
In a 2016 survey of issue importance by age group, the Pew Research Center found middle-age and older voters’ top issues are the economy, Social Security and immigration.
Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton proposes to cut taxes for the middle class and raise the minimum wage. Republican candidate Donald Trump proposes to reform the tax code and trade policies to make it easier to hire, invest, build, grow, produce and manufacture in America and wants to stop China from taking U.S. jobs.
As to economic policy, Hoheisel said she thought Clinton would be a better candidate. She noted Trump’s proposed tax cut would reduce government programs, which she said would be a “travesty,” and his budget plan is unrealistic because “to reduce taxes means to reduce spending and the money has to come from somewhere.”
Camden County College Political Science Professor Patrick Hughes, 49, said he likes Clinton’s economic policy. “She’s in favor of a large economic stimulus, borrowing money, but using that to enhance the infrastructure of roads and bridges,” the Voorhees resident said.
However, Pellegrino Stellato, 52, an avid Trump support and maintenance worker at Triton High School, stated, “Hillary has been in office almost 30 years and hasn’t done any of what she says she wants to do. What makes you think she will now?”
The Glendora resident said he believes Trump would be more successful because he’s a “smart and successful businessman.”
Trump’s policy on Social Security is “no changes to promised Social Security benefits.” Clinton wants to “enhance and protect Social Security for future generations” by having the wealthiest contribute more.
Hoheisel agreed with Clinton on the issue and added, “If we don’t change Social Security, we will run out of money in Social Security by 2030.”
Stellato did not choose a side on the issue but said, “Taxing more of the wealthy and their businesses is unfair and would force them (businesses) to move overseas, which would hurt the economy. There needs to be a change. They need to stop taking our money out of Social Security and placing it elsewhere.”
Clinton’s immigration policy is to help more eligible people become naturalized citizens, while Trump favors building a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border to keep out immigrants.
Hoheisel said she doesn’t see a problem with allowing immigrants to remain in the country “if they are abiding by U.S. laws. They are doing the jobs no one wants and are paying taxes.”
Stellato said he prefers the wall. “They still are breaking the law. If they still want to work the low-paying jobs, then they can become citizens.”