It’s decision day in the United States. Americans are hitting the polls Tuesday to decide whether they want four more years of Republican President Donald Trump, or if they’d prefer to see him replaced by his Democratic challenger, former vice-president Joe Biden.
While the contest has dominated headlines south of the border for months, many Winnipeg expats living in the States are also engaged in the vote and its outcome.
Jason Merrick, who spent 18 years in Winnipeg before eventually ending up in Boca Raton, Fla., told 680 CJOB he has “mild anxiety” about U.S. election day, but he’s glad Nov. 3 is finally here.
Merrick said he still keeps in touch with many Canadian friends, and they inevitably have the same question for him when it comes to American politics.
U.S. election day — Here’s where to watch and how it may unfold
“The biggest question that they’re really asking is, ‘Why would somebody vote for Trump?’ I got those questions, too, back in 2016… People can’t seem to wrap their heads on why somebody would vote for a guy like Donald Trump,” he said.
“I have a vast mix of friends down here and I would probably say a good majority of them voted for Trump — probably just based on Republican policies, taxes and the way the government’s run. Canadians don’t seem to connect with that, and the reality is I see both points of view.
“When somebody comes and tells me Donald Trump is not a moralistic person… narcissistic sociopath, whatever you want to call it, I can’t disagree with those comments — but at the end of the day, I voted for who I think is going to carry the country forward in the best manner.”
Twitter, Facebook flag Trump’s suggestion mail-in ballot extension will ‘induce violence’
Ontario reports new single-day record of 1,050 coronavirus cases, 14 more deaths
Merrick said he and his wife voted in advance by mail, but to ensure their votes arrived on time, he physically dropped off the ballots himself, rather than trusting the U.S. Postal Service.
Canadians might prefer Biden over Trump, but it’s far from unanimous
Rick Bolin, who grew up in St. James but now lives in Winter Park, Colo., said there are definitely concerns in the U.S. about the potential for civil unrest, regardless of the election’s outcome.
“I think that in all of the big cities across the States, there’s a general feeling like tonight will be a very rough night,” Bolin told 680 CJOB.
“It’s a tough situation. We’re polarized as a nation like never before.
“I think if you’re sitting in Canada and you’re looking down on the States today, you might ask yourself, how did this happen? How is it the United States looks more like Germany in 1933 or 1937 than it looks like the shining city on the hill that Ronald Reagan encouraged us to become?”
U.S. election results — Live, real-time election results as America votes
Bolin said he doesn’t feel that the current U.S. president, Trump, created the situation of unrest, but that he has exploited it and is leveraging it in an attempt to get re-elected.
Trump, he said, came into office on the back of general frustration among Americans that people in government — on both sides of the aisle — weren’t doing their jobs, but that no one expected him to ramp up his attacks not only on other politicians, but on long-standing U.S. institutions as well.
“When he turned it up another notch and started to undermine the norms that we rely on… there are norms of decency, respect, civility and faith that exist outside of politics,” he said.
“It’s left us in a really precarious position. How do you maintain legal equality, political freedom and the rule of law — the foundations of democracy — if you’re not willing to be decent or respectful or civil?”
U.S. Election Day and Canadian trade relations
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.