BUCKEYE, Arizona — The pundits, politicians and political analysts have made clear what they think of post-election transition the country is enduring, but what do typical Americans think?
To find out, we traveled to Buckeye, Arizona to meet with up with a group of retirees who actively watch the political process, but are far from any polished pundit. They are diverse and consist of new voters who voted Donald Trump for the first time as well as former Republicans who switched to Joe Biden this election.
“I think if we don’t discuss it, we can never heal,” Rosanna Gallagher, a Biden supporter, said as she hosted a socially distanced conversation on her back porch.
Marty Paulson and Chris Halsey are two Trump supporters not afraid to share their thoughts.
“I accept that Joe Biden will be president,” Paulson said disappointingly.
Halsey is more reluctant.
“Not until he concedes is the election over,” Halsey insisted to the group.
“That doesn’t mean squat,” Richard Westermann, a Biden voter, said in response.
One thing you learn quickly when observing this group is their opinions are based on what they read.
“I read everything I can,” Gallagher said.
Gallagher, like the other Biden supporters here, trusts traditional news outlets like CNN, ABC, CBS or NBC.
Paulson and Halsey feel differently.
“You believe your source,” Paulson said.
Paulson and Halsey tend to watch sources beyond the traditional channels on your cable provider.
“I stopped watching Fox News 6-8 months ago,” Paulson said, commenting on the fact he doesn’t believe it's are conservative enough.
Paulson and Halsey acknowledged they find themselves watching OANN, a far-right cable channel with the support of Trump, more often.
Because the group has different sources, they obviously have different views of the world.
“COVID is big on my mind,” Westermann said, commenting on what President-elect Biden needs to do first.
Paulson and Halsey suggested how they differ.
“If I get COVID, I would want to take hydroxychloroquine,” Halsey said about the treatment that the FDA stopped allowing doctors to prescribe outside of a clinical setting.
“Do you believe in COVID?,” Gallagher asked Paulson sarcastically.
“You going to shut down the entire economy for this,” Paulson said in response.
“Nobody is saying that, this has never happened before,” Westermann said to Paulson, who he golfs with on a regular basis.
TRANSITION AND ADVICE
“I feel there is turmoil,” Gallagher said when asked about the current presidential transition.
“We haven’t had peace all year,” Halsey said in response.
“I don’t think there is turmoil going on,” Paulson said.
But can Biden win over voters like Halsey and Paulson?
“Is there anything he can do? Stop all this hatefulness,” Halsey said.
The problem? The only area this group agrees is that the divisions are here to stay.
“I don’t think the divisions are going to away one way or another,” Paulson said.
“It’s never going to be solved, never,” Westermann said in agreement.
One takeaway is this group never yelled or stormed out of the backyard upset. Everyone listened to each other, respectfully, and perhaps that’s the biggest lesson this country needs today.
“I think it’s good to get someone else’s opinion, just don’t make it personal,” Westermann said.