Checking In With Our (Mostly) Boomer Parents on Election Day

Illustration for article titled Checking In With Our (Mostly) Boomer Parents on Election Day
Image: Steve Eason/Hulton Archive (Getty Images)

Here we are, another election year, but this time, everything is bad in a different, more fundamental way than it was four years prior. We at Jezebel did not spring from the earth fully formed, attached to a keyboard—we have parents, some of whom were nice enough to endure their children’s questioning about what tonight might hold.


Susanne Osberg, 67, “Just Say I’m a Musician Because Musicians Never Fucking Retire” in Massachusetts

I voted straight Democrat, even down to the dogcatcher. That’s a euphemism, I doubt there was a dogcatcher on the ballot. Several choices I didn’t know who they were, but if they were Democrat I voted for them. Do you wanna know why? Okay, well, I think the Republicans have descended into total chaos and evil. There’s no other word for it, they’re evil. They’ve succumbed to Trump as their emperor, they packed the Supreme Court with conservative justices, they passed Trump’s tax bill, and then hid it from everyone. They did it specifically for 2021 so they could say they cut people’s taxes, but those taxes will go up, except for the billionaires. That’s one of about 50,000 reasons. I mean, there’s also Mitch McConnell, who is the devil himself. It wasn’t a hard choice for me.

Bizarrely enough I think Biden is the right choice for the Democratic Party at this time. I think the fact that he is a known quantity and relatively moderate is a good thing to get him elected. Even though I’d vastly prefer Elizabeth Warren, she would have had a lot harder time beating Trump. Maybe I’m a Pollyanna, but I think it’s possible Biden might end up being a decent, good, if not great president. He’s willing to listen to the left, he does have a lot of climate change policy in place, and he could potentially be a sleeper, I’m hoping. He could also be, you know, milquetoast, but I somehow sense in him that he may be growing into the moment.

I consider myself a feminist, and for me, the fact that Biden was willing to choose a woman of color as his running mate is big, although I know it should have happened decades before. Look, it’s a start. My largest concern is Roe v. Wade and I think people are going to have to push their states to put in new laws. There are women in Alabama who will have absolutely no recourse because they have no money, no assets, nothing, to get to Connecticut or even Virginia to get an abortion. And file that under fucking Mitch McConnell too.

I wanted to talk about my experience, with my friends in Kentucky, you know, where I grew up. I have always considered myself a socially adept person. I’m always trying to see things from all vantage points before saying anything, but I have found myself completely unable to keep my mouth shut. And that’s after decades of keeping my mouth shut. I hope I haven’t lost friends, but I may have. I can no longer look at Facebook posts about the Trump caravans, and pictures of trucks with Trump flags, and have people say this is great, this is wonderful. Well, fuck you. This isn’t great. This isn’t wonderful. It’s fucking stupid.

David Reynolds, 73, Consultant (Who Refused to Say “Father to the Best Daughter on the Eastern Seaboard” As His Occupation) in New York

I voted on Tuesday for Biden on the Working Families line. We went to vote on Monday but there was a long line we came back on Tuesday and so there was about an hour’s line in a small town of about 7,000 people. The line was quiet. It was all very peaceful. We caravanned for Biden on Sunday. A friend of mine was saying that she had been out with a group of people in Rhinebeck in the center of town, protesting, and that there was some sort of altercation with Trump supporters. I don’t know any of the details, but apparently, it was a little scary.


I’m a little afraid, anxious. We have a very volatile President. He was on Fox News today saying “it’s not over until it’s over,” and “we don’t have a victor until we have a victor,” and I don’t really know what that means. If Biden does not win in some sort of overwhelming way, my concern is that Trump could cause enough problems that the election either will end up being thrown to the House of Representatives, which means that the Republicans win, or it gets thrown to the Supreme Court, which likely also means—although we don’t know—that the Republicans win. In any case, just the sense that the integrity of the whole political process has been challenged in really significant ways.

Biden strikes me as a simply fundamentally decent person who has an amazing capacity for empathy. Do I necessarily agree with all of his policies? Probably not. Do I think that he is honest and will try to work across the aisle? Yeah. Kamala was a D.A, it strikes me that she’s probably a mix—more liberal than he on a number of things and does have that prosecutor background, which served her really well when asking questions in the Senate. She strikes me as somebody who doesn’t take any crap from anybody. I do know that some people have reservations about her but if she gets in, she’s very likely to be the successor, because you know, Biden, will be 81 at the end. I guess he’s in good health.


I will probably watch the returns on MSNBC and be very anxious the entire evening. I think they are sort of cautiously optimistic but with enough doubts to be still anxious about what actually might happen. I would watch something else if there were more intelligent commentary, but there isn’t. The same people that comment on NPR are also on MSNBC. They’ve had Stephen Cohen, for example, who was a Russia specialist, who had a very different view of Russia than anybody else. They used to have Joan Walsh on. There’s a range of people with different views. They give more space to Timothy Snyder who teaches at Yale, who has a very different view from what Cohen had of the Soviet Union, and you don’t get that. There is no easily accessible place to get these other views from the left that are more progressive or more nuanced. Tomorrow, I will either be elated or will be thoroughly depressed and angry—more angry than I was four years ago, because we really know now what sort of person he is. Just listen to Phil Ochs and bemoan liberals.

Francine Solis, 56, Bus Driver for Special Needs Children in New York

I voted for Biden on Tuesday in Fishkill, New York, on the Working Families Party line, like you told me. I told Carly [my sister] to vote Working Families too. I dislike a lot of things Trump stands for. I don’t agree with racism, or catering to the rich. And I believe abortion should be left up to the woman: It’s her body and no one should tell her what to do.

Illustration for article titled Checking In With Our (Mostly) Boomer Parents on Election Day
Screenshot: Marie Solis

Paula Escobedo, 83, Off-Track Betting Worker in Wyoming

I voted three weeks ago for Biden, with an absentee ballot. I am not a Trump supporter and I don’t see that we’re going to be a typical America with Trump another four years. We’re going backwards with Trump; any progress we’ve made, they give him the credit, but it’s the Congress that passes the laws, he doesn’t. The Trump supporters are the people with money, because he’s made them a lot of money, or so I hear. I am afraid if he gets elected again. I’m worried and afraid—for instance, we already know that climate change is not good and it has to do with the oil and coal industry, and all the cars, you know. So he’s encouraging all that, where Biden at least—well, he’s kinda back and forth on it, but, at least he sees where the harm is. All the fracking, which needs to be stopped... It’s just scary. And you know, my future isn’t probably gonna last too much longer, but you and all the young people are gonna have to live through it.


I’m definitely worried about racism with Trump, because I firmly believe he is a racist. The militias have already demonstrated that they’re not afraid to use their guns, or at least show them. But it could sure get violent. I can’t recall anything that has gone on during a presidential election like this—this is the most adverse activity that I’ve seen in a presidential election in my life. Wyoming won’t go blue, though. Not in a million years. Laramie County is blue, but Wyoming—you know, all those macho cowboys. I think it would go blue if the Democratic Party were more open with gun use—I think that’s the big draw. And I heard that the Republican Party is worried because they’re so fractured and worried about what’s going to happen. And I thought, well, they let it happen. The Republican Party is no longer the Republican Party. It’s Trump’s Party.

Jacqueline Newbold-Reese, 68, Retired Nurse, Mediator, Arbitrator, Hearing Officer in California

Obama’s election was the most passionate and exciting, but I think this is the most important one. It’s important to save our democracy.


I’m trying to divert some of my anxiety by building an online store [Jac N Jan] where we encourage people to express themselves through our t-shirts. That’s a big deal. And then, doing Mom Updates on Twitter and in the meantime.


I’m too into MSNBC and CNN, especially MSNBC. It’s on 24/7. At least the diversion with the t-shirt thing get’s in the way of that.

If I had to predict the election results from what I’m seeing, I think Joe is gonna win. But there’s still that healthy paranoia about 2016. You don’t allow yourself to say it out loud. I do think it’s different than 2016, though. We were not looking so much at the battleground states. Joe has a 10 point national lead right now, and Hillary at this point only had a four-point lead. And if you really look at the battleground states, there were only one or two points between Hillary and Trump. [The news] didn’t really talk about that!


Even though I feel like Trump’s collusion with the Russians was real, I don’t think it really affected the vote. I think it affected how she was perceived more than anything. It made people stay home or think the lesser of the evils was Trump.

I don’t think people really looked at how close [the polling] was. It was, like, super close. And with Biden? I don’t know, I feel like he has more paths to victory. But, you know, it’s just that paranoia where you’re like, “Okay, it’s lookin’ good, but I’m not not going to really predict anything.”


I’m hopeful, but... I don’t know.

If there’s violence, it’s going to be from Trump supporters. Even here in L.A... police are on alert. And the bad thing about it is that he has two and a half more months in the White House. Even if Biden wins, Trump is still president during this lame duck period. Can you imagine? You know he’s gonna do some mess. He’s gonna fire everybody. Hhe already said he’s going to fire Fauci. I think he was going to do that whether he won or lost. He’s probably going to fire the FBI Director, too. He’ll probably try to hire someone who can arrest Biden, Hillary, and Obama! And if Barr won’t let it happen, he’ll fire him too! He’s going to do something crazy if he loses. It’s gonna be all-out crazy for the whole two months. And you’re going to know it too, because he broadcasts everything.


Bouncing Betty

Wow, all y’all’s boomer parents voted Biden? My trump supporting boomer mom is pissed off because I told her she’s a hypocrite for demanding everyone be kind to her “no matter who she voted for” while also voting for and supporting one of the vilest men to have ever ran for the office.