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Monday, April 19, 2021

What it’s like to be a undecided voter — at midterms

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Elizabeth Shrader, 27, is an undecided voter who works in retail in Frederick, Maryland. “I am certainly pro-life and I do not intend to be pro-choice,” she says. She says she comes from an Evangelical background. Her mother and father are both pastors and still preach in the homes they once provided for their congregation in South Carolina. Her father, she says, knows many Democrats, and his point of view is that, while “Trump is a terrible president, I’m not ready to say the Dems are any better.” After the midterm elections, she plans to vote for Democrats who support a single-payer health insurance system, so that she will have to pay “at least a bit” for it. She’ll also vote for independents running for governor in Florida and Vermont because they are pro-choice.

But she is thinking about voting for Joe Biden, because her view of him and his family was shaped by a visit to his old home state of Delaware during the 2012 campaign. She likes that his wife and daughters were active in supporting his primary run, and she was impressed by his speech there. She also was charmed by Biden, whose story she says was “redemption in the most historic way.” She moved to Maryland from Delaware, and her parents shared stories about Biden’s visit to their house.

I asked her why she was considering Biden as she is considering such other Democrats as Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, Beto O’Rourke of Texas and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. “My religious background means that I’m open to supporting religious leaders. However, I’m also open to religious leaders supporting other religions,” she said. “Biden is a Catholic and Catholics are obviously very open to politicians who share their faith. I would also bring up his upbringing as a Catholic. One of his best friends was the bishop and he attended Mass every day. He lived the life of faith, but for me the most fascinating thing was the parallels between his Catholic upbringing and mine. He had two nuns around him who were playing an active role in his life, and there was certainly no strong moral or theological orthodoxy in his household. We do have a tight network of friends that is almost entirely ethnically Latino. There is something that has to be said for that.”

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