Andrew Smith (57), a Republican from Columbus, OH, grew up in Maine where he was raised Conservative, “because that’s pretty much all we had up there.” He is a long-time Republican who can’t stand Trump, and he voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. When he married Lavea Brachman, a Democrat, who is also being interviewed for this project, he went to work in his in-laws’ paint and resin business in Columbus. He is now CEO.
We are providing the unfiltered opinions of voters interviewed for this project. Those views are based on their understanding and perception of facts and information from a range of sources. In some cases, that information may be misleading or incorrect.
Are truthfulness and honesty key qualities for you in deciding which presidential candidate to support?
Yes, although all politicians to some extent dissemble and choose facts selectively.
Did the impeachment hearings change your views about whether or not the president should be impeached?
Not really. The hearings were entirely boring and, from what I have gathered, a rather one-sided series of grandstanding media spins that illustrate the absolutely worst traits of our political actors. At the end of the day, an impeachable offense is whatever the Congress says it is. If you do not have a truly bi-partisan consensus that the acts the president freely admits he committed warrant removal from office, then impeachment is the wrong course of action. And I see no such consensus, rather just the opposite.
Do the impeachment proceedings hurt or improve Trump’s chances for re-election?
They hurt Trump’s re-election prospects because the hearings will discredit Trump among voters who might otherwise be persuaded to support him or not support whoever the Democratic candidate will be.
Do you think it’s possible for Democrats and Republicans to ever agree on the facts around the president’s actions?
No. The facts have been pretty clear since the transcript was released. It’s not a dispute about the facts, even if people want to make it sound that way.
Which Democratic candidate(s) do you think will give Trump the best chance for re-election?
Limiting myself to the top candidates, it’s a toss-up between Mayor Pete and Bernie Sanders. I think Mayor Pete will inspire a lot of young people and maybe even get some moderates. But despite his obvious intelligence and great debating skills, I don’t think he’ll bring out the African American vote needed to win. Sanders is an old white man who will only inspire a limited group of voters and whose muscular socialism will scare off too many people. Warren would have a better shot because she would tone down her wild ideas in the general election and appeal to many constituencies.