OHIO VOTES! Primary crop brings diverse views to polls

By Evan Goodenow - egoodenow@civitasmedia.com

Voters in our coverage areas sounded off Tuesday after casting ballots in the crucial Ohio presidential primary.

Lynn Chrismer, a 65-year-old Amherst resident and physician, said he voted for Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, who is running as a Democrat. Chrismer said he supports Sanders’ call for a single-payer health care system in which costs are deducted from workers’ paychecks and co-payments and insurance companies are eliminated.

Sanders’ website said a family of four earning $50,000 annually would pay an additional $466 in annual taxes under a single-payer model.

Liberal economists like Paul Krugman say Sanders has exaggerated the savings of a single-payer system. However, BMS Health Services Research, a peer-reviewed medical journal, said single-payer could save about $350 billion annually, nearly 15 percent of annual health care spending.

Chrismer said Obamacare — officially known as the Affordable Care Act — doesn’t go far enough. He said single-payer will will have “tremendous” savings noting Medicare has drastically lower administrative costs than insurance-run health care.

“My views are not the same as most physicians,” he said. “Most of them view all those it affects as hurting their incomes, but I look at it more as what’s best for the majority of people.”

Besides single-payer, Sanders supporter Crystal Cruz said she voted for Sanders because of his call for free tuition to public colleges and universities.

Sanders’ plan would cost $75 billion annually and be paid for through a financial transactions tax on Wall Street companies, according to his website. “A lot of countries do it,” said Cruz, a 26-year-old Amherst resident and pharmacy technician.

While Cruz said Sanders’ platform was superior to Democrat Hillary Clinton’s, Randal Ohly of Oberlin said he liked Clinton’s resume better.

Clinton is a former first lady, U.S. senator from New York, and secretary of state. Ohly, a 64-year-old retired wasterwater treatment superintendent from Ashtabula, said Clinton would be better at dealing with foreign policy issues.

“I like Bernie, but the experience factor when you’re dealing with the world was more of an edge for Hillary for me,” he said.

Clinton’s experience was also why Wayne Mahnke of Wellington chose Clinton over Sanders, who has been critical of Clinton’s Wall Street ties.

Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase were the fourth and fifth biggest donors to Clinton’s senate and presidential campaigns through contributions from individuals and political action committees, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a political watchdog group.

However, Mahnke said some of Sanders’ policies are “farfetched” and he doubts Sanders can rein in Wall Street.

“I just like Hillary better,” said Mahnke, a 66-year-old retiree and former Whirlway Corp., machine operator. “She just presented herself well.”

Experience was important to supporters of Clinton and Gov. John Kasich, a former Ohio congressman. However, supporters of Republican Donald Trump said they were disappointed in career politicians and they like Trump, a real estate tycoon and reality television star who has never held political office.

James Chastain, a 60-year-old Wellington resident, said he resents Republican Party insiders telling Republicans not to vote for Trump. Chastain, a retired munitions handler for the URS Corp, said he’s skeptical of some of Trump’s rhetoric, but likes his outspokeness.

“He’s good at throwing mud, but if he’s not spewing the truth, why is the party all of a sudden ganging up on him?” said Chastain, who voted for President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. “He’s going to search out the people with the most knowledge (for his cabinet).”

Peggy Stachurski, a 59-year-old Wellington resident and homemaker, said Trump isn’t afraid to speak his mind while other politicians are too politically correct.

Starchuski, who said her father emigrated legally from Poland, said she supports Trump”s immigration policy.

Trump has said many Mexican immigrants in the U.S. illegally are drug dealers, rapists, and murderers. He said he’ll deport the approximately 11 million illegal immigrants in America.

“We have laws here that aren’t being followed,” Starchurski said. “Why have laws if you’re not going to follow them?”

Starchurski said Trump’s aggressive posture would help him deal with foreign leaders if elected, but Wellington resident and Kasich supporter Delbert Mohrman disagreed.

Mohrman, 87, a former building maintenance supervisor for NASA Glenn in Cleveland, said he didn’t like the local effect of Kasich’s tax cuts.

Lorain County has lost $48.4 million in state taxpayer aid to local governments between 2010 and 2015 due to tax cuts under Kasich, according to One Ohio Now, a liberal policy group. Nonetheless, Mohrman said he likes Kasich’s experience and willingness to compromise, something he believes Trump lacks.

“He’s too loud-mouthed and too nasty, the way he treats other people,” Mohrman said. “Can you imagine him sitting in a delegate conference with several other presidents? Can you imagine what he would be like?”

Oberlin resident Cathe Radabahugh said she voted for Kasich to keep Trump from getting Ohio delegates and hopes Kasich can win a contested convention.

Radabahugh, who said she voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012, said Kasich was the “least scary” of the Republican candidates.

She said Trump pits people against one another. “He’s going for the lowest common denominator,” said Radabahugh, a 65-year-old information technology worker.

Shawn Clawson, a 45-year-old Oberlin resident and hazardous waste operator, said he feels Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is a better candidate than Trump. Clawson said he doesn’t agree with Cruz’s anti-gay marriage position, but believes he will be be the most fiscally responsible candidate.

While Cruz has clashed with many Senate Republicans, Clawson said he’s more diplomatic than Trump. “We have different countries out there that hate us and we don’t need somebody as aggressive as Trump,” he said.

Cruz supporter and Amherst resident Timothy Kurtz, a 62-year-old retired First Energy Corp. power plant dispatcher, said he admires Cruz’s fiscal and social conservatism.

Standard & Poors, a financial services agency, estimated the 2013 government shutdown Cruz championed cost the nation $24 billion, but Kurtz supported it.

“They should’ve kept it shut down some more and saved some more money,” Kurtz said.

Evan Goodenow can be reached at 440-775-1611 or GoodenowNews on Twitter

By Evan Goodenow