February 15, 2016

Do Voters Share Their Candidates’ Opinion Of Washington?

They may use different words, but every candidate in this year’s presidential election has the same opinion of Washington, D.C. And –surprise!– it’s not a positive one. In everything from TV spots to tweets, Republican and Democrat candidates have all said in one way or another that Washington is corrupt and needs to be changed to ensure the future of the country. Here’s a little taste:




Do everyday Americans share these beliefs? Kojo Nnamdi Show intern Billy Koch traveled to New Hampshire for the state’s primary and asked voters what they thought of the nation’s capital.

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 2.40.41 PM

Justin Muth

Which candidate are you supporting in the 2016 election?
Ted Cruz
Many candidates in this election are trying to change the culture in Washington. What do you think that culture is and why does it exist?
The culture in Washington is a disconnect between the voters and Washington D.C. and that’s what Ted Cruz wants to bring. He wants to bring it back down to the state level so we can manage our own governments on the state level.
What about your candidate disrupts that culture?
He supports term limits, but most importantly he likes amendments one through nine, but number 10 really hammers it home. We return all the powers to the states. Rather than have Washington D.C. manage the schools you can actually can go to your school board meeting and affect change at the school board level.
Is D.C. an accurate representation of the country as a whole?
Absolutely not. The six richest counties are around D.C., so absolutely not.

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 2.41.13 PMJosh Shaine

Which candidate are you supporting in the 2016 election?
Hillary Clinton
What is the culture in Washington?
I think there’s a bunch of different aspects to the culture. I think that part of it is people who mean to do well. I think part of it is people who mean to have power. I think part of it is people who have an agenda and are a little bit tunnel-visioned. I don’t know if any of those are going to be changed by any of these people.
How will your candidate change the culture in Washington?
I don’t think she’ll be able to disrupt the culture nor do I think that’s her goal. I think her goal is to work with the culture that is there, to the best of her ability to make the changes that we need, as quickly as possible, while recognizing that you can’t get it done all at once and you can’t do it while trampling other people.
Is Washington an accurate representation of the country?
I think Washington is an accurate representation of the people from around the country if they were in those scenarios. That is to say: yes there are many more millionaires running our government, from the congressional perspective, than in other places but I don’t think the people are substantially different than our state legislature were they ever in such a position. If you look at the work of Zimbardo or the Milgram, you see that this is people and not just politicians.

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 2.41.43 PMFormer Ohio State Rep. Dave Johnson

Which candidate are you supporting in the 2016 election?
John Kasich
Many candidates are trying to change the culture in Washington. What do you think that culture is and why does it exist?
I think the culture in Washington is one of absolute runaway spending, reckless regulations, a ruinous agenda for America’s economy. We’ve got 93 million Americans out of work today; the lowest labor participation rate in 40 years. They keep saying unemployment is 5 percent, but it’s probably closer to 20 percent. We’ve got debt that’s close to $20 trillion that’s a ticking time bomb that’s going to blow up in the face of every American in this country. I think the health care plan has been an abysmal disaster and they’re going to end up ruining the greatest health care system in the world.
What about your candidate is going to disrupt this culture?
Kasich is a reformer. He came to Ohio and inherited an $8 billion deficit and turned it into a 2 billion surplus, he cut income tax, he eliminated the estate tax, he reformed workers compensation system and rebated back to Ohio’s premium payers on the order of 3 billion dollars. It is the largest reform of workers comp in the country. He’s a reformer. I think John Kasich is what we need in Washington.
Is Washington an accurate representation of the country? Why or Why Not?
I don’t think it is an accurate representation. Frankly, sometimes I think Washington represents Wall Street and Main Street is hurting. I own an 100-year-old family ceramic tile company and my biggest obstacle is the United States Federal Government.

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 2.42.07 PMStacey Cadman

Which candidate are you supporting in the 2016 election?
John Kasich
What do you think is the culture of Washington D.C.?
I think that culture is divisive. Our parties are fighting against each other and nothing’s getting done the way that it should be, it’s not good. I think my candidate, John Kasich, could really bring us together.
What will your candidate do to change this culture?
John Kasich has a plan he’s not afraid to go against his party. he’ll do what needs to be done in order to get the best outcome. I think that is what America needs right now. People in D.C. are focused so much on what their party wants them to do and that’s not how John Kasich operates.
Is Washington D.C. an accurate representation of the country?
Absolutely not. I really don’t think that they are. I have a strong feeling that a lot of them are out there focusing more on themselves and what they can do to win that next election and I think John Kasich is going to bring it all back together and take us back to the next level.

Ryan Miner

Which candidate are you supporting in the 2016 election?
I’m candidate shopping, our candidate dropped out Wednesday morning. We’re all Rand Paul supporters, still are. We supported his old man, Ron. But we know who we don’t want to support and that is Marco Rubio, who is a total disaster.
Many candidates are trying to change the culture in Washington. What do you think is the culture is and why does it exist?
I’m concerned about the constitution, I’m concerned about candidates that support my constitutional rights and our civil liberties –not just the first amendment, not just the ninth amendment, but all of the Bill of Rights. The culture of Washington is cutting backroom deals. The culture of Washington is saying you’re against amnesty and then cutting a deal in the Gang of Eight and then trying to come out back on the stage with a canned answer claiming that you doesn’t support amnesty. It’s telling people what you truly mean and standing by your principles. When Marco Rubio was running in Florida in 2010 he was a different person. Why is that Washington seemingly always changes people? That’s the kind of stuff that we want to stop.
What was Rand Paul going to do to change the culture?
Rand Paul was the only candidate talking about criminal justice reform. He was the only candidate that was talking about auditing the Fed. He was the only candidate who defended our constitutional rights on the Senate floor for 13 and a half hours and said that you cannot spy or drone an American citizen without a warrant, and also go get one. That’s why I believe Rand Paul would have been the best candidate that’s why he would have offered something fundamentally different.
Is Washington an accurate representation of the country?
Absolutely not. We’re not inside the Beltway but we’re on 270, and that’s close enough. And no, Washington D.C. is nothing like it. Washington culture is a little bubble located in the swamp of the Potomac River that has absolutely no representation, it is not indicative of any attitude I’ve seen elsewhere… The culture does not represent the people of New Hampshire, the culture doesn’t even represent half the people who live in Maryland.

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 2.42.44 PMPat Flannery

Which candidate are you supporting in the 2016 election?
Chris Christie
Many candidates are trying to change the culture in Washington. What is that culture?
It’s a culture that lacks compromise and lacks getting things done, and that’s the difference about Chris Christie, he will get things done
How will your candidate change this culture?
He knows the issues so he knows the points he wants to push, he’s willing to compromise, he’s willing to work with other people and he’s also got a congenial manner that he gets along with people
Do you think Washington, D.C. is an accurate representation of country as a whole?
I guess not, they’re about posturing and making themselves look good rather than accomplishing things for us.

Susan O’Connor

Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 2.47.14 PMWhich candidate are you supporting in the 2016 election?
Hillary Clinton
Many candidates are trying to change the culture in Washington. What is that culture?
I think there’s some progressive things happening and there’s some gridlock happening.
How will your candidate change this culture?
I think Hillary is trying to work within the existing culture, being realistic, and trying to affect the most change while realizing the limitations that exist.
Do you think Washington, D.C. is an accurate representation of country as a whole?
I think in some ways because you have people there that the country has voted for, but in some ways you have people that have been elected repeatedly and they have taken on the so-called Washington gridlock culture.

All photos by Billy Koch

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