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New Haven Residents React To Biden Win

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Ryan Caron King
/
Connecticut Public Radio
New Haven residents cast their ballots at the Conte-West Hills School polling place in New Haven.

Horns honked across New Haven around noon Saturday, just after Joe Biden was declared the projected winner of the presidency. Cities across the country held impromptu gatherings in the street, but the scene in downtown New Haven was more subdued.

“I don’t necessarily agree with Biden, but I think he’s the better choice,” Ivey Collins said as she hopped out of a car full of friends for a Saturday evening birthday party. 

Darius Smith was one of them. He thanked Donald Trump for his service but said he thinks the country will be a safer place under a Biden administration. And Vice President-elect Kamala Harris seemed like progress to him too.

“Kamala Harris will help him,” Smith said. “Women are definitely making gains in this country, and she’s gonna set the standard for what a powerful woman is for sure. More than Hillary Clinton ever did.”

Collins was most excited by the vice president-elect. “We made history.” She and her friends cheered from the car. “We’re glad that we’re finally going to get representation -- especially as women.” The driver pulled up the anti-Trump song “FDT” by YG, featuring Nipsey Hussle. The vehicle vibrated with the bass, and the riders danced along. 

“Not that I don’t think [Trump] didn’t do well,” Collins said, “but I think that it’s definitely time for someone else to take over. He’s created, like a war in our country. I’m ready for some peace and some love.”

Darnell Ray was waiting for the bus. “Donald Trump had his time, but now it’s time for a new president who’s gonna make a difference,” he said, adding that Americans need a break from the coronavirus and a leader who can get it under control. 

Mary and Victoria Swain found a sunny stoop to smoke their evening cigarettes as a golden sunset lit New Haven. “It’s a historic day,” Mary said. “It won’t make too much of a difference, though,” she said, responding to the news of Harris being the first woman, as well as the first Black and South Asian person elected vice president. “‘Cause after all these years of the racism going on in this country and nothing has ever been done. And if it didn’t make a difference with Obama in the chair, it won’t make a difference with a female vice president.”

Victoria Swain had hope for the change in leadership. “Hopefully, it will be operated under less fear tactics,” Swain said. “When you operate a country under fear and bullying, it’s more [like] terrorism.”

“This will change us, for real,” said Neisha Garrett, who was walking through downtown New Haven with her two daughters. She’s been applying to jobs without much luck and hopes the new president brings more opportunities to New Haven. “This will definitely [bring] change because ... Trump ain’t doing nothing but trying to get power. Why do you want power? And it destroys people, especially single mothers. What did we do to you? Nothing.”

Johnny Riviera expects better from a president. “He is walking around with no mask on. What kind of example is he giving us?” Riviera said. He doesn’t think Trump has been acting presidential. “I’m glad that he’s out of there. Now let’s see what this guy is going to do.”

Ali Oshinskie is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Ali covers the Naugatuck River Valley for Connecticut Public Radio. Email her at aoshinskie@ctpublic.org and follow her on Twitter at @ahleeoh.

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