Milwaukee area voters hope for unity after years of divisive politics

Posted at 6:53 PM, Nov 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-10 19:53:30-05

MILWAUKEE COUNTY — President Donald Trump is challenging votes in several states although Joe Biden has been declared the presumptive winner by many outlets. It’s symbolic of how divisive politics have become and, in the Milwaukee area, supporters on both sides of the aisle say they’re ready to become indivisible once and for all.

"It’s not unified right now,” Art Nichols, a Trump supporter said. “It’s pretty separated. Water and oil right now.”

“There were a lot of things not done properly,” Fred L. Govain of Milwaukee said. “A lot of chaos that shouldn’t have been. I’m looking for a new day.”

Govain and Nichols fall on either side of the political spectrum. However, they both are hoping people like them can see eye to eye in the political sphere.

"I’m a Republican but we need some unity right now,” Nichols said. “Biden is saying the right stuff, but is he actually going to do it? time will tell. If Biden goes very left-wing, I think he’s going to start separating people again. If he’s more moderate, he’ll build the country together.”

“I don’t get mad at [Republicans],” Govain said. “They choose what they want. I chose and was raised as a Democrat. Just stay vigilant and strong and support our new president.”

Younger generations are hopeful politics will become more unifying.

“I feel like now, we’re going to definitely come together,” Quentin Mundy of Milwaukee said. “I’m not judging nobody. I don’t care who you voted for but I hope we come closer together though.”

President Trump wasn’t the only Republican to lose in Milwaukee. Orlando Owens ran for the 11th Assembly District in Milwaukee. However, he is in an interesting position; he is a Black Republican.

“For me, I’m a Christian conservative,” Owens said. “There are some basic principles of my faith that drew me to one side over the other. But there is a lot to be said about both parties. Neither party has been all that positive for African Americans. There is a lot of work to be done.”

Owens says he finds it interesting that, after elections, the winning side is calling for unification. He wonders where that energy was from the Democratic party over the last four years. However, he says during his campaign, most people he interacted with were supportive of the same platforms he is.

“I’d say, by the way, we’ve been agreeing on a lot of points,” Owens said of his experience on the campaign trail. “They’d say, yeah we have. I kind of like you Orlando. I’d say, well, by the way, I’m a Republican. They’re like, really? And you think the way you do? I say, well, I’m assuming you’re a Democrat and you think the way you do. The question is, are we really that concerned over the title or the issue of the day?”

The views by Owens are seemingly indicative of a trend that the African American vote is not monolithic. Early statistics from AP VoteCast show Donald Trump received eight percent of the African American vote in this year’s election. Sure, it’s a more than 9:1 ratio within the demographic but it’s up two percentage points from the 2016 election where he got six percent of the vote.

Owens believes this is a sign that politicians should stand as the voice of those they represent rather than the voice of the party.

“If you have some weed supporting Republicans, Never Trumpers, some union supporting Republicans or pro-abortion, whatever the case may be, they have to reflect the areas they’re running for,” Owens said. “We can’t put our agenda on the people. It’s a learning experience for a lot of us.”

Owens does identify as a Republican but is a strong believer titles like left or right, red or blue, get in the way of voters being able to select who is truly the best for the job.

"Turn down the rhetoric on both sides and get more to the issues of the day,” Owens said. “I think you’ll see more people open saying, I want to be a solution driven person. That’s all. If it’s Republican idea, great. So be it. if it’s a Democrat idea, who cares. If the idea works, for the good of the people, then it works.”

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