In the the wake of a bitterly contested presidential election, President-elect Joe Biden has said he wants to work to narrow the nation’s deep partisan divisions. It is likely to be a formidable task. Voters who supported Biden and Donald Trump say they not only differ over policies, but also have fundamental disagreements over core American values.
There is a sentiment with which large shares of both Biden and Trump voters agree: a feeling that those who supported the other candidate have little or no understanding of people like them.
Here is a sampling of the report.
“I am a Republican and a veteran. I am an American. Just because you don’t like something I do does not mean you can outlaw it because you don’t like it. There is a Constitution. Try reading it for a change.”Man, 50s“I believe that America is a place of freedom, and I believe in the right to life. I believe in equality of opportunity and that every American has the opportunity to work hard and pull themselves up.”-Woman, 20s
“I prepare and take care of myself. I don’t look to the government for handouts. I follow the rules or work to change them. I don’t think luxuries are essential. Deprivation builds character. The family unit is essential to a strong society.”- Man, 70s
“Conservatives love the U.S. and personal liberty. We don’t want big government ruling over us, we want control of our lives.”Man, 50s“I live in a rural area, care about all my neighbors, respect gun rights, believe in non-intrusive government, and want the government to work to help our community and all citizens lives better lives.”-Man, 60s
“It’s about the Earth, science, climate change. We should all have the same desire to prolong Earth’s life, and our goals should align for our children’s future.”-Woman, 60s
“I don’t need to be taken care of by the federal government. Both parties need to take care of the common good and stay out of everything else. I have a very narrow view of what the common good is.”-Man, 60s
“I’m a patriot that believes in our Founding Fathers and the Constitution as it was written.”-Man, 50s
“I am a conservative American who believes in a limited government as conceived and written by our Founding Fathers. I believe in low taxes, personal responsibility, hard work and fairness. I believe in the genius of capitalism and the seductive evils of socialism. I believe that America is the greatest country in the history of the world. Competition is good – may the best man win.”-Man, 60s
“I am very patriotic and feel this country is a special place with a deity-inspired Constitution, which needs to be followed and interpreted as closely as possible. Truth and justice in government is critical and has been slipping too much for the good of you, me, and all citizens.”Man, 70s
“Nothing is free. Everything that you think Biden will make free has to be paid for somehow and is usually done so by raising taxes on those of us who can barely pay our taxes as it is.”Man, 30s
“There are still good, conservative people in the world who want to make a difference and stand up for Christian values and beliefs. People who are against abortion and same-sex marriages. People who are hard-working middle class citizens who are trying to make good choices and do what is right.”Woman, 40s
“Choosing to be kind is not choosing weakness.-”Man, 40s
“We believe in freedom, the power of the individual versus government and traditional value, vehemently opposing ‘cancel culture,’ and in the goodness and greatness of our country.”-Man, 70s
The differences continued with the below observations from following respondents.
“I support the average American and feel strongly that all Americans should have access to reasonably affordable health care. I have worked all my life and raised a family never needing public help, but know everyone is not as fortunate, and I am willing to give others less fortunate the help they need.”-Woman, 80s
“Immigration has made this country stronger, not weaker.”-Man, 40s
“I think the most important thing for all of us is to do all we can to slow and mitigate the impacts of climate change. Our current arguments about health care, the economy, immigration and foreign policy will be pointless in the face of climate change.”Woman, 20s
“We care about the well-being of all people. The right to life rhetoric is ridiculous if it’s really only a right to birth. Right to life should care for the basic needs of all. If you demand a baby be born, you should be prepared to support their needs for food, clothing, shelter, medical care, education, etc.”-Woman, 70s
“We need to care for each other rather than giving that control to the government. A socialist nation would be disastrous.”-Woman, 60s
“I believe every person should take responsibility for one’s self and family and not expect someone else to provide for them. I believe in freedom and do not want the U.S. to go to socialism or worse.”Woman, 80s
“I feel strongly about following the Constitution, not changing it. I don’t feel I have been ‘entitled’ to anything and don’t want a hand out. I work hard and get what I deserve. Life isn’t about free things.”-Man, 60s