ITHACA, N.Y. — The city of Ithaca is known for being one of the most liberal cities in the country, but voters at the polls Tuesday proved that there is generally a sharp divide between people voting for Hillary Clinton and those voting for Bernie Sanders.

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The reasons for voting for Clinton all echo a similar theme: She has the experience and record to show that she can get stuff done.

Bernie supporters, in general, said it’s Clinton’s political record they’re concerned with and Sanders’ call for major changes in governance that sways them to vote for him

At the Greater Ithaca Activities Center, Aaron Iverson said, “Initially, I was always impressed with Bernie and I always supported his platform.”

In particular, he agrees with Sanders’ position to ensure all Americans have free universal healthcare, affordable higher education and financial reform.

Iverson said he thinks Sanders will work toward leveling the playing field between the incredibly wealthy and the incredibly poor people in the country.

But he was concerned about whether Sanders could win in a general election. He was eventually swayed toward the vote, though, because he said the Republican party is “basically in shambles.”

“I think he’s rallying together a lot of people and he’s got the momentum,” Iverson said. “He’s the guy who’s going to fight to change the system. We need a revolution.”

Aaron Iverson holds his son Andre Iverson after casting a vote for Bernie Sanders in the Tuesday primary election. (Photo by Jolene Almendarez/The Ithaca Voice)

At South Hill School at 520 Hudson St., Matt Stratton said he pretty much knew from the get-go that he was also going to support Clinton.

“I think her past service,” he said, as New York Senator and Secretary of State, gave her an undisputed edge over Sanders.

Mayor Svante Myrick — who has endorsed Clinton — also said her experience is one of the reasons he voted for her Tuesday.

He cited, for example, her history serving the state of New York as senator and the fact that she only left the job to work for President Barack Obama, who’d just beat her for the Democratic nomination. He said her dedication to wrapping herself in the minutia of issues throughout New York, especially in Upstate, has shown that she didn’t use the state as a springboard to further her career — she actually cared about constituents.

He also said that the issues she supports, such as her drive to close the pay gap between genders and dedication to regulating the financial industry, are issues other people can get behind as well.

“All of those things are right at the core of what I care about,” he said.

Myrick said the presidency needs, “Someone who can manage the bureaucracy and who can administer the existing the programs…in a way that will bend the federal government toward more justice and more equality.”

Conflicted

Beth Reiter, who voted for Sanders Tuesday, said, “I felt a little conflicted about the vote.”

She said she likes the idea of having a female president and thinks Clinton has the experience to be a successful president.  But she began to be swayed to vote for Sanders over time.

For instance, she mentioned his commitment to change campaign financing laws and compared it to Clinton’s refusal to release the transcripts of three speeches she made to Goldman Sachs. She was paid a total of $675,000.

“I probably would have been able to determine that for myself,” she said, about whether Clinton was overly generous or complimentary of the business.

That, she said, goes against a primary aspect of the Sanders campaign she appreciates most — taking big business out of politics.

“There’s go to be influence there…That was a big factor for me,” she said.

Henry Newman is also a Sanders supporter, but he voted for Republican candidate John Kasich in the primary.

The 25-year-old said he’s been registered as a Republican since he was 18.

“I had registered as a Republican just to kind of see what kind of stuff they were saying and what kind of arguments they were having,” he said.

He said he intends to vote for Sanders in the general election, adding that two major factors influencing his vote are Sanders’ commitment toward creating better tax equity across the board and universal health care.

The following voters are featured in the video below (Sequential order): Colleen McLinn, Cole Gruberth, Michael Thomas, Laurie Pattington, Peter Oliver, Mark Thorton.  

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Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at jalmendarez@ithacavoice.com; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.