Swing District Voters React To Impeachment Hearings
LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
So when the 2020 presidential election is decided, it'll likely be in swing districts like Brighton, Mich., the kind of place where Democrats used to joke about losing better. That is until 2018, when they won the surrounding congressional district after President Trump got a narrow victory there in 2016.
So what do Brighton's voters think of the impeachment hearings? Here's Abigail Censky from member station WKAR.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Do you want this heated up at all?
ABIGAIL CENSKY, BYLINE: No, thanks.
At Two Brothers Coffee in downtown Brighton, there's a TV on mute showing the Fox News broadcast of the impeachment hearings. Aaron Smith is working on his laptop and not paying attention to the TV. But he says he's been reading daily recaps. He describes the whole thing as one big dog and pony show.
AARON SMITH: This has nothing to do with us. I don't know the - I don't know anybody that really cares what's happening in Ukraine on the same level they care about what's happening down the road.
CENSKY: Sitting nearby, Lee Millns disagrees. He works for a telecom company, thinks of himself as a liberal-leaning independent and has watched the hearings intently.
LEE MILLNS: The truth matters, so, you know, let's get the truth out. And if there's more truths to come out, come on. Bring them on.
CENSKY: Also nearby, a small-business owner Rachel Fron. She's an independent voter who backs Trump's impeachment. Frahn has caught a couple hours of the hearings, but she says it's tough to talk about with friends and family.
RACHEL FRON: My dad's a supporter. He loves Trump, but he didn't watch. And he took a nap while I had it on TV, so I don't know if everyone's really ready to hear it. I think a lot of people are trying to avoid the issue.
CENSKY: Outside, Karen Deighton is walking back to her car in a freezing drizzle. She self-identifies as the conservative-leaning independent and opposes impeachment.
KAREN DEIGHTON: I think it's all going to boil down to, if you think what he did - how bad was it? It's not in question what happened, so it doesn't really matter how many times or how many witnesses - they come on and say the same thing or, yep, you know, well, I had the - you know? He did what he did. Do you feel it's bad, you know, enough to impeach?
CENSKY: Trump was able to win Michigan in 2016 by getting Democrats to vote for him. One of those voters is Mick Glaser, who's from East Lansing. He's wearing a sweatshirt from Trump's Miami golf club but says he thinks of himself as a former John F. Kennedy Democrat. His vote for Trump was the first time he voted for a Republican, and he says Democrats are making a big mistake.
MICK GLASER: Your opportunity to get the president out is in 11 months the right way versus, you know, spending the next two years, you know, chewing this old bone. They had their chance with the Mueller investigation.
CENSKY: Glaser says he wants Congress to take on some of the country's bigger problems instead of impeachment.
GLASER: They're spending millions and millions and millions of dollars on this that they could be using to improve the drinking water in Flint, as far as I'm concerned.
CENSKY: That's a theme others echoed here, like Aaron Smith back in the coffee shop. He pointed to Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer's election last year.
SMITH: Her whole thing was, fix the damn roads. It had nothing to do with politics. It was literally infrastructure and what's going to make our lives better.
CENSKY: Smith says there's no good outcome. No matter what happens next, to him, it's an endless pit.
For NPR News, I'm Abigail Censky in Brighton, Mich. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.