“Hillary! Hillary!” shouted a Clinton supporter to a neighbor wearing an Obama pin as she approached the Bethel Baptist Church this morning to cast her vote in New York’s presidential primary.
The unassuming place of worship on Bergen Street in Boerum Hill opened its doors at 6 a.m. to voters from Brooklyn’s community district six who predominantly and historically vote Democrat. However, the choice between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama proved divisive despite these neighborhoods’ agreement on political party.
Supporters of Clinton cited her personal strength and depth of experience as the driving catalyst behind their vote.
“This country is in crisis,” said Prima Jose, a Haitian immigrant living in Park Slope. “Hillary Clinton is the best candidate to end this crisis. I voted for her experience.”
Clinton’s depth of background in policy, economics and the world situation swayed the vote of Thomasina Webb of Cobble Hill. “Hillary has showed herself to be a really strong, clear-headed person. She is the best candidate,” said Webb. “She’s seasoned.”
Voters casting their ballot for Obama expressed a desire for a candidate free from the tentacles of Washington politics who is willing to challenge the status quo.
Claire Angelica, a 30–year resident of Boerum Hill and lifelong Brooklynite, thought Obama the better choice. “I voted for Obama because the Clinton/Bush dynasty factor bothers me,” said Angelica, “and the history of the Clintons disturbs me.”
In the same vein, Boaz Gilad of Park Slope said he voted for Obama because “he seems very honest and different.”
Obama’s age heavily influenced the vote of neighborhood resident Julia Chance. “Obama’s generation doesn’t carry the baggage that older people do,” said Chance. “Obama approaches issues in a fresh way.”
The lack of consensus in the polling booths sparked debate between neighbors outside the brick red Baptist church. The door manager for the polling station, Calvin E. Wilkins, said he has not seen this much excitement and participation in a long time.
In a neighborhood where 83 percent of the population is registered to vote, Wilkins said everybody is getting involved.
“I can’t even remember what office I was voting for in the last general election,” said Obama-supporter Angelica. “But these candidates have created so much excitement.”
As much as the voters at the Bethel Baptist Church in Brooklyn turned out to vote for their candidates, they also came to cast their vote against another four years of a Republican in office.
“Maybe George Bush has something to do with it,” said Wilkins.
Angelica agreed, “So many people are fed up with Republicans. You’d have to go to Staten Island to find one.”