“If he could not speak. “The things she says are just annoying,” Oswald said, shaking her head as she stood outside the salon where she works as a hairdresser here. “But I think it has done some great things for our economy.”
“I did not trust myself to be sufficiently informed in the past,” Oswald said, explaining why he never voted. “But because of all this, I had to stay home, we all watch the news, we all watch TV, I feel like I can inform myself this year to make the right choice in my mind.”
Oswald is one of more than 1.3 million new voters registered in North Carolina since 2016, when Trump narrowly won the state with about 173,000 votes. Raising a conservative Republican family, he said, allows her to remain more open-minded about Trump, even as she tries to learn more about the Democratic ticket.
“He’s been in the office for so long and he really hasn’t done much,” said Oswald, admitting he’s not familiar with Biden’s long drive. “He was vice president and what did he do? I do not know. It is difficult.”
Voting is already under way across North Carolina, with more than 700,000 absent last week from voters who asked for it. And 17 days in person, early voting is set to begin on October 15.
Both options have accelerated an already frantic campaign span. One of the nation’s most competitive Senate contests, which could help determine if Democrats are gaining control of the U.S. Senate, is also on the ballot, along with a major governor contest.
The hang of it all is the pandemic of the Koranic virus, which affects how – and for whom – people vote. Or if they decide to vote at all.
“The pandemic has nothing to do with politics, but it has to do with politics,” said David Plyler, chairman of Forsyth County Board of Directors, who criticized some Republican colleagues earlier this week after he suggested Trump should follow state law and wear a mask when you get here for a rally.
It was the third presidential trip to North Carolina in three weeks. His visit was followed by separate trips by three of his children – Don, Jr., Eric and Ivanka – which went through the state in campaigns or official government stands.
The Trump collective program, along with recent visits by Vice President Mike Pence and members of the Cabinet, underscores the crucial importance of the state’s 15 electoral votes in the president’s bid to win a second term.
Without North Carolina, Republicans acknowledge, Trump faces a difficult path to 270 electoral votes. Barack Obama brought the state close in 2008, but he has long been a credible Republican.
“I think people can look beyond that noise,” said Sarah Reidy-Jones, vice president of the Republican Party in Mecklenburg. “Honestly, the record of achievement will be valid.”
She and other friends from the Uptown Charlotte Republican Women group discussed the presidential race and local politics at a brewery this week. The President’s revelations to Woodward, as many women have said, have not changed their view of Trump.
Reidy-Jones has admired Trump now more than four years ago – in part, he said, because of the judicial appointments he made during his first term.
“Four years ago, President Trump was not my first, second, third or fourth choice,” he said, noting that he was unsure whether he would be a true conservative or live up to his word, which he believes he has. “Put personality aside and see who has been a strong leader for us.”
This record does not fit well with Blake Stewart, the co-owner of a downtown bar, who believes the President’s leadership in the Koran was scary.
“He had the opportunity to catch this bull by the horns, but instead let it run us everywhere,” Stewart said. “He resigned from the beginning. If he had said, ‘Let’s take a strong lock-in approach and everything should be closed for two and a half months,’ we would not be in this situation.”
His business is still closed. That’s why, he said, he blames Trump, not Governor Roy Cooper, a Democrat.
Talks with more than two dozen voters this week, however, revealed a mixed view of who is responsible for the economic impact of the pandemic. Cooper, who has a much more aggressive stance than most Southern Republican governors, has also come under fire, especially from Republicans but also from some independent voters.
Interviews have shown that the Qur’anic policy may be contradictory and fade with uncertainty that will arrive in November.
Not for Bakarr Kanu, a college professor who received his vote in his absence this week.
He said the rejection of science by the President and his general behavior in power made his choice clear. He believes it is time for a change in the White House and said he will return the vote to the county polling station by hand so he can be sure it will be counted correctly.
“Everything is on the line this year,” Kanu said. “These are very difficult times. In the future, we will be asked what did you do when all this was happening?”
As he looked at the ballot he requested, carefully reading the instructions and noting that a witness and signature were required, he dismissed any discussion of possible voter fraud. He said he believed Trump was trying to intimidate voters.
“I am concerned about the postal vote,” said Don Scarborough, a mortgage banker. “If we can all go to Walmart and Lowe’s, we can also wait to vote.”
As he entered a Trump rally here this week, marking the first time he would see the president in person, he said he believed Trump had done “above average work, given the circumstances and challenges he had »
Scarborough, like most other Trump supporters interviewed in North Carolina this week, expressed his exhaustion at the president’s often bitter tone on Twitter.
“I do not like the fact that he tweets so much,” he said. “And sometimes he takes a very hard line against people he disagrees with.”
Asked what he thought about the prospect of Biden’s presidency and whether he feared him as much as Trump had suggested, Scarborough paused.
“Like anything, we would live through it,” he said. “Whether you agreed with the previous administration or not, we all experienced it. I just do not think it would be the best thing for the country.”
There is no doubt that Trump supporters are being launched here.
The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee collectively knocked on nearly 1 million doors and made six million phone calls across North Carolina this year, party officials say, along with supporters in the president’s rallies.
However, there are also signs that it wakes up the other side.
A downtown business owner, who did not want to be named, said he rarely voted in presidential rallies, but would give Biden the right to do so in hopes of preventing Trump from running for a second term. He believes that divisiveness under Trump, especially during a summer of racial unrest, is dangerous for the country.
“I know a lot of people like me,” he said. “We are the silent majority.”
The Trump presidency has motivated Angela Levine to become politically active for the first time. He said he had never done much more than vote, but had spent most of the last four years volunteering with the county Democratic Party to defeat Trump.
But he worries if Democrats do enough.
“There are a lot more Democrats here than you think,” said Levine, sitting in a park overlooking new homes that did not exist four years ago, a sign of a fast-growing North Carolina. “The biggest thing is to make these people who may be thinking of not participating at all. These are the ones I worry about the most.”