We went to the ‘happiest place on Earth’ and asked people to describe the election in one word

LOS ANGELES CA. OCTOBER 25, 2016: Note cards with people's reaction to the election were photographed at the Los Angeles Times Photo Studio on October 29, 2016. (Jeremiah Bogert/ Los Angeles Times)
(Jeremiah Bogert /)

We went to the ‘happiest place on Earth’ and asked people to describe the election in one word

(Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

Times journalists went to Disneyland last weekend and asked people just outside the park to describe the election in one word.

What we found was a dark picture of how people view the final two weeks of the election. Like voters across America, these people are eager to see the contest conclude, and feel the political conversation has hurt society over the last year. Most expressed dissatisfaction with both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as presidential candidates.

Some didn’t want to talk politics: “This is why I’m at Disneyland.” But among those who did, it was difficult to find anyone eager to cast votes or excited for what will happen after the election.

One woman scoffed, “If Ringling Bros. would put this show on, nobody would watch.”

Another wasn’t shy about her views: “I think it’s a bunch of malarkey, and I’m putting a nice word in there.”

Davíd Aguilar, a warehouse technician from San Francisco said one word was difficult because “it has been so crazy.” His choice? “Insane.”

These are the voices from the self-described “happiest place on Earth.”

Jaimie Calderon, 25

Quality assurance analyst from Los Angeles

(Patrick Khoo / For the Times)

I don’t appreciate how either candidate has handled certain situations the entire time.

She voted early, for Hillary Clinton, and said she has supported Clinton from Day One but is disappointed because the election is “supposed to be exciting. It’s supposed to be something we’re all proud to be part of.”

Veronique Hinestrosa, 48

Teacher from Los Angeles

(Christina Bellantoni / Los Angeles Times)

The two candidates are going at each other in an unprofessional way. It’s put the country in a bad mood and just cast this shadow of hate and racism.

A Democrat, she said she views this election season as confusing and “not hopeful” like she felt with Barack Obama. Hinestrosa, the daughter of Colombian immigrants, finds Trump’s views on immigration and women to be “sad and depressing.”

“How can he handle the rest of the world when he can’t even handle his own issues?”

Todd Reihing, 46

Works in medical sales, from Seattle

(Patrick Khoo / For the Times)

You can’t trust either one of them. Hillary says what you want to hear and Trump is just a complete idiot. And I’m a Republican.

Reihing says he’s planning to convince his friends to write in another candidate — he just doesn’t know who yet. “I thought it was Gary Johnson, but he’s so uneducated about the world that I wrote him off.”

He says he’s grown tired of seeing the rhetoric spill over to social media: “All people do is get in fights every five minutes about their candidate, and it’s not worth it.”

Diedra Gee, 51

Works in accounting, from Arleta

(Sarah D. Wire / Los Angeles Times)

He’s crude, he’s rude, but I believe him when he says he’s going to get the job done.

She’s voting for Trump.

“I don’t feel like we can trust Hillary.”

Kelly Teravest, 60

Water treatment operator from Henderson, Nev.

(Christina Bellantoni / Los Angeles Times)

They forget they work for us. I’m fed up.

He supported Republicans “before this election” and isn’t a fan of Trump. He’s also angry at members of the GOP who “bailed” on Trump, especially Rep. Joe Heck, who lost Teravest’s vote for U.S. Senate when he distanced himself from the party nominee.

He said he might ultimately leave both the presidential and Senate questions on the ballot blank and vote only for Nevada’s statewide initiatives.

He said Clinton will talk about dirty politics and then turn around and run nasty ads. And he fears that no matter what, gridlock will just continue in Washington.

“It’s a total mess. Neither one of them are fit for office.”

Dezarae Rojas, 27

Medical assistant from San Francisco

(Christina Bellantoni / Los Angeles Times)

With him we’d go back to segregation, we could go to war for the wrong reasons, my co-workers could lose their visas.

As she chatted with a reporter, her 7-year-old son chimed in to ask, “Was she talking about Donald Trump?” Yes, she told him, but she isn’t voting for him.

Rojas is a Democrat and voting for Clinton, and considers Trump’s views on minorities and women to be “horrible.”

Susan Fisher, 52

Homemaker from San Francisco

(Sarah D. Wire / Los Angeles Times)

I feel like I’m throwing my vote away this year. I don’t think either one is really qualified.

Fisher said she’s voted for Republicans in the past, but she’s considering voting for Libertarian Gary Johnson. She is sick of the election and excited for it to be over.

“It’s really ugly; it’s shining a really bad light on our country.”

Cicely Jinesta, 41

Event planner from Fontana

(Sarah. D. Wire / Los Angeles Times)

There’s no reason anybody should be undecided at this point.

She’s concerned about immigration and women’s rights and prefers Clinton’s temperament.

“I can’t believe it’s stooped to the level it has.”

Caitlin Staniec, 26

Leasing consultant from Beverly Hills

(Sarah D. Wire / Los Angeles Times)

He doesn’t have substantial policy [positions]. He just doesn’t have any experience either.

Staniec said she is definitely leaning toward Clinton but isn’t a strong supporter of the Democrat either. She believes Clinton took some unnecessary digs a Trump during the debate.

“She’s also taking the low road, just not as low.”

How would you describe the election in one word?

Tell us below »

Cindy Gonzalez, 24

Works in the legal industry, from Los Angeles

(Patrick Khoo / For the Times)

It started out as a joke. … For anyone to be able to say these things and be an actual political candidate is disheartening.

She isn’t sure she will vote, but if she does, she’ll vote for Clinton. It will depend on how tired she is Nov. 8. And whoever wins, she doesn’t think it’ll affect her life that much.

“Hillary, you can be a better person than the smear campaign [against Trump].”

Mark Russell, 57

Project manager from Herriman, Utah

(Sarah D. Wire / Los Angeles Times)

I don’t feel like we have the best options out there.

The rhetoric from Trump has raised some concerning questions about what his fellow Americans believe, he said. Russell plans to vote for Clinton.

“The alternative is absolutely horrendous.”

Danielle Macatantan, 23, and Matthew Olson, 28

Student from San Diego and entertainer from Irvine

(Allison Wisk / Los Angeles TImes)

Olson said he felt the election has “really divided the country.”

“It’s really sad,” he said.

Macatantan was discouraged by the tone of the election, saying the word she thought best described the process was “pointless.”

Allan Kirkwood, 53

Dentist from Las Vegas

(Patrick Khoo / For the Times)

I started off thinking I liked Donald Trump’s ideas, but now I think he’s inappropriate

This Republican says he  will vote for the person he considers “the lesser of two evils: probably Hillary” — even though he doesn’t like the idea of someone with the Clinton last name getting potentially 16 years in the White House.

Kirkwood said he has watched all the debates and documentaries about the candidates and doesn’t care for either candidate. But after observing Trump’s “Twitter wars” and “immaturity” calling for revenge on people who don’t back him, “That opened my eyes.”

Justin Dominguez, 37

Works at Disneyland, from Whittier

(Patrick Khoo / For the Times)

He’s not hiding anything. He’s an idiot too.

He could watch only about five minutes of the last debate.

“They just seem to badger each other rather than talk about topics,” he said. He’ll vote, and he’s not super sure, but “It’s probably going to be Trump.”

“You know what you’re getting with him. He doesn’t hide stuff.”

Scott Pappas, 45

Works in the music industry, from Burbank

(Christine Mai-Duc / Los Angeles Times)

It just seems like we’ve hit a new low.

“It’s such a polarizing election,” he says. “With all the name-calling, it just seems like we’re better than that — or at least we should be.”

Pappas says he’s leaning toward Clinton because of her experience, but “neither one of them are saints.”

He calls Trump a “bully” with no clear plans for the country.

“The latest surprise of saying he won’t accept the results of the election — that just speaks volumes that if he can’t win, he’ll just take his toys and go home.”

Emily Vasquez, 21

Student at Texas Southern University from Los Angeles

(Christine Mai-Duc / Los Angeles Times)

They act so childish, it’s like high school. I feel like they should act their age.

This is her first presidential election, and she’s not thrilled about her choices:

“One candidate is trying to run the country like a business and the other candidate has experience but her past is so turbulent.”

Vasquez says while she is leaning toward voting for Clinton, she doesn’t expect radical change from either candidate.

“People nowadays expect people they elect to come in and change everything right away. This country took forever to be built, so change is going to take forever, too.”

Monty Clark, 44

Parts manager at musical instrument company, from Riverside

(Los Angeles Times)

If you’ve watched any of the debates, there’s less about the issues and more about insignificant things.

Clark says he’s concerned most about the economy and jobs, and favors Trump.

“Even with all the controversy with things he’s said in the past, the biggest reason I favor him is because he’s an outsider in the political arena.”

Lexington Hartman, 20

Works at Sephora, from San Diego

(Christine Mai-Duc / Los Angeles Times)

It’s almost like watching a reality TV show. It’s really funny, but also so sad.

Hartman says she could barely stand to watch the debates. “They’re just kind of barking at each other the whole time.”

She says between one-liners and Internet memes, “nobody actually takes anything seriously, even the candidates.”

Hartman says she hasn’t decided who she’ll vote for, but is leaning toward Clinton, “just because, you know, girl power.”

“I’ll miss Obama,” she added. “He’s a cool dude.”

Les Swank, 59

IT project manager from Pomona

(Christina Bellantoni / Los Angeles Times)

I feel like I’m watching a bunch of kids in a schoolyard.

He considers himself a Republican, though he did not vote for Mitt Romney in 2012. He’s 90% sure he’ll back Clinton in the ballot booth and said he’ll definitely be voting. Trump is “just too volatile,” especially how he handles himself on Twitter.

“He keeps digging himself a deeper hole.”

Bijan “House” Houshmanclzadeh, 32

Security guard from Riverside

(Patrick Khoo / For the Times)

I don’t think we have any control of the government. They are bought up and paid for.

He’s passionate about the issues — and concerned about his father, an Iranian immigrant of Muslim faith — but not motivated enough to vote. He said he’s worried about Trump and believes both candidates are “ranting.”

What will he do on Nov. 8? “I stay home.”

How would you describe the election in one word?

(Patrick Khoo / For the Times)

Reporting by Christina Bellantoni, Christine-Mai-Duc, Colleen Shalby, Julie Westfall, Sarah D. Wire and Allison Wisk

Produced by Sean Greene

Follow @latimespolitics on Twitter


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