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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

A California Voter And Obama Volunteer Talks About The Tight Presidential Race

Michelle Toh |
September 14, 2012 | 6:04 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Lynda Johnson, pro-Obama activist (Michelle Toh, Neon Tommy).
Lynda Johnson, pro-Obama activist (Michelle Toh, Neon Tommy).

Lynda Johnson, 64, is a retired city employee from Redondo Beach who has worked in property management and on the Commission on the Status of Women for more than 20 years. 

“[Obama] is far more able to understand the plight of the middle class and the poor than [former Gov. Mitt] Romney will ever be," Johnson said at a Redondo Beach phone bank event for Obama where she volunteers.

"The man is completely out of touch. And I am a complete and entire supporter of Obama, although my heart was with Hillary Clinton in 2008. When she lost to Obama, I switched allegiance quickly and I’ve been very impressed with him, unlike a lot of people. I have been extraordinarily impressed with him.”

Johnson also acknowledged that perhaps Obama has been too careful in voicing out against his opponents.

“I think that the only thing he could do is be a little bit more blatant about what the Republicans have done over the past four years to deny him any successes," she said. "It’s really hard when you’re dealing with such a tight race and you’re trying to turn around independent people, primarily, because you’re really not going to change the minds of Republicans or Democrats at this point. I would like him to be more aggressive but I’m not sure that that should be his place.”  

Johnson cited the landmark decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which held that political spending by corporations could not be prohibited by government, as a factor in Romney’s favor.

“Because of that ruling that the Supreme Court made about corporations being people, Republicans have a lot more money to spend.”

A women’s studies minor in college, Johnson indicated Obama’s legislation in support of women’s rights was a reason he gained her support.

“That’s made a huge difference for me. But I’m a Democrat, I’m a feminist and the Republican Party is really not supportive of either one of those things. They’re absolutely not supportive of women. I don’t know how we can elect somebody who isn’t supportive of any of those things.” 

Her statement draws attention to the notion that in this narrow election, voters are simply looking to the lesser of two evils. In August, Fox News’ John Layfield wrote, “We have two candidates for president and America would rather have ‘none of the above.’ We have a Congress that America, except for a single-digit percentage, would like to ‘throw out.’ Half of our country doesn’t choose to use its brain -- 25 percent will vote Democrat and 25 percent will vote Republican no matter what, which tells me that up to 50 percent of our country chooses to not think for themselves.” 

Johnson said she would be terrified if Romney won the election.

“Anything we were able to do in the last four years would be denied if he gets elected,” saying that she saw Romney’s election as a horrifying regression. 

“I know people who are going to have medical insurance who wouldn’t have otherwise,” she said of Obama’s policy changes. “My son doesn’t have any medical insurance. I think that is huge. Because [Obama] put his re-election on the line, he put his credibility on the line, and that was an extremely brave thing for him to do. He wasn’t popular, and I don’t know why.”

In terms of key issues for the candidates, Johnson delivered a resounding opinion on a hotly contested topic in recent years.

“Immigration needs to be fixed," she said. "There’s got to be a way to incorporate the people who are already here, into our society in some legal manner. We just can’t go on the way we are. And it’s not going to be easy; it’s not going to make people happy; but we have to solve it somehow.”

She said developing more jobs would be the president’s biggest probable hurdle for the next few years. “The Republicans have really kept that from happening because they didn’t care about people. They were more interested in making Obama fail than they were in improving the economy, and they voted down everything that they could that would’ve helped the economy, and that makes me really angry.”

Read more of Neon Tommy's coverage on the 2012 election here.
Reach Staff Reporter Michelle Toh here.



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