In Kalamazoo, Old High School Classmates Reckon With a Divided Country


Chris Kooi is, on paper, the sort of voter who helped Mr. Trump win Michigan in 2016: white, non-college educated, late-Gen Xer, male. In 2003, he moved from Kalamazoo to a rural county 20 miles west, the type of place the place Mr. Trump ran up the numbers.

Keep up with Election 2020

Like many individuals, Mr. Kooi, 52 and a gross sales supervisor at Spectrum Business, a telecom supplier, has grown extra conservative with age. Mortgages, school funds for his two daughters and payments have an effect on his political calculus. “I once thought of myself as more liberal, more open minded,” stated Mr. Kooi, a 1986 graduate of Loy Norrix. But later when he ran a enterprise, “I realized I probably shouldn’t be.”

And but he additionally represents the type of voter who saved Michigan blue for therefore lengthy: He voted for each Clintons and Barack Obama (although he additionally voted for each Bushes).

So the place does that put him in 2020? “I’m very confused this election,” he stated. He is unnerved by Mr. Trump’s rhetoric, he stated, and provides that the president’s financial insurance policies haven’t notably benefited his household. “His tax cuts affected me and my family negatively,” he stated. “His cookie-cutter program took my ability to itemize my tax returns and in turn cost me money by eliminating write-offs that I had taken previously.”

Nevertheless, he believes the president could also be higher for the economic system. “I don’t know what will happen to the economy here if Biden wins,” he stated. “I don’t know if it’ll affect me, the middle class, here.”

Mr. Kooi tunes out the president as a lot as he can, he stated. But he has internalized Mr. Trump’s knocks on Mr. Biden’s acuity. “What scares me about Biden,” Mr. Kooi stated, “is I think he’s starting to lose it a little bit.”


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