Nevada Neighbors Favor Different Presidential Candidates

Oct 28, 2016
Originally published on October 28, 2016 2:23 pm

All eyes are on Nevada in the final days leading up to the election. Polls in this swing state show that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are neck and neck. With such a nasty campaign, NPR wondered how much tension filters down to Nevada voters. We visited a quiet neighborhood 20 minutes west of the Las Vegas strip and met two neighbors who live across the street from each other — one Republican and one Democrat.

Bringing Stephanie Hill, the Republican, and Rie Frisa, the Democrat, together revealed that you can disagree about the issues of this election without all of the anger. These two neighbors may have opposing political views, but they support each other's decision.

Click on the audio above to hear their full conversation.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

You know, at times, this has been a pretty nasty presidential campaign.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

CHRIS WALLACE: Wait, wait, wait. Secretary Clinton, it's an open discussion.

HILLARY CLINTON: He says...

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: Secretary, please let Mr. Trump speak. Go ahead.

CLINTON: I think he's unfit. And he proves it every time he talks.

DONALD TRUMP: You are the one that's unfit. You know, WikiLeaks...

GREENE: That was from the last debate in Nevada, which is a swing state. The polls between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are really tight there. So how much does that tension on the debate stage filter down to the people who support them?

Well, we went the other night to meet a Republican and a Democrat, two neighbors who live right across the street from each other. We came to this gated community 20 minutes from the Las Vegas strip, a place where sprawl begins turning to desert.

The homes all look alike - beige stucco exterior, pale-red roof with a gray satellite dish. And people like it this way. The homeowner's association doesn't allow campaign signs outside or much of anything, for that matter.

STEPHANIE HILL: Why don't you please come in?

GREENE: Thank you. I love your pumpkin and the hay. It's... you got it all ready.

HILL: It's against the HOA rules. And I'm expecting...

GREENE: The H - housing - homeowner's association?

HILL: Homeowner's association rules.

GREENE: They don't allow pumpkins?

HILL: They don't allow anything on your porch. Isn't there a pumpkin exception?

GREENE: I think there should be a pumpkin exception. Yeah.

The code violator there is Stephanie Hill. She is the Republican. She's concerned about immigration overcrowding schools and straining resources. She thinks the federal debt is just too massive. And she doesn't trust Hillary Clinton. We got to know her a little bit. For one thing, this suburban life was never in Stephanie's plans.

HILL: I was living and teaching in rural Coahuila, Mexico - middle school.

GREENE: And she became a mom.

HILL: He's my jewel, my recuerdo of my time - my souvenir of my time in Mexico. And then he was diagnosed at 3 years, 4 months with autism. And we started plowing into therapy. And we've been blessed.

GREENE: And that's when your life really changed. And you weren't traveling...

HILL: I've been married to it. I've been married to autism.

GREENE: And Stephanie also shared this with us. She was once sexually assaulted. And now she's trying to reconcile that past with her plan to vote for Donald Trump. She heard the tape that surfaced of Trump saying nasty stuff about women.

HILL: Look, I heard. I heard him talk so cavalierly. I saw that sort of like alpha show.

GREENE: And she's also followed the women who have come forward, accusing Trump of assaulting them. She's angry at him. But she also says at least some of the women might have been trying to feed off Trump's power.

HILL: I can't question them. But I do know that that power play happens all the time. I've seen it in every environment that I've been in.

GREENE: I can see some women recoiling, hearing any suggestion...

HILL: Yeah.

GREENE: ...That anyone but Donald Trump was responsible for...

HILL: I - you know what? I will. I'll accept that.

GREENE: Stephanie says she believes that Donald Trump is going to surround himself with thinkers who are more in line with her conservative views.

HILL: No one likes his rhetoric. And I'm going to promise you that he's not my dream date of a person, right?

GREENE: Never heard it put that way.

HILL: Yeah. No, he's not my dream date.

GREENE: And we had a date right across the street. Stephanie's friend and neighbor Rie Frisa - she's the Democrat.

MARIE FRISA: Hi.

GREENE: Hi. Marie?

FRISA: Yes.

GREENE: Hi. I'm David.

FRISA: Hi, David.

GREENE: Thank you for having us.

Rie grew up in Brooklyn. She moved west with her husband before divorcing. And she ended up here, across the street from Stephanie, because of the recession. She has a graduate degree in education. She was working as a manager at a big bank. Well, then she lost that job and the one after it. After being on unemployment, she took a different kind of job with the county, one that's not as fulfilling for her. But it does offer benefits.

If I give a story over the last six or seven years that a lot of Americans can relate to...

FRISA: Yes. Oh, yeah - very underemployed. You know, I go to work every day and deliver mail - filing - sit at a desk and give out keys to the county workers. It's support. It's clerical support.

GREENE: And to get by, Rie also moved in here to this house with her 83-year-old mom. Now, the idea of Donald Trump managing the economy, making decisions that could affect, say, her health insurance is frightening. Trump strikes her as unstable. It is one reason why Rie is supporting Hillary Clinton.

FRISA: She's a good thinker. She's a good decision maker. I've always supported her. I'm not voting against Donald Trump. I am voting for Hillary Clinton.

GREENE: So you think about what Clinton and Trump sounded like on that debate stage. What would happen if we brought this Democrat and this Republican together? Well, we walked outside with Rie. And we had arranged to meet up with Stephanie. They were still celebrating Rie's big win.

FRISA: Video poker, yes.

GREENE: OK.

HILL: At a convenience store.

GREENE: How much did you win?

FRISA: At a grocery store - oh, like, $5,000.

GREENE: What?

We sat down quietly at this small table that's next to the community pool, which is just a hundred feet from both of their homes. Marie told me that I was sitting with two independent women who support one another and can speak about their disagreements without anger.

FRISA: We just connect on a level that is just beyond that...

HILL: Sure.

FRISA: ...I think.

GREENE: Stephanie told us she can't trust Hillary Clinton. But she does trust Rie that she's casting the right vote for her.

HILL: I don't necessarily agree with it. But I don't disparage that. I understand her story and her history. I get it.

FRISA: And I...

GREENE: You understand why Stephanie's voting for Trump?

FRISA: Oh, yes. I do have a belief that to her value system and what she knows in her life to be true - that that is right for her. I don't think he is deserving of her vote because I (laughter)...

HILL: I don't either (laughter).

FRISA: I think she's a better person than that.

GREENE: Rie, if Stephanie's candidate wins, and Donald Trump is president, how do you think you'll react to living in that reality?

FRISA: Well, I think I'll be sad for a couple reasons. One is that my woman did not get into the White House. The other is because I don't think there will be direction. But, realistically, I have to get up and go to work and put my one foot in front of the other and do what I have to do and deal with whatever is going to come down the pike.

GREENE: And, Stephanie, if you wake up in in Rie's world, and her candidate's won, and Hillary Clinton is president...

HILL: Well, I think we'll share a pot of soup.

FRISA: (Laughter).

HILL: I think that's what we'll do. I mean, I think we have her.

GREENE: She's likely going to win?

HILL: Yeah, I think so.

FRISA: The one thing I will say is I never want to say, I told you so.

HILL: We've never done that.

FRISA: I know. And I don't think we will.

HILL: No, we've never done that.

FRISA: So that's a wonderful thing. That's what makes our friendship so strong.

HILL: Yeah. I - you know, I'm really happy that a woman would get elected, you know? I mean, I think that's a long time in coming. She's just not the one I want. She's not the one I want.

GREENE: We were spending time with Stephanie Hill and Rie Frisa. They're two Nevada voters who are also friends. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.