ITHACA, NY – In any other election year, being a Hillary Clinton supporter in Ithaca might be the norm. This is not a typical election year, however.

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While the city and universities are generally regarded as liberal bastions, they might actually be too progressive for Clinton — favoring Bernie Sanders instead. Meanwhile. some of the more rural areas of Tompkins County have a strong republican base. So where does Hillary fit in?

If nothing else, the fervor behind some of the other candidates seems to drown out the more quiet excitement that most Clinton supporters seem to have.

The Ithaca Voice spoke to a few Clinton supporters during a Chelsea Clinton appearance at Coltivare in Ithaca on Monday morning to see what it was about Clinton’s platform that made her the choice for them.

It seems like support for Hillary comes from a place entirely different than support for Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump or even Ted Cruz. For her supporters, it’s not political revolution, or a winners-vs-losers mentality, or anti-establishment evangelism. Hillary supporters see a reasonable, pragmatic, realistic candidate who can get things done.

The fact that Hillary would be the first female president of the United States certainly plays a role for some supporters. One Cornell student-athlete said that during this semester she’d really had her eyes opened to the gender discrimination that goes on in that area. She said she felt it was a time for a female president.

Scarlett Lee, a Cornell Vet student, said that she’d been a lifelong Hillary supporter, and Hillary had been the first person she’d ever voted for when she came of age. Lee said that while Cornell might have a big bias toward Bernie, the vet school actually had a fair number of conservative students, so she ran into mild friction on that side instead.

It’s not just students and liberal city-dwellers who stand with Hillary. Austin Kuscsik, of Newfield, is clearly an ardent supporter of Hillary. He was getting the last punch in his Clinton family punch card by seeing Chelsea speak — he’d seen Hillary speak in Syracuse and Bill Clinton speaking Binghamton over the last week.

Kuscsik said that growing up in Newfield where most of his friends and neighbors were republicans would lead to occasional clash of ideas. He says that he supported Clinton she just makes the most sense out of all the candidates.

Another supporter pointed out that if you look at the tax plans promoted by the remaining candidates, Hillary Clinton’s is the only one that doesn’t lead to a large deficit.

That was the basic throughline of most of her supporters: Clinton has the right combination of experience, realism, reasonableness and political skill to successfully lead the country.

Of the Hillary supporters we spoke to, none of them seemed to have any ill-will toward Bernie Sanders. One supporter felt there wasn’t a reason for such conflict between the Clinton and Sanders camps, saying “We’re all democrats.”

Janet Morgan of Ithaca said that while she appreciates Sanders’ positions, she feels simply feels that Hillary has a better track record of actually getting things done.

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Michael Smith

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.