Poll: choose your own President
If you could select anyone to be the next President, who would you choose?
Since the nominees of the 2016 Presidential election are generating the lowest favorability ratings in history, we asked a number of New Eastside residents and professionals to tell us who they would really like to see move into the White House this November. Although we indicated that both Senator Clinton and Mr. Trump were acceptable answers, neither was named.
Senator Elizabeth Warren
A political event featuring Massachusetts Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren convinced Rogers Park native Max DeFrancesco that the former law professor who was born and raised in Oklahoma would make a great Commander in Chief.
“She speaks eloquently and powerfully about issues that are facing the nation,” he says. “I think I’d trust her very much to take a good progressive role. She still finds a moderate cross between both parties and I admire that a lot.”
Mr. DeFrancesco works as a retail salesperson at Nordstrom. We caught up with him at Lake Shore East Park, where he was enjoying a gelato from Cafe Rom with his mother, Susie, who works for a nearby architectural firm.
“Hillary’s been scrutinized a lot more because she’s been on the national stage for a longer time,” he adds. “But as far as I understand, (Senator Warren) hasn’t been complicated as much.”
Congressman Paul Ryan
Nadia Sadeghi, a Chicagoan by way of Persia and Arizona, is a podiatrist who lives in the Loop. She was taking advantage of Lake Shore East Park’s shady benches with a friend when we spoke to her.
After some initial hesitation, she names the GOP Congressman from Wisconsin (and current Speaker of the House) as the best person for the job.
“I’m a really big fan of Paul Ryan,” she says. “I think his economics plan has been great. I think he’s been doing a great job at the House.”President Barack Obama
After residing in the Windy City for a decade, marketing professional Amber Nikkels goes against the deep red tendencies of her native Oklahoma to declare that she would invite the 44th President to serve a third term if it were up to her.
“Contrary to what everybody else on social media seems to think, he did a fantastic job,” she explains. “I feel like he’s done more for our country than any of the last two presidents.”
Mrs. Nikkels was at Cyrano’s on the River Walk with her parents and her husband, Chris, an architect who works in the New Eastsie, when she agreed to participate in our survey.
“As much as I want to support Hillary and I will support Hillary because of the alternative,” she adds, “if my choice was Obama I would choose Obama again because he’s done great things.”
Entertainer Jon Stewart
Audrey Witte and Adam Laughlin think that entertainer Jon Stewart can provide a virtue that is sorely lacking among the nation’s current Presidential contenders: honesty.
“It’s like a reality show,” says Audrey. “I think they’re all liars, but he’s trustworthy.”
The couple, who recently moved to the New Eastside from central Illinois, took a break from a selfie-session in Lake Shore East Park to respond.
“He seems like a smart guy,” adds Adam. “Well-spoken, unlike everybody else.”
According to native Chicagoan Tony Robinson, there is no question about it: he would make a great President.
“The person I would name to be President would be me,” he says. “I could do things differently just because I care about people.”
Mr. Robinson is a bricklayer by trade but, he explains, “right now, I’m doing whatever work I can get my hands on” to get by. He was reading a book in the shade of the Chicago River bank when we popped the question.
“The Presidency, you know, it’s basic demagoguery,” he continues. “From antebellum days until our modern day, people keep trying the same thing expecting different results. That’s insanity. It’s to get you to go along with some system that you’re really not going to agree with.”
President Ronald Reagan
New Eastside resident Ryan Johnson would bring the 40th President back to the future if it were up to him.
“I would probably go with Reagan,” he says. “Everything he did for the economy at the time was groundbreaking.”
Story and photos by Daniel Patton, Staff Writer