At a time of deep partisan divide, in a congressional district of southern California where Democrats outnumber Republicans, voters polled over the weekend were broadly united on at least one issue: after a war of two decades, President Biden was right to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan.
The bombing of Kabul airport did little to change their minds, the murder of 13 soldiers leaving them more dazed than saddened. Many said they were just too overwhelmed to pay close attention to another crisis overseas. “We have a lot of repairs to do here,” said Ms. Ortiz, who sees herself as moderate policy and voted for Mr. Biden.
Amid a still raging pandemic and an ever recovering economy, it was time to focus on issues at home rather than overseas, more than a dozen voters said. Republicans, Democrats and Independents in conversations in and around Hacienda Heights, a community of 55,000 people about 20 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, where first and second generation immigrants fill housing estates and shopping centers.
Afghanistan could be ignored, they said, but the possibility that their children too young to be vaccinated would get sick could not. Washington leaders might be concerned about the threat of terrorism or America’s position with its allies, but voters in Hacienda Heights said they were far more concerned about issues directly affecting them: Covid -19, homelessness and climate change, to name a few.
They also appeared reluctant to hold Mr Biden accountable for last week’s attacks, at least for now.
“When you don’t have the right choice, you always have to pick one,” said Patrick Huang, a 65-year-old independent who voted for both Republicans and Democrats. “They had a lot of time to get ready to get everyone out, and they screwed up completely. But I don’t blame President Biden for everything. It happened after many presidents made mistakes. “