3 former P.E.I. residents living in U.S. remain optimistic for Biden win

·4 min read

Three Islanders living in the United States say they remain optimistic that the ballots cast in Tuesday's election will lead to a Joe Biden presidency.

The three shared their thoughts and how they are feeling with Island Morning host Mitch Cormier as the race continues in several key states with no winner declared.

"It almost feels like Groundhog Day," said Michelle Blankenship. "Here we are, four years again. Everybody's watching, everybody's waiting."

Blankenship is not an American citizen, so she didn't cast a ballot. Instead, her neighbours and those across the country will decide the fate of the place she's called home for 23 years.

"I'm hoping that this country will pull together," she said. "We got to keep the faith."

COVID change needed

Blankenship currently lives in Florida and is hopeful that a change in the White House would amount to a change in the nation's approach to the pandemic.

"I was a front-line worker. I was working with COVID patients. I've seen COVID patients die. I have seen the numbers go up," she said.

She is a nurse, but is no longer working on the front lines.

Carlos Barria/Reuters, Andrew Harnik/The Associated Press
Carlos Barria/Reuters, Andrew Harnik/The Associated Press

"I really thought with what was going on in Florida and the numbers I was seeing prior to this election, that it seemed like the Democrats were starting to increase. And I was really hoping for that," she said.

"I was hoping that we were going to get a blue sweep across this country and then maybe to like, you know, like take a little page out of Canada's book and do a shutdown. I think that's what we need to be able to stop this."

'A referendum about Donald Trump and his character'

Rob Simpson has U.S. citizenship and has been in the country for about two decades. He calls the current state of the union "very disheartening" and said it's no longer a political issue.

"At the end of the day, this election has really been a referendum about Donald Trump and his character and his leadership," he said.

"The way he has degraded women, how he has mocked people with disabilities, his failure to condemn white supremacy, how he's treated immigrants, attacked our Democratic governors, I mean, it's just one issue after another.

"Wherever you stand on the political spectrum, my biggest challenge is understanding how people can back the leadership of him and his administration."

I'm a U.S. citizen, and so I still think there's opportunity for all of us here — Rob Simpson

For Simpson, raising a young family in this climate has been a challenge.

"I've got a seven-year-old daughter growing up in America, I think about her future. We need to see major change in the leadership of this country," he said.

"It's going to be a long week, but I'm going to remain positive and hopeful that we can turn the corner."

Pennsylvania has said it will count mail-in ballots that arrive between now and Friday, as long as they are postmarked on election day or before. In Nevada, counting is being held off until noon Thursday.

'I do love this country'

Heidi Rankin is from the U.S. but spent about 30 years in Cape Breton and on P.E.I. before moving back 16 years ago.

"It's been a difficult time to be living in the U.S.," she said.

"It certainly has put in stark contrast my experience in Canada and my experience in the U.S. … I sort of yearn for that sense of a national sensibility in Canada, whereas in the States it's all, you know, every state for themselves and which creates, I think, quite a disparity in the country."

Rankin and her children are dual citizens and she said they fantasize about returning to Canada, though she has several tethers to her home in Colorado, like grandchildren and her 92-year-old mother.

Marie Morrissey/CBC News
Marie Morrissey/CBC News

"That keeps me connected to this space," she said. "But I hold onto hope that we're going to turn this around."

Simpson echoed Rankin's thoughts.

"After 20 years in the U.S., you know, it's not quite as easy to pick up and leave.… It's a question that I hear often, and as of late, it's been more common than not," he said.

"I do love this country. I love Canada. I love Prince Edward Island. I'm a U.S. citizen, and so I still think there's opportunity for all of us here."

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