From apathy to terror: St. John's residents weigh in on unfinished U.S. vote count

·3 min read

As the U.S. presidential race drags on with votes still being counted in battleground states, residents in a province far, far away are feeling the impact.

CBC News spoke to dozens of bystanders in downtown St. John's Wednesday, asking how the U.S. election had affected their lives.

Some said they were too nervous to watch. Others just wanted it over with. Still more said they didn't follow politics at all.

Stephen Parsons isn't too invested emotionally, but politically speaking, he's of two minds.

"I was kind of thinking that [President Donald] Trump would win it, and I woke up this morning to see [Democratic candidate] Joe Biden had the lead — I was kind of surprised to see that," he said.

From an American perspective, "I think Trump should win. I think he's a good leader," Parsons said.

Malone Mullin/CBC
Malone Mullin/CBC

"I feel he has good relations with the other leaders, and I feel like he's a good businessman … if people took their blinders off they would realize that."

The incumbent president is so adept, in Parsons' opinion, that from a Canadian perspective, he'd actually rather see Biden in office.

"I feel like Trump actually takes advantage of [Prime Minister Justin] Trudeau, to an extent," he said.

'Feeling the pressure'

Hannah Baker, unlike Parsons, said her nerves hadn't eased throughout the morning.

"Definitely a little stressed. This election especially is really important, and it's going to affect Canada in a lot of different ways," she said. "So I'm definitely feeling the pressure."

Baker's ideal outcome would be a Democratic win. "I don't want another four years of Trump," Baker said.

Malone Mullin/CBC
Malone Mullin/CBC

"A lot of his policies are against a lot of my friends," she said, referencing people of colour and members of the LGBT community, especially.

"Laws that are going to affect those people in the U.S. are obviously going to affect people in Canada in some way."

On Wednesday, she was mostly trying to take her mind off that possible outcome.

"I'm just going to try to put it out of my mind for a bit. There's not really anything I can do about the situation," she said.

Sense of helplessness

Others, also watching from afar, revealed the same sense of frustration at being unable to participate.

For Finley Fleming, policy changes would directly impact his American friends living in the U.S.

"Trump's and Biden's policy differences affect them in a lot of different ways," Fleming said. "Their stances and standpoints related [to] LGBT people, taxes — and company taxes — things like that."

Malone Mullin/CBC
Malone Mullin/CBC

Fleming stayed up, glued to election coverage, until about 1 a.m. NT Wednesday, then awoke in a bit of a panic later in the morning. It's something he's keeping a wary eye on, but despite his investment, he too feels like an outsider.

"It's definitely a weird position to be Canadian in all of this. Because so much of media is centred around US politics, you know, I've seen 'make sure to vote' things on Instagram for months. I can't really do that," he said.

"Canada kind of follows America in a lot of different ways, so it definitely affects trade, tariffs, all that stuff … so it's definitely something people need to keep up with."

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