High school classmates in Kalamazoo count with a divided country


Chris Kooi is, on paper, the kind of voter who helped Mr. Trump win Michigan in 2016: a white, non-academic, late-generation Xer man. In 2003, he moved from Kalamazoo to a rural county 20 miles east, the kind of place Mr. Trump turned the numbers up.

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Like many people, Mr. Kooi, 52 and director of sales at Spectrum Business, a telecommunications provider, has become more conservative with age. Mortgages, college payments for her two daughters, and bills affect her political calculation. “I once saw myself as more liberal, more open-minded,” said Mr. Kooi, a 1986 graduate of Loy Norrix. But later when he ran a business, “I realized that I probably shouldn’t be. “

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And yet, he also represents the kind of voter who has kept Michigan blue for so long: he voted for Clinton and Barack Obama (although he also voted for both Bushes).

So where does that put it in 2020? “I am very confused this election,” he said. He is baffled by Mr. Trump’s rhetoric, he said, and adds that the president’s economic policies have not particularly benefited his family. “His tax cuts have had a negative impact on me and my family,” he said. “Its cookie-cutter program allowed me to detail my tax returns and cost me money by eliminating write-offs I had taken before.”

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Still, he thinks the president can be better for the economy. “I don’t know what will happen to the economy here if Biden wins,” he said. “I don’t know if this will affect me, the middle class here.

Mr Kooi dismisses the president as much as he can, he said. But he internalized Mr. Trump’s blows at Mr. Biden’s acuteness. “What scares me about Biden,” Mr. Kooi said, “is that I think he’s starting to lose a bit.”

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