Meet the former Republican throwing her support behind Pete Buttigieg
“I’m really praying for the country that we leave behind for my children. That is my number one concern.”
Kristen Beinhower, a 45-year-old teacher living in Milton, Georgia, wouldn’t have considered voting for a Democrat in 2020 if it weren’t for Donald Trump
“I didn’t leave the Republican Party, the Republican Party left me,” says Beinhower, who is married with two kids, a 13-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old son, and manages a packed schedule.
And while a schedule like that could easily consume anyone’s entire daily energy and focus, Beinhower has been paying close attention to the 2020 campaign trail. She graduated from Rutgers with a degree in political science, and while she says she has long-held views that are in line with the Republican Party, she always believed in marriage equality and LGBT rights. When Trump was elected to the White House in 2016, she’d finally had enough.
“I used to be fairly staunchly Republican in my younger years, though I was always a socially liberal,” she says. “But come 2016, I think everything drastically changed. I don’t recognise the Republican Party it used to be. I feel like Donald Trump is the representation of the worst things in a lot of people. I believe that he’s a narcissist, I think he’s completely xenophobic and only driven by what’s good for him and not the whole of the country.”
Beinhower decided to vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016. “I wasn’t super excited about it, but I was excited for my daughter to see a woman as president,” she says, adding: “And she wasn’t Trump.”
Now, she says she views the next election as one of the most crucial in her lifetime. “I think the last three years have been very scary and every day gets scarier,” she says. “I’m really praying for the country that we leave behind for my children. That’s my number one concern.”
Fortunately for Beinhower, she sees at least one candidate in the Democratic primaries who might be up for the challenge of taking on Trump and beating him out of the Oval Office: Pete Buttigieg. “I love him,” she says of Buttigieg while laughing. “He’s definitely my number one. I think Pete is everything that this country needs and deserves right now: besides being incredibly intelligent and worldly, he served in the armed forces for his country, he is so well-spoken, he’s young, vibrant and has so many great ideas.”
Beinhower’s main focus when looking at the range of candidates is their stance on the issues. And for her, Buttigieg seems to check a lot of boxes. Whereas she’s concerned about the “viability” of the health insurance plans supported by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, she likes how Buttigieg has offered a plan that seeks to provide coverage to everyone who wants it, while still allowing the private insurance market to continue.
And though she has some questions about the specifics of the plan, Beinhower views healthcare as a “right, not a privilege.”
At this point, her mind is all but made up for the primaries. Still, Beinhower say she’s open to voting for a range of candidates when it comes to the general election. For now, however, she’s throwing her weight behind Buttigieg.
“In another era or environment I’d probably have such strong opinions on every single one of these candidates,” she says. “But today, I’m just looking for someone who return some level of normalcy to the office. Someone who will bring honor to our country. Someone who will repair all of the damage that has been done and help improve our civil discourse which has been so damaged.”
She concludes: “For me, that man is Pete.”
[read in full at Independent.co.uk]