Political Conversation In a California Coffee Shop

A month ago my wife and I spent several weeks in Coronado, California.  The purpose was for her fulfill an eighteen-month consulting and coaching contract with a public school district in the coastal mountains – a two-hour drive away.  For me it was to escape the long Minnesota winter, and enjoy the little city’s patriotism from the nearby San Diego Naval Base and North Island Naval Air Station, and my favorite, the Amphibious Warfare School, where the US Navy trains their SEALS, and restaurants honor the elite graduates by offering them free meals.

During one of my wife’s travels I had breakfast alone at the Panera Bread Company, on Orange Avenue, the little town’s main drag.  It was filled with military, tourists and vacationers.

In the booth next to mine were two well dressed, forty-something aged women.   One was speaking more loudly than necessary, as if wanting to be heard by others in the restaurant.  At the end of one lengthy rant, I heard her comment, “Well, no one can argue that women failed to warn everyone about Trump, and they were right when they told everyone we need Hillary to win.”

About ten minutes later I got up to leave.  My wife tells me, “You talk to everyone,” which is true, and I couldn’t resist that morning.

ME: Stopping by their booth, I said (paraphrase), “Hi.  I was as sitting over there, close by and heard your discussion about how women wanting Hillary to win, and warned everybody.  I just wondered if you had a comment about how men voted?”

TALKER: “Yes, that vote was pretty even.”

ME: (Smiling and nodding) “Well, not really.”

TALKER: “What do you mean?”

ME: “Well, Hillary got about 41% of the men’s vote, about the same percent that Trump got of the women’s vote.  And the women’s vote was further split.  Trump won both the white women’s and married women’s vote by a small margin.  Hillary won just the single women, and the minority women vote.  Black women and men both voted about 93% for Hillary.”

TALKER’S FRIEND: “Why are you saying this?”

ME: “Because I thought you’d be interesting in my view that this wasn’t a gender, or man vs women vote, but a marital status and racial culture vote.”

TALKER: “That’s all crap.  Why don’t you mind your own business?”

ME: (Smiling again) “My wife would say that’s a good question.  Have a good day.”

Jim Van Houten