“It’s football Saturday, the election is over!” shouts a petite woman as she hostilely stands from her bar stool, leaving the indoor smoke room. She was listening in on the conversation but what ignited her irritation to leave remains mysterious.
The room, along with the rest of the building, is paneled with wood and seems blurred from the smoke. There’s an ashtray that individuals frequently get up from their stools to ash their cigarettes in and then return to their seats to resume their thoughts out loud. They each have a beer in their hands that they sporadically sip, waiting for their turn to speak on what aggravated them during this election.
“I am tired of Hillary’s little b-tch as-. She should have been indicted. If we did half the crap she did, we would be in prison,” said Michael Jacobs, 63. “She has enough to bury her.”
Jacobs, a Donald Trump voter enthusiastic to express his opinions, didn’t take a seat all afternoon at Bob’s Bar, located in the historic downtown of Prairie du Chien, WI. It lies snuggled between the Mississippi River and the Rolling Bluffs. The town’s population is about 5,600 with almost 600 of them being veterans. It is a dominantly white community with about 93% white residents. Historically, Prairie du Chien is said to be Wisconsin’s second oldest town and was known for being the center of French fur trading. It’s also located in a county, Crawford, that dramatically flipped from President Obama in 2012 to Donald Trump in 2016, helping flip the state and country.
It’s halftime during the Wisconsin v. Purdue game, bringing a variety of sports fans to Bob’s Bar. It is a bar home of the latest jukebox and plenty of slot machines. There’s a pool table in the back of the bar alongside a foosball table. Six televisions circulate Bob’s along with a beer garden in the back. Though it was a sunny day, the bar was dark inside due to limited windows.
However, the bar held an array of characters with a diversity of attitudes toward the elections.
“The reason she (Hillary) lost is because she tried to buy the election,” said Jacobs. “Trump was correct when he said the system is rigged. It is rigged!”
Jacobs is an employee of a nearby prison where most of the inmates are from Milwaukee, WI. He was previously a logger and has always lived in Wisconsin. He plans to retire soon and go golfing in Arizona. Jacobs is in an oversized tan Carhartt jacket and a blue Brewers hat, his grey hair shined through the sides of his hat. He has rosy cheeks, glossy eyes, and a clean white beard. Although he voted for Trump, his favorite presidents were Roosevelt and Kennedy. He changed his opinion because he is upset and tired of the country’s political establishments.
“Trump won because of Sanders. Voters fell to Trump’s side,” said Jacobs. “The younger voters did because they are tired of the bullshit their parents are telling them. College kids are more liberal, but Hillary is a crook. Kids are smarter, they saw through it.”
A petite older woman with short hair and glasses piped in, “Well, young Republicans don’t cry.”
Her name is Judy Rousselow, she is friends with Jacob and seemed intrigued to express her frustrations.
“Journalists should be reporting, not taking sides,” said Rousselow. “NBC should’ve been excited and reporting, not looking sullen. Journalists should be journalists. TV and newspapers should not be biased and state their opinions.”
Suddenly a blonde in a jersey, Jenny Donlon, sat forward in her stool, “Let’s take care of our vets! How much money was spent on this election?”
“Money spent on the election plays a part in who wins,” said Rousselow from the other side of the smoke room.
Donlon is a middle-aged woman with a degree in dairy from Iowa State University. She was raised in a barn and grew up with cows, a passion that continues to be the biggest factor in her life and career.
“Have they even seen cows? Do they have any idea what is going on here in the Heartland?” said Donlon. “Corn and milk and beef prices are too low. It is horrible. Farmers are not making ends meet.”
“People are tired,” Jacobs chimed in. “Milk farmers are not making any money.”
“Nobody gives a sh-t about this place,” said Donlon out of irritation.
Donlon wrote in Betty White for president because she thinks White has more knowledge than
both Hillary and Trump. Donlon even unplugged her television so she didn’t have to hear the media talk about either candidate. As a 24/7, 365-day worker, it is evident Donlon is also drained by the country’s political establishment.
“Hey, hey,” said Jacobs requesting the attention be brought to him. “Make sure you write this down. The CIA killed JFK!”
With that, Jacobs left the conversation. With his absence, a new elderly man walked into the room. After listening in for a few minutes, the anonymous man decided to join in the booming conversation.
“We need to get rid of parties,” he said. “Whoever is our president should represent the United States. You’re not a Republican, you’re not a Democrat. You just represent the United States.” Donlon, like-minded, said, “This country is a little messed and they don’t even get it.”