Judging by a recent poll of a handful of local voters, few people want to venture a guess as to what will happen in the country's next presidential election.

“I’m hesitant to make predictions, especially so far out from the actual election. I do predict lots of mud-slinging,” said Philip Attebery, 54, a Jacksonville Republican.

He continued saying that he “would like to see President Trump re-elected.”

“Admittedly, he is 'rough around the edges' and I would like to see some of that smoothed out over the remainder of his time in office,” Attebery said.

Area resident Eugene Crawford, 77, also a Republican, agreed that President Donald Trump should be re-elected. Crawford was confident in his opinion.

“President Trump will win by the largest margin in history,” Crawford said.

Jacksonville Democrat Loretta Doty said she didn't want to make an predictions about the next presidential election, but she hopes the person elected will be able to work with both parties.

“We need to lessen the division in the country. A house divided against itself cannot stand. We can all have different opinions and still be able to sit at the same table. Being a Democrat or a Republican shouldn’t mean that we are sworn to be mortal enemies,” Doty said.

Speaking of being on different sides, Crawford said he thinks the impeachment inquiry on Trump is just to make it look like the president has committed a crime.

“The Democrats have been trying to reverse the 2016 election, so they have been putting the word 'impeachment' out there,” he said.

Doty said the inquiry is just that … an inquiry.

“If the inquiry determines there isn’t credible information, then the process will end,” she said.

So, what about Trump's challengers in the 2020 election?

Attebery said he thinks Elizabeth Warren may be the candidate who emerges from the Democratic candidates to face Trump.

“However, I wonder if a Bernie Sanders and AOC (U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) duo is not in the works due to her recent endorsement,” Attebery said.

Crawford said even though she isn't currently a candidate, that he thinks Michelle Obama could step into the ring as a challenger.

Doty said she was undecided which Democratic candidate may end up challenging Trump.

Other questions answered by Attebery, Crawford and Doty include:

What do you think would be the best way to stop gun violence in our country? Gun control or better enforcement of current laws, possibly?

ATTEBERY: The best way to stop gun violence is for people’s hearts to be made righteous. Violence of any kind originates from hatred and anger on the inside. Additionally, I would like to see what genuine enforcement of current gun laws would do. Sometimes it seems like laws are passed without any real intention of following through.

CRAWFORD: You can't stop gun violence by disarming the citizens of the country.

DOTY: Gun control or better enforcement of current laws, possibly? I think it is going to take both. We should continue to enforce current laws relating to the purchase of a firearm or the illegal use of a firearm. We should expand gun control to restrict the purchase assault rifles that are commonly used in mass shootings. Although we have the right to bear arms, most of us don’t need multiple assault weapons to hunt or to protect our homes and family.  

The Affordable Healthcare Act requires everyone to have health insurance, and many people are reliant on government healthcare today. Is there anything about government healthcare that you think should change?

CRAWFORD: Except for Medicaid and Medicare, the government should get out of the healthcare business and turn it over to the private sector.

DOTY: I would like to see improvements to the reporting requirements. I work in Human Resources in the public sector. Our institution already offered benefits that generally complied with the Act. The reporting requires some time and effort to monitor and compile. I do support the ACA. After my parents divorced, my mother worked hard to provide for us. She worked multiple jobs, but for most of my formative years, we did not have medical insurance. The cost of an insurance premium would have caused a bill to go unpaid. We were blessed that none of us had any serious illnesses or needed hospitalization. The ACA helps people like my family, as well as the self-employed or those with preexisting conditions.  

Do you think our country would benefit from a border wall? Why or why not?

ATTEBERY: I do think the country could benefit from a border wall in that it would result in decreased illegal crossing. I would much prefer to see current immigration laws enforced and supported with adequate resources rather than having a wall. I would rather be able to look across the Rio Grande and see Mexico than look at a wall.

CRAWFORD: Yes. A country without borders is no country.

DOTY: No, I don’t. I don’t think it is symbolic of the principles and truths upon which this country was founded. It is a symbol of division – of good versus bad or worthy versus unworthy. Immigration can’t be solved by a wall. The expense of building outweighs any benefit that it represents.

How do you feel about sanctuary cities that proclaim themselves as a sanctuary from abortion?

ATTEBERY: I very much appreciate the support for life.

CRAWFORD: Abortion is wrong, and I think abortion should be illegal.

DOTY: State law supersedes municipal law, so a city can’t make any law that opposes a state law. Just as a state cannot make a state law that specifically opposes a federal law.  

Are there any other issues that you feel are important to the 2020 election?

ATTEBERY: I think this election may come down to the “fundamentals” of our nation. Fundamentally and historically, terms like republic and democracy have described us. It seems like terms related to socialism have become more popular. Remaining true to the Constitution’s original intent is important. Fundamental change from that concerns me.

CRAWFORD: Our economy, which as been much better since President Trump has been in office. I think President Trump should continue to be our President.

DOTY: Access to affordable higher education. Technology is eliminating many jobs. The need for a higher skilled workforce is growing. Machines have the capability to clean floors with a touch of a button. We have self-navigating cars, self checkout, electronic inventory machines, online shopping and automated production lines. All are jobs which people could perform without extensive training.

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