OHIO, USA - Filipino-American Leandro Tapay, 76, doesn't like President Barack Obama. He doesn't like Mitt Romney either.
Tapay, who moved to the US in 1967, was originally a member of the Republican Party. But he said he was disappointed when he discovered that the party only cared for the rich. He said economic progress did not trickle down to those who needed it most.
"My problem with the Republicans is I feel like they are for the rich and social justice is not touched. The latest comment [of Romney] was very offensive - 47% of the people in the United States are depending on the government," Tapay told Rappler.
He also joined the Democratic Party, but was equally disappointed after the party "crossed the line" when it supported ideologies that went against his Catholic principles.
"I cannot vote for Democrats because of abortion and gay marriage. I think that is not the way how society is supposed to be. There are millions of unborn babies that have been killed. It's worse than Germany during the Nazis. I cannot vote for a party that espouses abortion and gay marriage," he said.
Tapay came to the US to study to become a Catholic priest, but he eventually changed his mind. He now serves as director of the Catholic Diocese of Columbus.
"I have nothing against gay people. But I think marriage is for man and wife. I think society, all along history, is based on strong family life. When you have to have a marriage that is not intended for procreation, it is against natural law," he added.
'Too much negativity'
Tapay is now among Ohio's independent voters who could move the needle in a dead heat presidential election.
Gauging from Obama's and Romney's schedules the past 3 months, they consider Ohio as more important than other swing states. They have visited Ohio countless times. They have spent millions on TV ads here. Their volunteers have been aggressively calling up voters.
But all these did not work for Tapay. He didn't like the intensity of negative campaigning by both camps.
"The campaign is very sickening. They try to destory. I would like to have a campaign that shows what they're going to do. I could not stand people destroying each other," Tapay said.
When Tapay gets calls from party volunteers, he tells them: "If you call me, I will go to the other party."
"It's really horrible. Annoying."
Early voting is allowed in Ohio. Three days ago, Tapay voted for the unknown Green Party, an independent group trying to challenge Obama and Romney. Tapay can't even recall the name of the candidates.
Tapay's sentiment is shared by many in Ohio.
The election will be held on Tuesday night (Manila time), November 6, but it can't be soon enough for Glenda Crawford. She's a member of the Democratic Party but even she can't stand the political ads on local television. Like Tapay, she disapproves of the negativity.
"I feel like most people feel. I’m sick to death by it. It’s just way too much. It doesn’t matter what party, what candidate. It’s way too negative," Crawford said.
"When it (pol ad) comes on, I either turn the TV off or leave the room. I’ll be glad when it’s over," she added.
But Crawford fears the madness won't be over by November 6. In a presidential race so tight, various scenarios have been raised, with some voters anticipating a delay in election results. - Rappler.com