On the road with voters and candidates in Pennsylvania

  • A Bernie Sanders supporter is pictured at the Bethlehem field office on opening day in Bethlehem, Penn., March 31, 2016.
  • (L & R) Bernie Sanders supporters are pictured at opening day of the Bethlehem Field Office in Bethlehem, Penn., March 31, 2016.
  • (L) Bernie Sanders supporters are pictured at opening day of the Bethlehem Field Office, Bethlehem, Penn., March 31, 2016. (R) Ken Burak, Philosophy Professor at Northampton Community College at the Bernie Sanders Bethlehem Field Office, Opening Day, March 31, 2016: “As a father of two kids, if I were to pick the thing that frightens me the most about America’s future – do I have to pick just one? – I’m nervous about environmental degradation, both on the large scale of climate change and on the more local scale of our waterways, fracking, our food supply. Environmental concerns are really close to me.”
  • Bernie Sanders Bethlehem Field Office, Opening Day Bethlehem, Penn., on March 31, 2016.
  • Brian Albaa, from New York N.Y., pictured on April 13, 2016: “As long as the government can convince people to give away their money in taxes, they can look like they are fixing the problem, short term, put more band-aids on it. The American business owner, the free-enterprise system is the reason that we were the great country that we were, and if you do not teach people how to be in business for themselves, how to own their own lives, how to get out of tyranny of the government, and actually pursue whatever it is that they want to pursue […] there is no politician talking about that any of that right now, it’s a circus.”
  • Tomas Shleiwet from New York, N.Y., April 13, 2016. “Lack of leadership, the government is selfish, forcing everyone to go to school […] and then just taking kids money and putting them in college debt for no reason. You know a lot of college degrees are not getting people jobs, and they still force kids to go and get $60,000 in debt, $70,000 in debt just to go to school. “Stop brainwashing people when they are young to go to college […] they force that mentality into you, that job mentality, everyone go get jobs, everyone go do that, and there is no leadership anyone. Especially in the 21st century. I mean, it is 2016, there are many different ways to create wealth or live your life. You don’t have to do what the government is telling you to do.”
  • Slices of American life Bethlehem, Penn., on April 13, 2016.
  • (L) Anthony Downing, production and maintenance technician, Bethlehem, Penn., April 13. “Watching the minimum wage be so low that you can’t even support a family or live. I know the argument that somebody posed to me last night was that it was supposed to be a student, you know a young person job, minimum wages but that is most of the job anymore because of the way that trade deals have gone or the lack of education, or the lack of people being able to pay for education. It has to do with all these things. […]There are a whole lot of things that scare me about this country’s future. I am not sure if there is one specific that could be more dangerous than others, they all kind of work together in a terrible, you know, concoction of destruction.” (R) Michele Downing, licensed social worker, Bethlehem, Penn., April 13.
  • Slices of American life Bethlehem, Penn., on April 13, 2016.
  • (L) Ed Eckstein, photographer, Easton, Penn., April 14, 2016. In conversation with Carl Martinez and Kevin Barton seen in the photograph on the right. (R) Kevin Barton, (left), Carl Martiniz, (right), Ed Eckstein, (front)
Carl Martinez: “American idealism is really world renowned, and I think that there is a definite huge population of people who are kind, you know, like thinkers and we know what the environmental issues are and I think they need to be given a voice, and I think if they were allowed to be given a voice, if our media wasn’t so clamped down it, we could be a brilliant country with a brilliant future.”
  • Kevin Barton (left), Carl Martinez (right) in conversation with Ed Eckstein (not pictured), Easton, Penn., April 14.
Carl Martinez: “We need to look to the future. We need to sort of re-invent ourselves because I think we have the potential to be great, and I think we are just living in a really dark time. We just happen to be living in a very narrow sliver of humanity.”
Ed Eckstein: “Oh, it’s the scariest times right now, its very scary out there”
  • Sarah Clark and Lilly, print and web designer, Easton, Penn. April 14. “I am worried about our nation’s financial stability. The current structure of how we are currently running, there are just so many people that need help in the United States, and the gap is only widening between the 1% and then the rest of the world. So if we get a leader in there that really doesn’t take that on as a major concern then I feel like the future is going to further widen that gap. […] I am concerned about bees right now and the pesticides that we use on the food…. water is going to be a concern, I think… It is going to be very much a commodity like oil, where the people that have it, are going to guard it and there may be wars over it because we need it to survive.”
  • Lilly (Sarah Clark’s cat) Print and Web Designer Easton, Penn., April 14, 2016.
  • (L) Jo Moranville (left), Easton, Penn., April 14. “On the national level, you can vote for the person that you think is going to most implement change that is going to shepherd both our society and our earth to a better place. Personally you can make a number of changes that are not destructive, you know, the more you learn about things that are destructive the more you can make changes to remove them from your life. We try to use less plastic, we try to recycle a little more, try to do some things that are renewable, try to be kind to people. Try to make our community pleasant, so that people have a good place to live. I think a happy community is a community that advances itself and takes care of itself. (R) Robert Oppen from Belvidere, N.J., April 14.
  • Slices of American life Bethlehem, Penn., on April 14, 2016.
  • Joseph Curtis Brewer. student, Bethlehem, Penn., is pictured at a Hillary Clinton debate watch party at College Hill Tavern in Easton, Penn., April 14, 2016. ” I hope to see friendliness [during the debate]. For the past weeks and months, we have been seeing the hatred… In the midst of our democratic disagreements, there can still be room for peace and tranquility. So I hope to see that both candidates, you know ease the harsh words, and debate the issue. That is what we want to hear, not the talks to hate and prejudice. Discuss the issue that the American people are faced with and move forward. After it is all said and done […] after November and January, the inauguration, we will all still be Americans, so you know there is no need to, because of the race, create animosity. So I hope to see a peaceful debate.”
  • Bernie Sanders Bethlehem Field Office Bethlehem, Penn., on April 16, 2016.
  • Drum Taylor, lawyer, pictured in the Bernie Sanders Bethlehem, Penn., field office April 16. “I have this faith in the United States being very resilient. […] There’s just too many good thinking people. There’s smart people, there’s people who like to do the right thing, who want to do the right thing. — As far as the United States is concerned, I think we’ve got too good an organization for anything too terrible to happen to it…The problem that we’ll always have with Americans is that the free lunch is just too tantalizingly close. We love the free lunch. […] Like the guy who finds the Caravaggio painting in the attic. Everyone wants to find the Caravaggio painting in the attic. […] I think that’s the only real trouble, when people think that they’ve got, as Americans –and probably any human beings– an end-around here.”
  • (L & R) Glimpses of America on a Saturday Afternoon College Track Meet Bethlehem, Penn., on April 16, 2016.
  • Laurie Rozelle, Bethlehem, Penn., April 16, 2016. “I can see some things possible bad might happen, and then I can see some things good that’s happening. And I’m looking at the positive side of things happening… It would be nice if we had another president that knew what they were doing. […] We lost a lot of jobs. A lot of people lost a lot of money. A lot of people got laid off.”
  • (L) Glimpses of America on a Sunday Afternoon with Erin Brock in Pen Argyl, Penn., on April 17, 2016. (L) Glimpses of America on a Sunday Afternoon Pen Argyl, Penn., on April 17, 2016.
  • Ron Saxon, Professional Engineer and Acoustic Guitar, Long Valley, N.J., on April 17, 2016. “What frightens me the most about America’s future is the descent into corporate fascism. That is, the subjugation of the People oriented Republic to serve the needs of international corporations. A parallel concern exists regarding the trend towards some world government (UN?) administering all Nations according to some fictitious World political consciousness. I do not believe that any centralized government can serve the diverse needs of the People of the World. I believe that local control, combined with an overarching loosely coalescing government, can (and has been shown to) best govern. In short, the kind of government that the writers of our Federal Constitution envisioned… There is no candidate of my choice, I am not interested in the right/wrong power games being played by the two dominant political parties…”
  • Jame Gloria, Founder/Artistic Director, Totts Gap Art Institute, Bangor, Pennsylvania, April 17, 2016. “First, let me say I’m generally an optimist about most things, so ‘frighten’ might be a too strong a sentiment. That being said, there are clearly things in our country’s past that haven’t been fully come to terms with; racism, income inequality, our military-industrial complex, and foreign policy. I think many of our problems stem from unfairness in our economic system. Race has been used historically by the ruling class in a machiavellian way to undermine the collective power of labor… Here we are in the 21st century with stagnant wages, a disappearing middle class, working poor struggling to survive in the midst of obscene wealth in the hands of not the 1% but the one tenth of 1%.”
  • Mouse, Maintenance Technician, Stockertown, Penn., April 19, 2016. “The whole financial system. It’s basically grown old. It needs to be updated, right from the ground up, ‘cause it’s gonna fall apart sooner or later, if it already hasn’t. That’s part of the problem…There would have to be a total [restructure] of the income tax. […] With the electronic age and everything else going on, some of the stuff in there I do not consider applicable, but people still use it to get tax breaks and stuff like that. […] I’d say too many people misuse it, period.”
  • Slices of American Life: Denny and Trinity Horvath, roofer in Hellertown, Penn., during a family ritual; spring haircut, on April 3, 2016.
  • Scenes in Bethlehem, Penn., on 16 April 2016

of

Updated

The 2016 presidential contenders made their way across Pennsylvania to sway voters in advance of the April 26 primary this week.

On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders needs a win to prevent Hillary Clinton from making gains that could further imperil his candidacy. An NBC/WSJ/Marist poll released Sunday found Clinton ahead of Sanders in the state, 55 percent to 40 percent. Clinton only needs to win 29 percent of the remaining delegates to win the nomination. For the Republicans, Ted Cruz and John Kasich have the task of trying to obstruct Donald Trump in a state where he has overwhelming support. The same poll shows the businessman beating Cruz by 18 points, 45 percent to 27 percent, with Kasich in third place at 24 percent. Trump holds a 286-delegate lead over Cruz, with Kasich trailing far behind.

The five candidates stumped in the state, talking to Pennsylvanians about the concerns they have for their families, their jobs and the fate of their country. Photographer Larry Fink captured those moments.

Carl Martinez, an industrial designer hailing from Easton, Pennsylvania, expressed the voters’ overarching sentiment: “We need to look to the future,” he said. “We need to sort of re-invent ourselves because I think we have the potential to be great … We just happen to be living in a very narrow sliver of humanity.”

Bill Welsh, also a resident of Easton who works in property management, said of the candidates that “each one has a good factor about them, but then each one has that terrifying factors.”  Several voters pointed to a “selfish” government as the source of their woes, and some maintained that they were worried about the nation’s financial stability. Overall, voters told Fink that they were worried about a range of complex issues, including the environment, bailouts, and income inequality. 

These photographs were shot on assignment by Fink for MSNBC Photography

For more feature photography, go to msnbc.com/photography

Speak Out