Virgil Kahl believes America is in “breathtaking” danger: It’s deeply in debt.
For Kahl, a voter in the critical swing state of Pennsylvania, America’s $19 trillion hole is the decisive issue of the election.
“What’s happening with the debt is a real concern,” Kahl told CNNMoney at her home about an hour outside Philadelphia. “I don’t want us to turn into something like Japan.”
Kahl was raised in a blue-collar family where money was an obsessive worry. Now she’s a successful business owner who lives in a gated community. Until a few weeks ago, she was frustrated at both parties and not planning to vote.
“Now I am actually leaning Donald Trump,” she says, largely because she thinks his business experience will help the economy.
Out of more than 80 voters CNNMoney spoke to in key swing states last month, only a few pointed to U.S. debt as a key concern. Those who did were white, and most live in gated communities. They plan to vote for Trump despite the fact that his plans would massively increase the debt.
“I think it really scares us that we’re staring at $20 trillion in debt, not knowing how our grandchildren will repay it,” says Bob Kuck, a retiree living in a gated community in Sarasota, Florida.