News / USA

Obama Trying to Motivate Democrats for November Elections

President Barack Obama, accompanied by New Mexico Lt. Gov. Diane Denish, makes an unscheduled stop at Barelas Coffee House, which serves Mexican food,  in Albuquerque, New Mexico, 28 Sep 2010
President Barack Obama, accompanied by New Mexico Lt. Gov. Diane Denish, makes an unscheduled stop at Barelas Coffee House, which serves Mexican food, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, 28 Sep 2010

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +

In 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama won the U.S. presidency in large part because of strong voter turnout from young people, minorities, women and independents.  For this year's midterm congressional elections, analysts say that Democrats need to motivate those same groups to get out and vote again to retain their majorities in the House of Representatives and the Senate.  

Over the years, Democrats and Republicans have tended to face challenges in congressional midterm elections.  Voters typically turn out in smaller numbers than when they go to the polls to elect a president, and that places a priority on making sure that a party's core supporters vote.

This year, by all accounts, Republicans are energized to support their candidates, especially through activists loyal to the grassroots conservative Tea Party movement.

With that in mind, President Obama is spending more time trying to fire up core supporters in his Democratic Party to get out and vote on November 2, especially young people who played an important role in Mr. Obama's election victory two years ago.

The president recently spoke with university journalism students in a conference call from the White House.

"You can't sit it out," said President Obama.  "You can't suddenly just check in once every 10 years or so on an exciting presidential election and then not pay attention during big midterm elections, where we have a real big choice between Democrats and Republicans."

Mr. Obama was even more forceful in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, saying it would be inexcusable and irresponsible for Democrats to sit out the election.

Public opinion surveys suggest that Democrats need to do more to energize their base supporters, especially given that Republicans believe they have enough political momentum to win back control of the House and possibly the Senate.

California Representative Kevin McCarthy was among several Republicans who spoke when they unveiled their governing agenda for Congress known as the "Pledge To America" - a call for lower taxes and cuts in government spending.

"More than 60 percent of Americans believe our country is headed in the wrong path," said McCarthy.  "They are right.  The pledge is a governing agenda that we will pursue today in order to turn the country around and put us on the right track."

With surveys showing Republicans energized to vote in November, Democratic political strategists are urging the president to take a more active role in ensuring that groups that lean Democratic - like minority voters, younger voters and women voters - show up at the polls on Election Day.

Celinda Lake is a Democratic pollster and political strategist.  She says Democrats must rely on President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden to generate enthusiasm during the next several weeks.

"This is a powerful team to go mobilize the Democratic base," said Lake.  "I hope that they give the president a one-way [plane] ticket and he doesn't come back [to Washington from campaigning] until the elections because he can have an enormous influence out there, laying out our economic plan and also energizing Democrats.  And that is going to be a very, very important part of the equation."

But energizing Democratic voters could be a major challenge this year.  The public has a negative view of the economy, and that is reflected in weakening approval ratings for President Obama.

In addition, conservative and libertarian activists under the banner of the Tea Party movement are energized this year, urging voters to make a statement against the president's economic policies and against the Democratic majority in Congress.

John Fortier is a political analyst at the American Enterprise Institute here in Washington.

"In general, I think the atmosphere is greatly improved for Republicans by the Tea Party," said Fortier.  "A focus on economics and small government is good for the Republican Party.  And the voters who will come out to support their candidates will generally bring them to victory."

Democrats are spending a lot of time trying to motivate younger voters this year because, historically, they have been less likely to vote in congressional midterm elections than older voters.

This year, that could be a serious problem for Democrats, says pollster Celinda Lake.

"Younger voters are the most Democratic voters," said Lake.  "Seniors remain the toughest for us.  And if there is a story line in this election that is slightly different than the past, it is the animosity of seniors who will show up to vote."

The Tea Party movement is popular with many older voters who are upset about the size of government and who want to cut taxes and government spending.

Both major parties will be spending millions of dollars in the final weeks of this year's election campaign, hoping to persuade their core supporters to go to the polls on November 2.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid