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

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

Arab League Delays Forming Joint Force

Delay grows out of one of original obstacles facing pan-Arab force, analysts say: 'They may agree on the principle, but they continue to argue about how to implement the project' More

Pakistan Demands Afghanistan Protect Its Kabul Mission, Staff

Officials in Islamabad say Afghan agents are harassing Pakistani embassy personnel, particularly those living outside of mission’s compound More

US Survey: Trump Lead Grows in Republican Presidential Contest

Quinnipiac University poll shows brash billionaire real estate mogul with 28 percent support among Republican voters 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs