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 Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid