News / USA

    Republicans Counting on Energized US Conservatives for November Election

    In U.S. politics, 2010 is shaping up to be a good year to be a conservative.  Poll ratings for President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress are down, and opposition Republicans are hoping that energized conservatives will carry the party to victory in the November congressional elections.  But the conservative movement is not monolithic.

    Grass roots conservatives were early and vocal opponents of President Obama's health care reform plan.  That grass roots anger against big government evolved into what is known as the tea party movement, a loosely-organized nationwide activist group that was inspired by the anti-tax tea protests just prior to the American Revolution.

    Former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin was the featured speaker at a national tea party convention last month.

    "The tea party movement is not a top-down operation," said Sarah Palin. "It is a ground-up call to action that is forcing both parties to change the way that they are doing business, and that is beautiful!"

    Republicans hope to benefit from the tea party activists in this November's congressional midterm elections.  In addition, Republicans who are considering a run for president in 2012 are also busy trying to line up supporters among various conservative groups including the tea party activists and religious conservatives.

    Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is a potential presidential contender who spoke at a recent meeting of conservative activists in Washington.

    "God is in charge.  God is in charge," said Tim Pawlenty. "It says we are endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights.  It does not say we are endowed by Washington, D.C., or endowed by the bureaucrats or endowed by state government.  It is by our creator that we are given these rights!"

    Christian conservative voters were important in the election victories of former President George W. Bush, but they showed less enthusiasm for Republican candidate John McCain in 2008.

    Although there is some overlap, tea party activists are most concerned with the role of the federal government, while religious conservatives are focused on social issues like abortion and gay marriage.

    All of these various voting blocs will have to be energized this year if Republicans are to realize their goal of taking back control of Congress.

    Many Republicans acknowledge the party's image suffered during the George W. Bush presidential years when congressional Republicans failed to follow through on conservative principles like cutting back on government spending.

    This is Republican Congressman Eric Cantor of Virginia:

    "We understand the country is fed up with the Democrats, but is not confident yet that we as Republicans will be any better," said Eric Cantor. "The people need to see our commitment to enact a reform agenda."

    Conservative Republicans have led the charge against President Obama's health care reform plan by depicting it as a massive government takeover of the health-care industry.

    The president and his Democratic allies in Congress have repeatedly accused Republicans of distorting the plan and playing on American's fears of big government.

    Mr. Obama complained directly during a meeting with House Republican members in January.

    "But if you were to listen to the debate and, frankly, how some of you went after this bill, you would think that this thing was some Bolshevik plot," said President Obama. "No, I mean, that is how you guys, how you guys presented it."

    Conservatives see their path back to power as principled opposition to the president on health care and other issues involving the role of government, like climate change legislation.

    Public-opinion polls suggest Republicans have an edge in intensity this year as the elections approach, and the growth of the tea party movement is likely to play a role.

    But the overall conservative movement is not monolithic, says University of Virginia political expert Larry Sabato.

    "The Republicans are very conflicted," said Larry Sabato. "They are fighting among themselves.  They are battling with the Tea Party activists and they are battling with some of their own base, which is more conservative than the congressional leadership.  Fortunately for the Republicans, they have President Obama as their target.  That will tend to unite their base, at least for this midterm election."

    Tea party activists plan to support a number of challengers in Republican primaries this year, including some candidates who are running against some well known names.  Arizona Republican Senator John McCain and Florida Governor Charlie Crist, who is running for the Senate, both face strong challenges from conservatives.

    This is Quinnipiac University pollster Peter Brown:

    "It is not clear how influential this tea bag movement will be in the Republican Party," said Peter Brown. "It makes good headlines and the media loves it.  But it is not clear whether they will be a destructive force within the Republican Party or they will be a helpful force for the Republican Party.  We will find that out when we start seeing election results next November and in November of 2012."

    Most political experts believe Republicans will gain congressional seats in November, and perhaps enough to take back control of one or both chambers of Congress.   


    Jim Malone

    Jim Malone has served as VOA’s National correspondent covering U.S. elections and politics since 1995. Prior to that he was a VOA congressional correspondent and served as VOA’s East Africa Correspondent from 1986 to 1990. Jim began his VOA career with the English to Africa Service in 1983.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    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.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora