News / USA

Voter Anger Becomes Major Factor in US Elections

U.S. Senator John McCain survived a Republican primary challenge in Arizona on Tuesday.  Senator McCain was the Republican Party's presidential candidate in 2008, but may count himself lucky this year in an election climate that features voters angry with incumbent politicians from both parties. 

2010 is shaping up as the year of the angry voter, and incumbent politicians from both parties are taking notice.

The latest example of voter anger is playing out in New York City over the controversial plan to build a mosque and Islamic center near the site of the 2001 terrorist attacks in lower Manhattan.

What is behind the anger?

The reasons for the anger vary, but much of it is related to the national economy.  High unemployment, a weak housing market and growing pessimism about the future create the kind of frustration that leads to demands for political change in Washington.

Rusty is from Texas, and many things make him angry this year, especially the way President Barack Obama is running the country. He is a member of the Tea Party, which is not a political party, but a movement of grassroots conservatives unhappy with President Obama, the power of the federal government, government spending and the growing national debt.

Mike Harvey is a truck driver from Arizona.  He is angry too and is counting on the Tea Party movement to help elect new members of Congress in the November elections.

"I hope they grow some legs and I hope they get something done before this place turns into Venezuela or Cuba," he said. "They might have health care, but go ask them how they like it.  And I think that if Obama gets his way, he is going to turn this place into Cuba and I do not want to see it."

President Obama's push for health-care and financial reform has also sparked a conservative backlash against the role of the central government in the everyday lives of Americans, says Quinnipiac University pollster Peter Brown.

"Only two percent of voters think that the government does the right thing almost all of the time.  And only another 16 percent say government does the right thing most of the time.  That is a pretty damning indictment of the government and its ability to do the right thing from the American people," said Brown.

The rise of the Tea Party has also sparked some anger on the left from people who see the movement as racist and intolerant.

This man, who chose not to give his name, argued with Tea Party supporters at a rally in Washington. "And I just do not get what makes the Tea Party tick," he said. "I do not understand it.  They think they are Americans.  They think they are upholding the Constitution, and they are literally suggesting that violent acts be undertaken against the government?"

There is also frustration among Democrats that President Obama has not been able to deliver the kind of change and reform he promised during the 2008 presidential campaign.

Liberal Discontentment

Longtime consumer advocate and four-time independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader tells VOA he is aware of liberal discontent with the president and is considering another run for the White House in two year's time.

"Every day people say, well, we misjudged him, he is disappointing us.  Where is the hope and change?  I think they are focused very much on his similar policies in foreign and military affairs with George W. Bush," he said.

Come November, voters are likely to take out their frustrations about the economy on President Obama and the Democrats who run Congress, says longtime observer Tom DeFrank of the New York Daily News.    

"He knows that he and his party are in big, big trouble in the November midterm elections," he said. "They are going to get clobbered.  The real question is, are they clobbered to a sufficient degree that they lose one or both houses of Congress?"

Voter anger has long been a staple of U.S. elections.  Conservative anger against President Bill Clinton helped to fuel the Republican takeover of Congress in 1994.  Democrats and independents unhappy with President George W. Bush turned the tables on the Republicans by taking back control of Congress in 2006 and then electing Mr. Obama president in 2008.  

A growing number of political analysts believe voter anger this year could propel Republicans to take control of the House of Representatives and possibly even the Senate, which would have a huge impact on President Obama's ability to govern and pass legislation in Congress during the next two years.

You May Like

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor 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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More