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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs