News / USA

Voters in Appalachia Struggling to Identify With Presidential Candidates

Voters in Appalachia Struggling to Identify With Presidential Candidatesi
|| 0:00:00
X
Kane Farabaugh
September 02, 2012 7:27 PM
Outside the growing city of Charlotte, North Carolina - host to the 2012 Democratic National Convention - a different section of America watches. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh looks at how people who live just a few hours west of the convention, in the region known as Appalachia, view the political conventions, and the state of the race for President.

Voters in Appalachia Struggling to Identify With Presidential Candidates

Kane Farabaugh
KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Outside the growing city of Charlotte, North Carolina - host to the 2012 Democratic National Convention - a different section of America watches. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh looks at how people who live just a few hours west of the convention, in the region known as Appalachia, view the political conventions, and the state of the race for President.

Rural Roane County Tennessee sits in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.

"It's really the heart of the bible belt," says Gary Johnston of Roane County Tea Party. "A lot of churches."

Though not far from the Democratic National Convention in the neighboring state of North Carolina, retired musician Gary Johnston says the gap in views between those who live here, and those assembled to nominate President Barack Obama for a second term, are wide.

"I believe this country is doomed if this President is elected for four more years," he adds.

Johnston is not happy with President Obama's health care legislation, which requires more Americans to purchase health insurance or face penalties. He is also upset with stimulus programs put in place during the Presidents term in office. He is so passionately opposed to President Obama, that he joined fellow conservative activists to buy a billboard saying "Obama or America - You can't have both."

"It means that you can either have America as you know it, or you can choose to keep this President and America will forever be changed," he says.

“I think some of these things are near treasonous quite frankly,” says teacher Gloria Johnson, a Democrat, passes the billboard on her way into the nearby city of Knoxville, where she faces an uphill battle in her race for a seat in the Republican controlled Tennessee legislature.
 
“It is tough to be the underdog sometimes,” says Johnson.
 
In a part of the country where voters have recently elected more Republicans into state office, Johnson is hoping to get a boost from younger Democrats in Knoxville, like students at the University of Tennessee. But she knows that in order to win in November, she needs to win over some Republican voters.
 
“Most of my family are Republicans, and I don’t think that they feel Mitt Romney is somebody who represents them," says Johnson. "A lot of Tennesseans don’t feel like Mitt Romney represents them.”
 
Gary Johnston says many people throughout lower income Appalachian communities in East Tennessee don’t identify with the Republican nominee for President because Mitt Romney is wealthy and doesn't know what its like to be unemployed.

“I’ll begrudgingly vote for him, though I think he’s a good man,” said Johnston.
 
Johnston says he is starting to warm up to both Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan after watching television coverage of the Republican National Convention in Tampa which he said "humanized" the Republican ticket.
 
Gloria Johnson hopes the same happens for President Obama in Charlotte, where as a delegate from Tennessee, she plans to cast her vote for his nomination for a second term as President.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid