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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid