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US Midterms Elections (VOA Connect Ep 40)


EPISODE 40 AIR DATE 10 19 2018


OPEN ((VO/NAT)) ((Banner)) The Midterm Elections

((SOT)) I don’t care who you vote for. Go vote. Go exercise your right to vote. That’s all that matters to me. ((Animation Transition)) ((Banner))

The issues

((SOT)) I think people in North Dakota just wanted to say we are done, we are over it, move on, there is more pressing matters that we need to talk about in our state. ((Animation Transition)) ((Banner)) Politics and the Brain

((SOT)) Certainly emotion can get in the way of making rational decisions but I think it’s important to remember that emotion is there because it’s one of the strategies that life has developed for protecting us. ((Open Animation))


EXPLAINER / MIDTERM ELECTION ((ANIMATION W/ GFX, CAPTIONS)) Republicans now control the presidency and both houses of Congress. They can pass legislation without support from the Democratic Party. They also perform legislative oversight over the executive branch: their party’s president and his administration.

Things would change if the midterm elections put Democrats in control of either house of Congress. If Democrats win, the Trump administration’s legislative agenda could slow or stop. Immigration reform, border security, health care, and social programs are in the balance.

((Banner: The Issues)) ((PKG)) NORTH DAKOTA

((Banner: The Economy)) ((Reporter: Katherine Gypson))

((Camera: Adam Greenbaum))

((Adapted by: Philip Alexiou)) ((Map: Fargo and Kindred, North Dakota)) ((Banner: North Dakota boasts the second lowest unemployment rate in the nation at 2.4%)) ((NATS)) ((Brad Ruhro, Legacy Toys))

I can’t speak for everyone but we’re seeing a continual uptick in customers that we’re bringing in. When the economy is doing better, they’re able to spend more on entertainment and fun. So, that’s what we see. We’re hiring. It’s a very competitive market. There’s a lot of jobs being offered out there especially in the retail sectors. So, we try to stand out and we’re a very fun and exciting place to work at and we try to do lots of employee programs that encourage all of that with just how we operate to attract the talent that we’re looking for.


((Teresa Ervasti, Waitress))

I’m a waitress. I’ve never done better myself so, spending more, giving more, enjoying life.

((Banner: But, the trade war with China is causing anxiety for farmers and some small business owners in rural areas)) ((Monte Peterson, North Dakota Soybean Council)) My name is Monte Peterson. My wife and I farm 4,000 acres (1,618 hectares) here in Burns County, North Dakota. We’re at a difficult time and understanding if we’re going to have a market for this crop of soybeans and in North Dakota we have a particular concern with the tariffs that have been placed by China. You know crop that doesn’t get delivered to market doesn’t generate income. ((NATS))

((Mary Lee Nielson, Owner, Quilted Ceiling)) We are so dependent on agriculture in North Dakota and this is an agriculture community. So, if we have problems with agriculture, it’s reflected in our small stores. It’s very scary right now. I can see where a lot of farmers don’t want to spend money at this time on anything that’s not necessary because they don’t know what their income’s going to be this year with what’s going on with politics. ((NATS)) ((Mary Lee Nielson, Owner, Quilted Ceiling)) People that I know when they go in to vote, they look at the issues, they look at the people and how they stand on the issues. ((NATS))

((PKG)) HAZLETON, PA ((Banner: Immigration)) ((Reporter: Aline Barros))

((Camera: Adam Greenbaum)) ((Adapted by: Gabrielle Weiss)) ((Map: Hazleton, Pennsylvania)) ((NATS)) ((Banner: Hazleton, Pennsylvania has a rapidly rising Hispanic population)) ((Frank DeAndrea, Former Hazleton Police Chief)) Hazleton has always been my home. I watched Hazleton transform as a Pennsylvania State Police Trooper. Fear is an ugly thing. And it doesn’t really happen to a human being. It happens to a community where a community becomes so afraid, they can’t move forward. ((Banner: Immigration is a heated issue in this year’s Congressional race)) ((NATS)) I’m a volunteer for the Republican Party and are you planning to vote on the midterms?

((Connie Cramey, Republican Candidate Supporter, Greater Hazleton Area)) When I knock on doors, Lou Barletta gets a welcome. He supports very much my president, Donald Trump’s agenda: law and order, and hopefully we can work to send him as a senator to Washington. ((NATS)) ((Connie Cramey, Republican Candidate Supporter, Greater

Hazleton Area)) Well, I hear a lot about immigration. I hear a lot about integration. I believe that if the Latino or Hispanic community wants to be part of the America, first of all, you’ve got to come here legally, get the jobs, learn English. And I don’t see that as anything as discriminatory or racist. ((NATS)) ((Amilcar Arroyo, Resident, Greater Hazleton Area; Publisher of El Mensajero Newspaper)) We have people, Latino people, and they are Republican which is not bad. I was at the beginning a Republican and believe me, I still been a Republican in my heart, with the same philosophy of the Republicans. But when the Republicans went too far to the right, that’s no good. That’s no good. You have to have compassion for the new people. You have to be understanding of the new people. You have to understand diversity. The society’s changing and we can’t forget that Hazleton was diverse 100 years ago. ((NATS)) ((Dorothy George, Resident, Greater Hazleton Area)) Keep in mind that we have a lot of Irish, a lot of Italians, and they all, years ago, came here as immigrants and they did get along, but they each had their own section of the city. But eventually they learned to get along with each other, yes. So, I think it’s just going to take some time. ((NATS)) ((Amilcar Arroyo, Resident, Greater Hazleton Area; Publisher of El Mensajero Newspaper)) We have to get more involved in local politics. We need to see the politics and the politicians and the elections in this area, in Hazleton.


((PKG)) ABORTION ((Banner: Abortion)) ((Reporter: Katherine Gypson))

((Camera: Adam Greenbaum))

((Adapted by: Martin Secrest)) ((Map: Fargo, North Dakota)) ((Locater: Red River Women’s Clinic)) ((Banner)) President Trump’s pro-life policies get strong support from voters in

North Dakota. Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp faces a reelection challenge from Republican Congressman Kevin Cramer. ((NATS))

((TAMMI KROMENAKER, RED RIVER CLINIC)) North Dakota has some of the most restrictive laws in the country and has for many, many years. Obtaining an abortion in North Dakota, there’s only one clinic. So, women from the western part of the state have to travel hours to get here, to get to the only clinic that there is. They have to navigate waiting periods. They have to receive state materials. There’s just a lot of barriers.

((NATS)) ((JOHN TRANDEM, NORTH DAKOTA REPUBLICAN OFFICIAL)) We’ve got very outspoken management at the Fargo abortion clinic, and we’ve got very outspoken citizens in the pro-life community, not only with Lutherans for Life, but with the Catholic Church and many of the other evangelical churches who participate as well. We’ve got very pro-life legislators, both Republican and Democrat, and so the battle rages on, but North Dakota’s been at the forefront of that and passed a lot of landmark legislation that has been emulated by other states. ((NATS)) ((TAMMI KROMENAKER, RED RIVER CLINIC)) So, North Dakota is a very conservative state, but back in 2014, when we had a so-called ‘Personhood’ (anti-abortion) ballot measure, on the general election, North Dakota voters overwhelmingly turned that down, and people stood up, and there was only one district in the entire state that voted for it. Every other district, it was overwhelmingly against it. ((NATS)) ((JOHN TRANDEM, NORTH DAKOTA REPUBLICAN OFFICIAL)) This is a very strong Donald Trump state. That’s no secret to Heidi Heitkamp. It’s no secret to Kevin Cramer, who is a long time, early, early supporter of President Trump. Donald Trump is very popular in North Dakota. Heidi Heitkamp has been touting her, ‘I vote with Donald Trump 50 percent of the time.’ I’m not positive why people would vote for her because she votes with Donald Trump 50 percent of the time, when we have a congressman who votes with Donald

Trump 90 percent of the time. So, I understand that she’s trying to draw the more moderate voters in, but the reality is North Dakota doesn’t have a ton of moderate voters. North Dakota has a lot of very hard conservatives, and a few, very hard Democrats. ((NATS)) TEASE ((VO/NAT)) Coming up ((Banner)) Broadening the Mainstream ((SOT)) And to see, you know, these women potentially elected to the Congress of the United States is a huge statement.


BLOCK B ((Banner: The Voters))


Want to win an election?? Then get more votes.

In countries like the U.S. where voting is not compulsory,

many groups want citizens to cast ballots on election day.

They employ strategies to Get Out the vote.

Some nonpartisan organizations encourage everyone to register and go to the polls.

Numerous studies show personal contact is a good way to motivate voters.

Telephone outreach by volunteers or professionals can also be effective.

Robo calls and direct mail are not very effective.

Experts believe social media influences voter turnout, but scientific studies have not yet arrived at consensus on the amount of impact.

((PKG)) YOUTH VOTE ((Banner: Young Voters)) ((Reporter/Camera: Esha Serai)) ((Adapted by: Aisha Henderson)) ((Map: Houston, Texas)) ((NATS)) ((Banner: Young volunteers and voters have come out to support Texas senatorial candidates Beto O’Rourke and Ted Cruz at their respective rallies.))

((Elvonte Patton, Founder, The Young and The Politics))

I’m actually not volunteering, per se, for Beto’s campaign, but I am volunteering to make sure that young people get out to vote. And I think it’s very important for young people to get out to vote because this is their country as well. One thing we have to do is, we have to get younger people involved, even to run, because when you see someone your age running, it motivates you. It lets you know, “well, I can do that too.” And if you don’t see it, you’re not motivated. ((NATS)) ((Beto O’Rourke, Democratic Candidate)) I would never ask any young person to vote for anyone if no one has shown up to find out what’s on their mind, what’s important to them, to hear about the most important issues in this country from their perspectives. It is the power of people and the force of the leadership of young people specifically, that has pulled us within contention and will bring us over the finish line ahead of everyone else and ahead for this country, for this state, for their generation, and every generation that follows.

((NATS)) ((Tony Villarreal-Dowlearn, O’Rourke Supporter))

You know, whenever we have people incarcerated for minor drug offenses, and we’re leading the nation right now in those incarcerations, you know, I think that’s a fundamental problem that today’s youth has seen but no politician before has addressed. This is our chance to turn Texas blue finally, once and for all. ((NATS)) ((Ted Cruz, Republican Senator))

So I believe in maximum mobility for people with nothing being able to achieve everything. ((NATS)) ((Karl Schmidt, Cruz Supporter))

I’ve always really loved Cruz himself. I remember back in 2014, the first time I met him actually. He came to my high school and he gave a talk to my high school. I don’t know, he just felt like a really real guy. He was just really able to relate to people and I like that.

((John White, Cruz Supporter)) Well the main thing is the commitment to the Constitution. I’ve admired Ted Cruz for that for a long time.

((Ted Cruz, Republican Senator)) The strength of our campaigns have always been among young people. When I ran the first time for Senate in 2012, we had enormous support from young people, from high school students and college kids and young professionals working hard, volunteering, helping lead the campaign.

((Elvonte Patton, Founder, The Young and The Politics)) I don’t care who you vote for. Go vote. Go exercise your right to vote. That’s all that matters to me. Party lines at this moment in time don’t matter. If you look at the research, young people don’t care about Democrats or Republicans. But we have to get them out to vote and show that they don’t care and go vote for the best candidate out there.

((Banner: The Candidates (Well, A Couple of Them) ))

((PKG)) MUSLIM AMERICAN CANDIDATES ((Banner: Muslim American Women)) ((Reporter/Camera: Kane Farabough)) ((Adapted by: Philip Alexiou)) ((Map: Minneapolis, Minnesota Detroit, Michigan)) ((NATS)) ((Rashida Tlaib, Congressional Candidate, Michigan)) I want to thank all of you so much. This is a lot of hard work. Did you win? Yes.

((Ilhan Omar, Congressional Candidate, Minnesota)) We’re going to Washington everyone.

((NATS)) ((Rashida Tlaib, Congressional Candidate, Michigan))

This win would mean so much more than just a seat in Congress. It is a powerful message. ((Lawrence Jacobs, Professor, University of Minnesota))

This is a message to Washington to get ready for a new generation.

((Alvin Tillery, Professor, Northwestern University))

And to see these women potentially elected to the Congress of the United States is a huge statement. At the same time, you know, they are in sections of the country that have a greater degree of tolerance for different ethnicities and religions. ((NATS)) And they also have higher than average Muslim population in these districts.

It’s tempting to see Omar’s election as a kind of referendum on where America is on immigrants and on Muslims but I think that would probably be a stretch.

((Rashida Tlaib, Congressional Candidate, Michigan)) I had one of my campaign managers leave a non-profit organization. The woman said, you know, really sorry to see you leave and Diana said, “Oh, don’t worry about me. I am going to actually work for the first Muslim woman ever elected in the Michigan legislature. I am super excited.” And she said, “They are in our government?”

((Lawrence Jacobs, Professor, University of Minnesota))

Around America, it may seem odd that one of the whitest states in the country would be sending its second Muslim to Congress, but not so in Minnesota. The 5th Congressional district has a strong Muslim-Somali community. It’s also a very progressive community and there has been a push within the Democratic party in Minnesota, but particularly in the Minneapolis area to diversify and welcome new voices.

((Osama Siblani, Publisher, Arab American News)) And if she runs only on the platform that she is a Muslim, they’ll never win. They are not making a deal out of that. The public is making a deal out of that. And that’s okay. It’s okay because when John Kennedy ran, you know, everybody thought, this is the first Catholic that, would he make it to the White House? And he did. When Barack Hussein Obama ran, they said, this is the first African

American. Would he make it? Are the African Americans enough voters to elect an African American? No. But did he make it to the White House? Yes, twice. ((NATS)) And if you could please say, I do, after I finish.

((Alvin Tillery, Professor, Northwestern University)) This is the quintessentially American story. It’s the story of, you know, Irish immigrants and Italian immigrants, Polish immigrants. It’s just playing out with different religion and ethnicities and that’s what America is supposed to be about. ((Osama Siblani, Publisher, Arab American News)) You have to believe that in America, anything can happen. The American dream is alive not only in private life and business, but also in public life. And like Obama came and became the President, like Trump became the President, there is a day in time where a person like Rashida Tlaib may seek the Presidency and they win. I believe in that. I truly believe that America is a place where things like this can happen.

((Ilhan Omar, Congressional Candidate, Minnesota)) So many innocent people always have to pay.

((Khalid Mohamed, Minneapolis Voter)) As a refugee, she had experienced the struggles of being a refugee and the vetting process and something that Donald Trump not understood quite well. And I think with her experience and some of the things she has done as a state representative, she can help guide the reform process of our broken immigration system. So, I think she would be an asset in that process.

((NATS)) Welcome to the House of Representatives. ((Alvin Tillery, Professor, Northwestern University)) So there will be, in essence, a greater burden on them because of their identities and because of the historic change that they represen