Game between 'hope' and 'loss of hope' in US Midterm Elections

15:10, October 22, 2010      

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As the 2010 U.S. Midterm Elections is due on Tuesday, Nov. 2 and the Election Day is only 10 days off, the rivalry of various political forces in the United States has become increasingly intense. For weeks, President Barack Obama has been very busy in Washington D.C., and elsewhere in the U.S. to cheer for Democratic candidates.

In the meanwhile, Sarah L. Palin, the former Republican vice-presidential candidate in the 2008 presidential race, who is cited as a new spiritual leader of the "Tea Party", has launched a "Tea Party Express" national parade and the main slogan for the tour is "just vote them (Democrats) out."

The US mid-term elections are definitely an "interim appraisal" of the incumbent government, and also an opportunity for political forces to vie with each other, and so the offensive and defensive potentials are self-evident. The offensive Republic Party and the "Tea Party" forces played a "loss of hope" or disappointment card, and strive to change the setup with the Democrats control of the Lower House and Senate majority. President Obama and his Democrats, however, are striving to convince the voters to continue to see more "hope" and to consolidate the power base.

The stark truth with "adding fuel to the fire", the "loss of hope" sentiments for the incumbent government has spread nationwide, which is in sharp contrast with a lively, enthusiastic response from most voters when Obama made a promise for change upon his election as US president some two years ago. The "disappointment" has been the word respondents used most frequently in a latest poll by the "Washington Post" and Harvard University. If the federal government is taken as a "student", its achievements could be graded "C" a decade ago, whereas more than 40 percent of respondents deem that the performance of the incumbent government would be worse "D" or even "F" today.

The passive situation of the U.S. government from public opinions comes from the gap between expectations for the incumbent administration and reality, and there are also factors from speculations and exaggerations. In Washington's political culture, midterm elections is a practice to subject those in power on "trial" and the public "disappointment" with the existing is almost inevitable, only to varying extent.

The majority of Republican voters deem their country is now on "the wrong path." Hence, they criticize President Obama's "big government' initiatives, which do not show much concern to the nation's most crucial issues and proceed to resolve them, and they have not used taxpayers' money reasonably. With their strong dissatisfaction for the current government, "Tea Party" members saw their good chance arrived, and this has become a crucial factor in the imminent midterm elections.

"Money & Politics" has essentially highlighted once again in the midterm elections. If a few people seize the control of media, noted some media reports, they can quickly inject their stances into public opinions. Of late, media have also disclosed that some interest groups incline to finance their political representatives for campaign commercials and other related activities. And more campaign shows have been put up for Republicans.

The 2010 election will be just an inconvenient blip in the road for a progressive America, Obama said Tuesday, as the U.S. is undergoing a very difficult time. Election has not only something to do with the "progress and retrogress" of the United States, but with the profound hope and deepest pain and despair of Americans. Obama accused Republicans of playing the "fear card" and he wants to rekindle the "hope's fire" for voters.

The midterm elections remains focused on U.S. economy and social security, national defense, education, employment, environmental protection and other domestic issues. As part of an effort to enable voters to see "hope", Obama has set forth a transport infrastructure transformation plan with an initial investment of 50 billion US dollars as a means to demand stimulation, infrastructure improvement and job creation.

Such moves, nevertheless, are difficult to yield quick economic returns and, coupled with such multiple factors as "the loss of hope" particularly among young voters, the 2010 U.S. Midterm Elections are devoid of excitement as demonstrated among most voters upon Obama's election in 2008. Time has changed, and this is the reality President Obama's administration has to face.

By People's Daily Online and its author PD resident reporter in U.S. Wen Xian


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