US mid-term elections show public lost faith in Barack Obama’s policies
19 November 2014. PenzaNews. The defeat of the Democratic party in the mid-term elections to the US Congress that were held on November 4, 2014, show the sign of growing public distrust to the two-party system that forces the people to choose the bad from between the bad and the worse, says the editorial article titled “From hope to nope” published by Socialist Worker, a web-based media outlet.
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According to it, the “Grand Old Party” (GOP) achieved an all-out victory, obtaining the majority in the Senate and dealing the final blow to Barack Obama’s party in the House of Representatives. Moreover, the Republicans succeeded in gubernatorial elections that were held in 30 states out of 50 on the same day, winning in 29 of them and leading Illinois, Maryland and Massachusetts, long-standing Democratic strongholds.
However, it is yet to early to conclude their popularity all of a sudden grew considerably. While voters preferred the Republicans on the federal level, locally the people actively debated on economy, social and other initiatives that were far from the GOP line.
“If the media had focused more on the little-noticed referendums, the conventional wisdom about Election 2014 would have been different,” the article says.
For example, according to the publication, the Republican-dominated states of Alaska, Nebraska, Arkanzas and South Dakota approved initiatives to increase in the minimum wage. Another prominent idea that gained wide support among the voters of Illinois was dedicated to introducing a 3 percent “millionaire’s tax.”
“The state’s new governor is a billionaire, rather than a millionaire, so the tax isn’t likely to see the light of day. But the strong vote in favor was another sign of public support for making the wealthy pay to support underfunded schools and other public services,” says the article.
At the same time it notes that the Americans gave consideration to other acute social issues as well: drastic anti-abortion initiatives caused public outcry and were defeated in Colorado and North Dakota.
“The assault on women’s reproductive rights is continuing, but many people clearly reject anti-women measures when they come in the brazen form of Colorado’s Amendment 67, which could have made it possible to prosecute women who had miscarriages,” the publication stresses.
Americans also stood against several controversial policing measures of the “war on drugs” campaign, while citizens of California approved the initiative to reclassify several low-level non-violent crimes, freeing several hundred people from incarceration.
“Unlike the tough-on-crime policies that predominate in both the Republican and Democratic Parties, these initiatives reflect people's actual experiences and opinions,” says the article.
The authors also noted that the environmental movement also achieved several successes. In Denton, Texas, eco-activists managed to push forward a ban on hydraulic fracturing on their homeland.
Amid overall liberally-oriented society, analysts called the results of the 2014 mid-term elections counterintuitive. However, the unexpected numbers were primarily caused by the number of Obama’s Democratic party supporters who decided to not vote.
“Young adults, a Democratic mainstay, accounted for just 13% of voters this year, down from 19% in 2012. Those who did participate, moreover, supported Democrats only by 54-43%, down from a 60-38% margin in their House vote two years ago,” Socialist Worker quotes Gary Langer, ABC News opinion poll specialist.
The reason behind this is widespread disappointment in the actions of the US President.
“The outcome of voting on referendums did reflect a continuing leftward trend in public opinion on many—though not all—economic and social issues. But millions of people who were once enthusiastic that Barack Obama and the Democrats would act on that trend and take action have lost faith that they will. And so they stayed home on Election Day,” says the article.
This coincided with an increase of support for the Republicans from elderly white voters. Around 37% of people who voted in the elections were over 60. At the same time, almost $4 billion was spent on these elections, which made the 2014 campaign the most expensive in the history of the United States.
According to the authors, these circumstances cause Americans to lose their will to take part in civil life of their country, despite the calls to stop “the Republican fanatics.”
In conclusion, the article notes that the Democratic party that was pushed into opposition may unravel its reactionary agenda in the nearest future. However, the authors doubt this reaction will be dedicated to truly crucial issues raised by the American society, such as migrant rights, low wages and numerous violations of human rights.
The 114th mid-term elections to the US Congress, that coincided with the gubernatorial elections in several states, were held on November 4, 2014.
The Republican party won the majority in the Senate, claiming at least 8 seats from the Democrats and therefore keeping 53 senators out of 100 in the biggest legislative body of the country.
The GOP also improved its position in the House of Representatives, boosting its majority by 12 sears.
The new US Congress will take office after January 3, 2015.
Several analysts think the defeat of the Democrats on the mid-term elections is linked to the sharp decline in popularity rating of the US President Barack Obama. As of November 2014, the head of the state commands the support of only around 43% of citizens – the lowest point in his presidency.