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Rediff.com  » News » The writing is on the wall for Obama and Democrats

The writing is on the wall for Obama and Democrats

Last updated on: November 2, 2010 09:58 IST

'I see a very bad night for Democrats'

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Prasanna D Zore in Miami

Rediff.com's Prasanna D Zore assesses the mood of the voters ahead of the US mid-term elections on November 2

United States President Barack Obama and his
Democrat folk are all set for a drubbing in the Congress

"I see a very bad night for Democrats on Wednesday," says Dario Moreno, who teaches political science at Florida International University.

He was addressing a group of foreign correspondents covering the mid-term elections in the United States of America on the invitation of the US State Department.

That, succinctly sums up what's likely to happen, as results to the US Senate, the House of Representatives and for governors of a number of states will be out by Wednesday evening (9 pm EST; 6.30 am IST).

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Photographs: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
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Historically, the President's party has always ended up a loser in mid-term elections

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The popular opinion and polls conducted by all and every newspapers in the US indicate that the Republicans will have a clean sweep of the Congress (House of Representatives) while the Democrats will be able to cling to the Senate with a wafer-thin majority.

Historically, the President's party has always ended up a loser in mid-term elections since 1934 with two exceptions: Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Democrats won 9 seats in 1934 and in 2002 George W Bush's party gained 7 seats.

According to academics and general electorate that Rediff.com spoke with high unemployment rate, foreclosures, health care and immigration laws are the key issues that will decide the fate of contestants on Wednesday.



Image: Early voters at a polling station in Miami
Photographs: Prasanna D Zore/Rediff.com
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'Obama administration seems to have screwed up'

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And all on counts the Obama administration seems to have "screwed up", says Jay Jay who puts the entire blame of all that is wrong with his country's economy on his President's inability to solve these niggling powers ever since he assumed power in January 2009.

Jay Jay is self-employed and works as a consultant in Miami.

While unemployment rate is nearing double digits nationally, the state of Florida fares worse with 12 in every 100 people being unemployed according to figures compiled by Dr Sean Foreman, assistant professor of political science, Barry University in Miami.

Add to that 20 per cent foreclosure rate in Florida and you get a sense of what makes Jay Jay angry.

It is this sense of angst against the establishment that will help the Republicans ride the Congress with a gain of 50 to 60 seats according to Dr Foreman.



Image: Jay Jay
Photographs: Prasanna D Zore/Rediff.com
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'The US voters can't tolerate high rate of unemployment'

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"The US voters can tolerate affairs, corruption but not a high rate of unemployment," says Fernand Amandi vice president of Bendixen and Amandi, a public opinion research, management and communications consulting firm based in Miami.

The traditional voter apathy during the mid-terms too is likely to affect the chances of Democrats mainly because the Republican voters have been energised by a highly successful campaign launched by the Tea Party in rubbishing all the gains made by the Obama administration.

To put this in perspective, Democrat supporters who traditionally vote early have been upstaged by Republican voters this time in Florida by 275,000 as of Friday, October 29 according to Moreno.

"While the Presidential elections see a voter turnout as high as 78 per cent, only 40 to 50 per cent of the votes are polled during the mid-terms, Moreno says.



Image: Fernand Amandi
Photographs: Prasanna D Zore/Rediff.com
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Health care is yet another headache for Democrats

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Health care is yet another problem that is fast emerging as a headache for the Democrats. Though it has some ostensible benefits for those who stood outside the safety net nobody in the Democratic camp is touting it as a great victory. Barack Obama had promised voters that he would legislate the health care bill when he ran for the President.

"It seems the Democrats have failed in cashing in on the good done by their party in the last two years. They seem to have completely lost the momentum," says Sergio R Bustos, state and politics editor for the Miami Herald.

"I think President Obama ran a wonderful campaign of communicating hope. Though he has achieved a lot in preventing the banking system to collapse and healthcare people want to see a quick change. They don't understand why it is taking such a long time for things to improve for them," says Dave Aronberg the Democratic Senator from the 27th District, Florida Senate.

But there are reasons why most Democrats are getting nervous to take credit for the healthcare bill passed by the Obama administration this summer.



Image: Sergio R Bustos
Photographs: Prasanna D Zore/Rediff.com
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People have not seen the change Obama promised

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Beverly Connelly, 62, lives off her retirement benefits. She takes 7 prescription drugs every month.

"Because of the new healthcare law my monthly outgoing on medicines has gone up by $105. Now I have to pay $15 more for every monthly prescription," she says.

Ask her how she would have spent the extra $105 if there were no healthcare bill and she says "on groceries. Even the grocery prices have gone up now."

But the final word on why the Democrats will not be celebrating on Wednesday evening comes from Senator Aronberg.

"It's not the healthcare law that's turning people away from Democrats but people don't have jobs, they are under water with their mortgages and they want change. And President Obama promised that change during his presidential campaign. People wanted that change to happen in the first two years and when they haven't seen it they want to go back to the Republicans but that will be very unfortunate."


Image: Beverly Connelly
Photographs: Prasanna D Zore/Rediff.com
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