Pattie Blair, 74, a Democratic voter in Arizona, says that whenever she sees Donald Trump on television an intense wave of anger washes over her.
“It’s the most negative, blackest place to find yourself,” Blair said. “It’s like being in a bucket you can’t get yourself out of – a hand keeps pushing you back in every time you try to surface.”
All over the United States most Americans — but especially Democrats — seem outraged as the midterm elections approach. The 2016 presidential election was extremely contentious and since then anger has continued to grow. It now dominates much public discussion about politics. Trump draws large crowds to his rallies, but anti-Trump protests draw even larger crowds to march in the streets.
It is this outrage that will drive millions of voters to the polls in next month’s elections. And it appears that a greater degree of anger among Democratic voters might give their party’s candidates a better chance to win in the midterms.
A new Reuters/Ipsos poll compiled responses from more than 21,000 American voters over the past several weeks. They found that Democrats are most angry about these issues:
- The Trump administration’s practice of separating undocumented immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexican border,
- The potential for Russian interference in future U.S. elections and
- The Republican president himself.
Republicans on the other hand are most angry about these issues:
- The potential for Congress to try to remove Trump through impeachment,
- The surge of undocumented immigrants coming into the country and
- The mainstream news media.
Most voters seem to be focusing on control of the U.S. Congress more than any other issue. Democrats seem to be positioned to pick up the 23 seats they need to win a majority in the House of Representatives.
The poll supports the conclusion that angry Americans are more likely to turn out to vote this year. It also shows that Democrats are much more angry about their hot-button issues than Republicans.
This is no surprise given the frustration felt by most Democrats with the policies, programs, and rhetoric coming out of Washington since Republicans took power.
Nicholas Valentino, a voter behavior expert who analyzed the poll results said that just two years ago Republicans and Democrats were equally furious. He believes that as a result Democratic candidates will get a turnout boost that exceeds the expectations of most political observers. He also said that in tight races this extra anger could make the difference in favor of Democrats.
“That’s what happened in 2016,” Valentino said. “A lot of people who were predicted to stay home were very angry at Hillary Clinton and the Democrats, and they showed up to the surprise of everyone.”
Valentino also said that Americans overall appear to have grown angrier since 2016. He said that in 2018 they appear much more angry than in past election cycles, based on his analysis of polls going back to 1980.
“Other previous elections have been pretty intense,” he said. “But the emotions that people expressed were much more positive, even during years when the country was in recession.”
There is a very large amount of anger right now directed at politicians in Washington, and the best possible result is for this anger to be channeled into high voter turnout for Democrats. This is the only way to make sure that the needed changes in our government do in fact come about. The future of our country may depend upon it.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.