Democratic Voters Demotivated, Frustrated Ahead of Midterms, Activists Say
07:28 GMT 07.11.2022 (Updated: 14:00 GMT 19.12.2022)
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Voter apathy could impact Tuesday’s midterm election turnout, especially among Democratic Party supporters who are frustrated with lack of progress on key priorities, activists told Sputnik.
The Republican Party appears well-positioned to wrench control of the House away from the Democrats, according to the most recent polls, while the fate of the Senate may come down to a handful of tight races, which some experts say may hinge on voter turnout.
More than 39 million Americans have already cast votes in the midterms, according to official data collected by the US Election Project as of Sunday.
Although states like Georgia have seen record turnout so far, election officials in Texas, Michigan, Iowa, Colorado, Washington, among others, have said the numbers are lagging compared to the 2018 midterms.
Recent polling reveals that Republicans are much more enthusiastic about the midterms than their Democratic peers. According to a Marist-NPR-PBS NewsHour poll, 84% of registered Republicans said they were "very interested" in this year’s election compared to only 68 percent of Democrats and 58% of independents.
"I think these midterms are going to be eye-opening. We’re going to see a low turnout," constitutional lawyer Dimitra Stathopoulos said. "I have had my ballot in my hand for 2 weeks. Nothing was motivating."
The turnout will be low, she added, because people are unmotivated, apathetic, and distrustful of the political system.
The lawyer also said Republicans fight until the end with a unified belief system, unlike Democrats who have nobody motivating them to get to the polls.
6 November 2022, 14:17 GMT
Redress Movement Digital Organizing Director Ria Thompson-Washington is concerned that the apathy will be decisive in key races, including Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke’s bid to oust Texas’ Republican governor and the campaign to unseat Republican incumbent Senator Marco Rubio.
"I want to think Beto will be elected, that Rubio will be out of a job. but the realist in me sees apathy," Thompson-Washington warned.
The anti-racist activist also said she is finding it difficult to get herself motivated to vote.
"I know what’s at stake but I have to muster the energy. I haven’t voted yet… my wife is not voting," she said. "After so many years of watching this and having an up-close perspective… we ask ‘Why?’"
Kerra Bolton, a former Democratic National Committee organizer in North Carolina, thought key issues like abortion would lead to a Democratic surge at the polls but it has yet to materialize.
"Abortion was supposed to be the big issue galvanizing white women. There were all of these women who said they’d march after Roe v Wade, but they hardly did anything," Bolton said.
Stathopoulos believes a big part of the problem is that politicians have failed to deliver on the priorities that got them elected. Moreover, in the end they embrace similar policies and stances as the rival party anyway.
For example, despite voting for him in 2020, Stathopoulos said she is no longer a fan of President Joe Biden.
"What options do we have anymore? From the top down, it’s so authoritarian," Stathopoulos said. "Let’s say more Dems get elected, what are they going to do?"
The lawyer said Americans should be taking to the streets to protest against economic wrongs, from overdraft fees to inflation.
"There’s no working with this system," Stathopoulos said. "There is nothing here in this country to salvage."
Thompson-Washington said if the Biden administration was serious about changing things, he would have done more than push $20,000 forgiveness of student loans while neglecting issues like child poverty and schooling.
"They have spent billions and billions in Ukraine but there’s no investment in some of our communities," Thompson-Washington said.
1 November 2022, 07:36 GMT
Bolton said even if the Republicans do succeed, she doubts much will change. Bolton said her mind is more preoccupied with more important battles down the road.