President Obama has been back on the campaign trail lately, working to convince the Democrats and progressives who put him in the White House to turn out and vote for Democratic candidates in the November midterm elections. He and Vice President Joe Biden have traveled to voters' backyards and college campuses in an effort to re-energize their party's base and make sure Congress stays in Democrats' control.
Both Obama and Biden have scolded their supporters for being apathetic, telling them that staying home on voting day is "irresponsible" and that they should "stop whining." Some political analysts and bloggers caution that such scolding could actually backfire and cause more voters to tune out.
Democrats are especially counting on young voters between 18 and 29 years old to turn out in large numbers, like they did in the 2008 election. By visiting college campuses, Obama and Biden hope to rally young supporters in battleground states who can help put Democratic candidates over the top in House and Senate elections.
"He is telling voters on the Democratic base that they are irresponsible, that, you know, they're slackers, that they don't care enough to show up. And it really could depress Democratic turnout in the fall." - Jane Hamsher, founder, firedoglake.com
"And what they're saying is and the basis of their prediction is that all of you who worked so hard in 2008 aren't going to be as energized, aren't going to be as engaged. They say there is an enthusiasm gap." - President Barack Obama
1.Why might Republicans be more excited than Democrats to vote in this year's elections?
2. What are midterm elections?
3. Who is running in the midterms in your state?
4. What is a political campaign? What are some ways politicians gain votes?
1. What do you think about Obama and Biden's strategy of "scolding" Democratic voters into turning out for the midterm elections? Do you think it will work for them, or will it backfire? Why?
2. If you're eligible to vote, will you vote in the midterms this year? Why or why not? If you're not eligible, what kinds of things would encourage you to vote?
3. Why do you think Obama is choosing to hold smaller, "backyard" meetings with voters instead of large campaign rallies? How might this help him gain votes for Democrats?