The Midterm Elections: Here’s What You Told Us You Think

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Few candidates asked President Obama to hit the campaign trail. But days before the midterm elections, Obama stumped for Pennsylvania Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Wolf, who went on to win the election.

We asked people to write in with their thoughts on the 2014 election results. More that 5,500 people did so on Facebook, most expressing frustration.

We’ll start with this, the most popular comment, courtesy of Sydney Carton: “‘Twas a glorious day for voter suppression, gerrymandering and dark money.” Here are some others that caught our attention.

Don’t stick it to Obama — stick up for him!

Many people said the Democrats made a major mistake by abandoning President Obama. This from Jane Enis: “The Democratic Party ran away from their best player, President Obama: Why was this their billion dollar strategy? President Obama has been re-elected twice by huge numbers, he brought people of all shapes, colors, economic backgrounds, educational backgrounds to the polls … why would you not have him out front?”

Others pointed to Obama’s record on major issues, suggesting his successes could have been better communicated to the public. As Laura Montenegro put it: “The unemployment rate is 6.1% [Editor’s note: On Friday, it was reported at 5.8%]. Gas prices are low. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is at record highs: If President Barack Obama was a white Republican, they’d all be talking about what an outstanding job he’s done.”

Democracy needs a shrink — now what?

Amy Boger Morris said the biggest losers in the elections were American citizens, not because of who won, but because “the election process is made up of money, fear, power, lies, hate, narcissism and willful ignorance. These are societal problems that simply manifested themselves yet again in the voting booth. People voted for themselves — or thought they were — over voting for the common good, choosing fear over love, hatred over compassion and ignorance over knowledge… Now, how the hell do we fix this? Because it surely cannot stand.”

Afraid for the country — and myself

(Photo: Tim Slaton on Facebook)

(Photo: Tim Slaton on Facebook)

Besides anger, a lot of people expressed fear, both for the future of our country and their own well-being. Judy Frumkin writes: “The results do not bode well for: the environment, women’s health, immigration reform, people in poverty, our natural resources and the rights of minorities. Show me one newly elected Republican who has the guts to stand up to big money, big corporations and/or their own party — maybe then, there might be some hope for the future integrity of this so-called democracy.”

Sydney Keller wrote that she’s afraid of what “these GOP shills for millionaires and billionaires, aided and abetted by the Democrats, are going to do to the earned benefits programs that I’ll be relying on in the not too distant future.”

The Koch brothers’ agenda

Mark Cutelli also expressed concerns, specifically on what the Koch brothers want for the future of America. “I am sure the Koch brothers and their friends are celebrating their great victory… The question that needs to be asked is: What do the Koch brothers want in return for their $200 million investments? Here are some of their goals — this is all public record — abolish Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Education, public schools and the federal minimum wage. They also want to eliminate the Affordable Care Act… If you utilize any of the above programs and have benefited from the Affordable Care Act be prepared for some possible major changes being made and/or possible elimination of programs.”

MainSCREAM media

There were more than a few swipes at the mainstream media — in particular, Fox News took a bit of a beating — including this comment from Alicia Farrell Hicks: “Something has to be done about ‘news’ organizations who are not broadcasting news but lies and distortions. They are allowing dark money to buy this country. It seems once it’s seen on ‘Faux’ it is reverberated across the media of this country. I feel we are not getting the true story and if we are it is dismissed as some liberal aberration.” And as you will see in the comment below, some people feel the media is not doing its job fact-checking political ads and positions.

Enough with the negative advertising and fear tactics

During this year’s elections, the most expensive midterm elections ever with about $4 billion spent, states that had Senate seats up for grabs were subject to more than 1 million political TV ads. About 46 percent of them were attack ads, but according to the Center for Public Integrity, in some states it was far more than half.

On this topic Tom Shafer wrote: “Many of the ads were misleading, inaccurate and downright lies. They were seldom, if ever, challenged by local and national media… Add to that, candidates who frequently dodged debates (both incumbents and challengers across the country) and allowed the attack ads to smear their opponent instead of describing their own positions and plans for their upcoming term.” Many, including Phil Kovacs, abhorred the fear tactics employed by some media organizations and candidates: “The right wing media had a very organized voice. It was crazy and had no bearing on anyone’s life but playing to fear works. Ebola? Really?”

If you didn’t vote, don’t complain…

There was a lot of outrage over the low voter turnout in this year’s midterm elections, estimated at about 36%. Gary Elgin wrote: “Those who stayed home, those who aren’t even registered to vote, or whined about how, ‘It doesn’t matter, my vote doesn’t count’, or ‘They’re going to do whatever they want anyway,’ — each and everyone of you should be absolutely ashamed to call yourself an American citizen. How can you take advantage of every privilege and right, afforded to you, as an American, and then not actively take part in helping to maintain what is one of the greatest democracies in the world? Let’s say you don’t agree. Then work to change it! There are millions of people throughout the world who would give anything to become Americans… Start taking part and be the citizen you claim to be!”

Keep fighting, people

Thankfully, some are determined to keep the pressure on, and in the long run not to be defeated. Anne Converse wrote: “Despite the depressing events with the elections today, I still feel one has to stay vocal and keep expressing your opinions and supporting the issues that are important. We have to keep hounding the powers that be and not let them intimidate or discourage people. I think of the generations to follow and that is what I am still going to fight for. Don’t let the fear mongers get the best of us.”

Our audience commented on so many election-related topics, one post could not come close to covering them all. But for more, you can see the full comments below.

Karin Kamp is a multimedia journalist and producer. She has produced content for, NOW on PBS and WNYC public radio and worked as a reporter for Swiss Radio International. She also helped launch The Story Exchange, a site dedicated to women's entrepreneurship.
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