On Monday’s “Morning Edition,” NPR’s Mara Liasson delved into why exactly voters are feeling so anxious about the 2016 election year. Economic uncertainty, terrorism, demographic change, immigration and dysfunctional politics were some of the key factors in that anxiety.
St. Louisans echoed that anxiety, and a general feeling of anger at the political process when we recently asked about political mood through our Public Insight Network.
Click on the slideshow above to read some of the thoughts offered by our PIN respondents.
On Tuesday’s “St. Louis on the Air,” we heard from some of those respondents and have a chance to share your take on the coming election. Listen to their thoughts here:
Also joining host Don Marsh for the discussion was Terry Jones, a professor of political science and public policy administration at UMSL, as well as Willis Johnson, the pastor of Wellspring Church in Ferguson, and Lara Granich, the director of Missouri Jobs with Justice.
Jones, who has done polling and focus groups on election matters, said that the he's seeing a lot of issues "that have been developing over the past decades come home" and become prominent.
"There’s a generation of whites, primarily high school education or less, who have not participated in the economic growth of the last thirty years and they are not pleased," Jones said. "There was a notion that every generation would have a better go at it. That’s no longer the case. There’s a lot of anger in our society.”
Johnson said that he's hearing frustration and anger from community members. Also, a call for change. He's worried that need for change may come at the expense of the best candidate for presidency. He thinks the conversation has gotten wider, but definitely not deeper about the issues at stake.
That is especially true for the issues raised during protests in Ferguson and across the country over the past year and half.
"This issue is not going to be raised," Johnson said. "The concerns of urban municipalities have not been a priority for the larger political machine for a long time. People, and candidates, aren't going to raise this issue at this time because, truth be told, no one has a solution nor are they willing to commit to the resources and the effort and the energy that is going to be necessary to make some changes in creating equity and opportunity where there is none."
Granich said she hears voter anxiety about economic security through her work with Missouri Jobs with Justice. Increasing the minimum wage and support of unions are key issues for the voters she speaks with.
"For so many families in the region and in the state, wages are declining while debt is rising and compounding all that is that work is increasingly insecure for people as contingent work grows and the on-demand economy takes secure jobs and replaces them with jobs that people don't even know if they'll have them next year or next month," Granich said.
Will these issues galvanize voters to the polls or turn them away out of disgust? The Iowa Caucus, on Feb. 1, will tell us a lot, said Jones.
Want to share your political mood as we head into primary season? Answer these questions. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet @STLonAir, or call 314-382-8255 during the noon hour on Tuesday with your thoughts.
Inform our coverage
This report was prepared with the help of our Public Insight Network. Learn more about the network and how you can become a source for St. Louis Public Radio here.
St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary Edwards, Alex Heuer and Kelly Moffitt give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.