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Midterm elections: From hope to grievances

Former Gore chief of staff comments on elections

New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman recently quoted the editor of the Indian Times as commenting that India has moved from a politics of grievance to a politics of aspiration.

Charles W. Burson, JD, senior professor of practice at Washington University in St. Louis School of Law and former chief of staff to Vice President Al Gore, says this is in stark contrast to the current state of American politics.

Charles W. Burson

“Our midterm elections reflect a dramatic turn from the wave of aspiration that defined our politics in 2008 to the wave of grievance that defines these midterm elections,” Burson says.

“The Tea Party movement is the embodiment of that phenomenon. In Missouri, this wave has put the seats of Democratic Congressmen Ike Skelton and Russ Carnahan at risk, but the same wave may have also put at risk the seat of Republican Representative Jo Ann Emerson.”

Burson says that the elections will come down to turnout.

“In the past week, it appears to me that Democrats are awakening to the challenge and may well surprise on election day with a turnout that will protect many of our seats in close House and Senate races, including those of Congressmen Carnahan and Skelton,” he says.

“Whatever the outcome of the Congressional races, President Obama’s task will be to govern so as to reawaken our aspirations and dispel our grievances and fears.”
 

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Charles Burson
Senior Professor of Practice, School of Law
(314) 935-8166
cwburson@wulaw.wustl.edu