Anger and the American Voter

American voters are particularly angry this election year. Why?


“Forget about the election for a moment, there’s a broader issue in our political culture in this country, and this is what happens when a leading presidential candidate goes around feeding into a narrative of anger and bitterness and frustration, and I think we all need to take a step back and ask ourselves, ‘Are we contributing to this?'” — Marco Rubio

Anger is a word and emotion frequently tied to this presidential election cycle. Many voters are angry with income inequality in the country and want a candidate who will pull them out of a downwardly mobile tailspin.

Donald Trump supporters are angry over a perceived loss of security, power and pride in their country. Bernie Sanders supporters are angry at perceived injustices thrust upon downtrodden Americans. The tie that binds the two seemingly opposite ends of the spectrum is anger at the status quo and at media coverage of the presidential race.

Over the weekend we saw the anger bubble up in a seemingly inevitable clash at a rally of thousands in Chicago, we saw a Trump supporter throw up a “Nazi salute” at a group of protesters, and we saw one protester in Saint Louis punched by a Trump supporter. Detroit Today producers and WDET staff have received many angry comments, voicemails, calls, and Facebook messages regarding specifically Trump and Sanders.

Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson leads a conversation with listeners about anger in America. Writer Des Cooper said on the program last Friday, voters choose presidents based on fear or love. Are we past the point in this election where we could imagine a candidate that invokes more love than fear and anger?

Henderson is joined by Wayne State University Professor and Chair of the Department of Communications Lee Wilkins, and anti-war activist and author Frank Joyce. Joyce says violence and clashes as seen in Chicago over the weekend aren’t surprising. “We are a very violent country and we have been a very violent country for 500 years,” he says.

To hear more of their conversation on anger in politics, click the link above.