Before Super Tuesday: Voter frustration in Mississippi

world mirror

As of: March 3, 2024 12:44 p.m

Trump versus Biden – Super Tuesday should show that this duel is likely to occur in the presidential election. Then there will be primaries in 16 states. But many citizens are dissatisfied with the candidates.

The ship’s engine rumbles as the boat works its way up the brown river. The tug brings an empty barge into the port of Osceola, Arkansas. Port manager Jeff Worsham is on board. His job is to ensure that the barges on the Mississippi are properly loaded, for example with rice. Nowhere in the USA is so much of it grown as in Arkansas.

However, the goods first have to make it to the port, and that is a problem. “Our roads are bad. We need better infrastructure,” complains Worsham.

The Biden administration wants to invest $5.1 billion in Arkansas, and some of the money has already flowed. Worsham still doesn’t want to vote for Joe Biden if he is on the ballot for the Democrats in November. He is not satisfied with how Biden is handling the situation at the border with Mexico. And he believes the president is not in good health.

Politics and age

His colleague Kristen Hall feels the same way. Arkansas is one of 16 US states that will hold primaries on Super Tuesday. She is annoyed that there is already hardly any competition for Biden and Donald Trump. “I think we need other options and not a repeat of the last election. Joe Biden is too old. And Donald Trump is too arrogant.”

She voted for the latter in 2016. Back then, the 26-year-old was allowed to vote for the first time. She liked his politics. But: He disappointed her with his behavior. She doesn’t want a rude, impudent president in the White House.

Hall doesn’t understand why it is so difficult for parties to find other candidates. There are so many important issues: the situation at the border, inflation and students who have to take on a lot of debt to study. Young people are not sufficiently represented in politics, she says – “especially young women. The fact that the right to abortion has been overturned sets us back generations.”

Too little choice

Anthony, Seth and Max live on the other side of the Mississippi, only about an hour’s drive away. They study in Memphis and are Republicans. The young men organize events on their campus to attract young voters.

Like Kristen Hall, they also believe that young people are underrepresented in top American politics. Max Bonner criticizes the fact that old people make forward-looking decisions for the country, but “frankly will no longer live in this future.”

He would have liked Ron DeSantis to have stayed in the race for the Republican presidential nomination longer. Or the 38-year-old newcomer Vivek Ramaswamy. The fact that both gave up and that on Super Tuesday in Tennessee the students only have the choice between Trump and his defeated competitor Nikki Haley frustrates the three of them.

Fear of heated mood

Annie also knows the feeling of not choosing out of conviction. She lives in the US state of Minnesota. Here, near the source, the Mississippi is almost a stream that winds through the grasses. Annie lives on the Leech Lake Reservation. Minnesota is considered a “blue” state. For decades, Democrats have always won presidential elections here.

But there are a lot of Republicans living in her neighborhood, including Trump fans, she says. As an indigenous person, she no longer feels comfortable in the city directly behind the border of the reservation. There she clearly senses that she belongs to a minority. As a teenager, her daughter was insulted by Trump fans there.

When she talks about it, Annie cries. “How can a grown man do this to a child?” Actually, she no longer believes in politics. But if Trump enters the Republican race, she wants to give her vote to the Democrats. Not because she is convinced of Joe Biden. But only because he is the lesser evil compared to Trump.

You can see these and other reports in Weltspiegel – on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. on Erste.

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