Voters’ anger fuels presidential campaigns

Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump, left, and Sen. Ted Cruz during the GOP presidential primary debate at the University of Miami's Bank United Center in Coral Gables, Fla., on Thursday, March 10, 2016. (Pedro Portal/El Nuevo Herald/TNS)

By Sanaa Khan, Columnist

This year’s presidential election has dominated the news cycle, social media and even college campuses. However, regardless of where the election is discussed, one theme is present throughout — anger.

In Dec. 2015, a CNN/ORC poll reported that 69 percent of Americans are angry about the way things are going in the United States. Presidential candidates, in turn, are preying off this anger to build their campaigns.

Whether it is the far left or far right, political issues are approached with similar extremist attitudes. Sen. Bernie Sanders has built his campaign, or political revolution as he calls it, by increasing awareness about unfair wealth distribution while assembling voters’ frustrations toward the “one percent” and Wall Street.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, has thrived off of Americans’ anger toward immigrants, terrorism and the state of the economy. Both sides of the aisle share criticism toward the nation’s economy, although differing in who is at fault.

Depending on which impassioned voter you talk to, the issues his or her chosen candidate is advocating for are the most important issues plaguing this nation. However, with such extreme voter confidence regarding what they deem crucial, one might ask if this inflamed confidence-turned-anger is valid.

IL The state of the U.S. economy has been a major point of discontent within campaign debates and candidate speeches. Reflecting their supporters’ concerns, candidates discuss soaring unemployment, illegal immigrants snatching jobs or the rigged system favoring the banks and billionaire class.

Yet, since 2009, the S&P has increased by more than 200 percent and home prices have risen by 11 percent. With millions of jobs being added since the recession, the unemployment rate is now at 4.9 percent, a rate that most economists consider to be full employment.

But that is not what Americans hear when listening to their candidate’s stump speech. In fact, people sitting in Greece watching a Republican presidential debate might mistakenly think the U.S. economy is no different than theirs.

The economy IL can always be improved, and Americans should always look toward their president to aid in doing so. IL However, blatant distortion of the current economic conditions, or any other national issue for that matter, only inhibits that potential improvement.

As we’ve seen from countless clips shared on Facebook, voters’ anger not only applies to the campaign issues, but also to each other. For example, a teenage girl was pepper-sprayed outside a Trump rally in Wisconsin on Tuesday after accusing a man of groping her.

While Trump’s campaign clearly thrives on the aggression from supportersIL , some of the same aggression is seen amongst other voters as well, regardless of whether or not the candidates originally intended to encourage the animosity.

Sanders’ supporters often display the same level of mistrust, or even disgust, for fellow Democrat Hillary Clinton as they would for Trump. On the Republican side, insults range from simple name-calling to personal attacks regarding hand size and wives — often more widely discussed than the candidates’ economic and national security platforms.

By no means does politics have to be about peace signs and doves. Important issues need to be addressed. Americans have the right to feel angry, frustrated or just disappointed in the American political system.

But there is a fine line between anger and passion.

Passion has led to record voter turnout for the primary elections, while anger has led to violent clashes between supporters and protesters. It is up to us and the candidates we vote for to channel that anger into level-headed and cooperative action.

Sanaa is a freshman in Business.

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