Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

WEB NEWS

France's top consumer group sues Internet giants

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users pay tribute to South Korea ferry victims

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

A landslide victory for the 'invisible candidate' in Algeria's Presidential polls

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014 (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Presidential adviser resigns over "shoe-shine scandal"

Read more

#THE 51%

Breaking stereotypes

Read more

#TECH 24

Galaxy S5 v. HTC One (M8): Which is the right one for you?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

New PM Manuel Valls outlines priorities

Read more

Our Focus programme brings you exclusive reports from around the world. From Monday to Friday at 7.45 am Paris time.

FOCUS

FOCUS

Latest update : 2009-11-05

In rural America, many still struggle to accept Obama

Twelve months after Barack Obama's historic election, many right-wing voters still haven't digested his victory. Our correspondent travelled to West Virginia, a rural state where anti-Obama sentiments run high.

Today's Focus guest are Zachary Miller, vice-president of Democrats Abroad France, and Paul Vallet, a professor at Sciences-Po Paris.

 

The anti-Obama movement has its roots in rural America, in places far away from the urban centre; like West Virginia, a mountainous state in the Appalachian region.

Ron Lott is a former Marine who displays his guns with pride. He owns a small revolver and a cheap rifle, made in China. Ron is a Vietnam veteran. His buddies were also in the military. Together they spend hours talking about the state of the country. In their world, Barack Obama should never have become president. They believe he was not even born in the US.

“He is a Kenyan-born nationalist. And I believe that any man that wants to hold the highest office in this country but can’t produce a birth certificate is a fake!”, claims Ron.

There are other reasons why Ron and his friends have still not accepted the election of Obama. They think for example that he is a Muslim… and what’s worse, in their eyes, he could be a “socialist”.

“If you look at the whole healthcare plan and things that he’s done: it’s all socialism, since he’s been in. So there we go, you know.”, he says.
A tough welcoming committee greets a few democratic activists in Parkersburg, West Virginia. They’ve been bussed in to explain and defend the president’s reforms. But their job here is hard: last November Obama lost badly to John McCain in this region.

Ron and his friends are here of course, to make their voices heard. But the democrats dismiss this type of disturbance as coming from a radical minority.

“55 % of the people in this country are in favor of reform. They’re in favor of reform now. They’re out of step with the rest of the country”, explains Helen Harms, an Obama supporter.

Tom Stark disagrees. He is convinced that the political tide is about to turn against Obama. So convinced in fact that he has decided to launch his own political career. He is running for Congress in 2010 as an ultra-conservative. Conservatives have been accused of racism when criticizing Obama. That’s why this newcomer to politics avoids personal attacks.

“This is not about his religion, it’s not about his race, it’s not about any of those things. It’s about what he is trying to do in the way of forcing more and more government decision-making into our lives”, explains Tom Stark.

One year after his election, Barack Obama remains relatively popular at the national level. But for Tom Stark there is no doubt that what is now a disgruntled minority will soon turn into a conservative uprising.

 

By Guillaume MEYER

Comments

COMMENT(S)

 
 
Archives

2014-04-18 unemployment

Bosnia: Hopes of change among disempowered citizens

The war may have ended almost 20 years ago, but today Bosnia is going through a different kind of crisis: a political one. Major protests broke out in the city of Tuzla in...

Read more

2014-04-17 Wall Street

Bitcoin in the US: A monetary revolution?

Even if you're not into finance or technology, there's a good chance you've heard of Bitcoin. The mysterious digital currency equals no middlemen in your financial dealings: no...

Read more

2014-04-16 France

Campaigning against Bouteflika's re-election... in France

On Thursday, Algerians will head to the polls to elect their president. In France, Algerian citizens started voting on Saturday but many have decided to boycott the election....

Read more

2014-04-15 trade

China trade deal: Is Taiwan's identity under threat?

In Taiwan, students who occupied parliament for almost a month have called off their protest. It was sparked by a trade deal with mainland China, which still considers Taiwan as...

Read more

2014-04-14 Ukraine

Russia’s military build-up south and east of Donetsk

In eastern Ukraine, tensions are on a knife edge after a weekend that's seen several reported deaths, masked gunmen seizing government buildings and accusations at the highest...

Read more