Nearly three-quarters of voters believe the nation has gone off on the wrong track, the highest mark of pessimism in three years. Some 73 percent say in a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released two weeks ago that things gone off-course, with only 18 percent saying the country is headed in the right direction.
Yet at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia last week, the message was that, in contrast to the dark vision expressed in Cleveland at the RNC a week earlier, things are pretty darn good in America.
“While this nation has been tested by war and recession and all manner of challenge,” President Barack Obama declared in his primetime speech last Wednesday night, “I stand before you again tonight, after almost two terms as your president, to tell you I am even more optimistic about the future of America. How could I not be, after all we’ve achieved together?”
Hillsborough County area Democratic Congresswoman Kathy Castor says her party’s message IS in synch with the mood of the country.
“We have a lot going for us,” Castor said after attending a press conference regarding the restoration of voting rights for ex-felons in Florida.”If you look at how far we’ve come since the Great Recession: unemployment is low, inflation is low, gas prices are low, the housing market has recovered. But that doesn’t mean that everything is going fabulously; yes, we have work to do,” she says.
The Tampa representative says the key is to focus on higher wages for workers in Florida. “The Democrats have a plan to do that, and (Donald) Trump has no plan at all. Everyone has the right to be optimistic in the United States of America. This is the greatest country on Earth. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have challenges that we’ve got to work on and right here in Florida, that means higher wages, support for public education and then fundamentally we’ve got to keep our neighbors safe here at home and abroad.”
Although the public is down on the immediate future, President Obama’s approval ratings are above 50 percent, a key figure to watch going into this fall’s general election.