Election 2004: The Aftermath

Wednesday, November 03, 2004
This will be my last political post for a long time as I'm sure most of us probably have had as much politics as anybody can handle.

Well Bush won. I was pretty upset about the whole thing last night but I've moved on. It is what it is and getting upset about the whole thing isn't going to undo it. In many respects it is better for me as I will probably have lower taxes and I leave a pretty normal life so I'm not too afraid of them knocking down my door because the suspect I'm a terrorist, at least I'm not scared yet.

So what happened? I'm not bitter and I'm not going to say that a majority of Americans are idiots. Bush won by a significant margin not to mention the Republicans strengthened their hold on both houses of Congress. Here is what I think happened to the Democrats.

Wrong Man

The Democrats might want to think about how they choose their candidate. Kerry was an absolutely awful choice to run for the Presidency. The man is notoriously liberal and most of America is in the center. Further, the man just isn't all that likeable. He definitely isn't Bill Clinton or Barack Obama. Yes, I voted for Kerry but for me it was the lesser of two evils. But most people are not as socially liberal as I am so I can see how many Americans would be turned off by the whole thing.

Wrong Message

America isn't buying what the Democrats are selling. I do not think it is a fluke that the Republicans won the Presidency and both houses. America is concerned with the Economy, Terrorism, and the morality of America. Things they clearly think that the Republicans are better equipped to handle.

Democrats are much more popular with the poor and youth of America, people who notoriously do not come out to vote. Further, in times of economic hardship it is a hard sell to say that people should pay more taxes and expand government to boost the economy. People care about their own situation and want their lives to be better. The American people have spoken, and they have said that they feel safer with George Bush in the White House than John Kerry. Perhaps people, and I'm not making a judgment here, really are fed up with the amount of taxes that we all pay and are willing to give up some of their civil liberties in order to get some relief. I don't know.

Wrong Time

The timing is just off. Iraq and terrorism are still big issues and people clearly feel Bush is better equipped to handle the problem. Further, the economy is bad but shows some signs of recovery. This may make people scared to jump ship at this point and go in a new direction.

So there you have it. I'm an optimist and hope that things get better over the next 4 years. Like I said, for me personally they probably will. I just hope the rest of the country is there with me in 4 years.


Anonymous said...

I agree with most of your observations and conclusions except one. I don't believe most voters believed Bush was better able to handle the economy. I think polls/surveys showed that, among those who felt the economy was the #1 issue, Kerry won by a significant margin. Bush's biggest margin was on handling terror (not the Iraq war). Fear won over economic issues.

PS - I like Barack Obama and he may have a great future - where would you place him on a scale of liberalism compared to Kerry?

T said...

Yes, the exit poll clearly shows that people whose top concern was the economy voted for Kerry but I think that statistic may be a little misleading. The question asked is what is your TOP concern. That does not say that people who are concerend with Terrorism or Morality are not concerned with the economy, they just happen to be more concerend about those two issues.

I tend to think people vote with their pocketbook more than they do anything else. If they feel like the economy is doing well or getting better they will vote for the incumbent. If they really feel they are doing worse than they will vote with the challenger. I believe those whose main concern is the war on terror and morality are probably doing fine economically and therefore are not concerned. I parallel that with my own experience. I am very concerend about the economy but I am doing well myself so it takes a back seat to my concerns over my civil liberties.

As for Obama, I haven't formed a solid opinion about him one way or another so I can't answer how liberal he is. I just know that, like Bill Clinton, he is a very engaging speaker and has a dynamic personality which seems to draw people to him. How well he does if he ever runs for national office is anyones guess. Even though I said I would vote Republican next time I'm guessing a Clinton-Obama ticket might change my mind . ..

susan said...

I think I have to side w/ John. I think Iraq won it for Bush. Even though many people think the war is a mess they don't want to switch leaders mid-war. I don't disgree with T about the Dems though, they need to find someone who can carry the party again. Someone with charisma. Clinton would have won. I sure hope Barack turns out to be the man he seems.

The weird thing is I think Bush has zero charisma AND I hate his message but people still vote for him. Amazing.

David Cho said...

I agree with most of your points.

1992 was to me what 2004 must have been for you. Just a few years removed from college, helplessly watched as Bill Clinton and Democrats swept the White House and Congress. I was a basket case, resigning myself to life in a socialist country for the rest of my life. Then came the 1994 GOP takeover of Congress.

My point is the pendulum can swing the other way. And it can happen very quickly.

The Obama hype will die a quick death.

Stephanie said...

I don't get the Republicans calling Kerry so liberal. In my opinion he's pretty darn centrist. In fact on the 'values' issues, he tends to be a bit too conservative for my taste. I think that Clinton was pretty moderate, but Kerry's to the right of him. I think that those who placed Kerry & Edwards in the far left did it for a reason; they felt that (rightly) it would be harder to sell a perceived uber-liberal. But Kerry didn't fit the label.

Ryan said...

Indeed, I'm tired of hearing people label Kerry as "too liberal" without justifying it. I'm not saying he isn't liberal in some aspects, but no one has been able to point them out to me. I looked into a few of Kerry's policies that concern me and he struck me as mildly liberal at most, and occasionally conservative.

For instance, he's fairly pro-gun. He wants to only ban assault weapons (which Bush half-assedly also supports). He has fought to protect semi-automatic handguns, pump action shot guns, and most kinds of ammunition. Though Kerry would want more taxes than Bush, Kerry is one of them more fiscally converative democrats. He's pro civil union, but against gay marrriage (in his own state, not on a national level). Kerry isn't willing to ban abortion, but has said he doesn't like it and believes that "life does begin at conception."

Sorry, but this does not sound anything like "notoriously liberal".

T said...

Kerry absolutely is liberal but you can judge for yourself

Kerry's Record
Please keep in mind we are not talking about only social issues. He is very liberal when it comes to his economic policy. Very pro labor and very pro-regulation.

Ryan said...

Ok, the "Kerrys Record" link dosen't mean anything. Organizations like Planned Parenthood and National Right to Life will always agree with a candidate of their favorite party and disagree with the other party regardless of the vote. For instance, the NRA disapproves of Kerry's gun record even though he has actually done more to help gun owners than Bush. It's all a political game. I've asked every single person who has labeled Kerry as very liberal for specifics and examples and I have received a total of zero. Not one. However, I can come up with several pro-gun votes Kerry has cast and other "conservative" acts.

At most someone could say that Kerry is sometimes liberal, sometimes centrist, and sometimes conservative. And you can say that on issue X Kerry is liberal. But, I'm tired of him being labeled super-liberal because he's not.