Heavy minority voters� turnout taking place; good news for Kerry-Edwards ticket! 

A.H. Jaffor Ullah


Today (November 2, 2004) is the Election Day allover America.  Polling places have opened their door bright and early at 6:00 a.m. and will remain open until 8:00 p.m.  I live in the outskirts of New Orleans where the Election Day activity is a mundane event.  There was no mad rush to vote in the past elections.  Voters usually take their time knowing there won�t be long lines.  In past elections, it took us hardly 10-15 minutes to stand in line, show voter�s registration card, a photo ID, and cast our votes.  However, things are little different this time.


The presidential election has generated a tremendous interest amongst voters.  The nation is divided; a sharp polarization had taken place already.  Most elderly and middle-aged white Caucasians who hold a conservative view are pulling the lever of voting machine, metaphorically speaking of course because the modern machine has a plethora of buttons but no lever, in favor of the Republican candidate�George Bush.  The minorities, the liberal white voters, and college kids are the ones who are pushing the buttons of the electronic voting machine in favor of John Kerry-Edwards ticket.  One has to be insane to vote for one-time consumer activist, Ralph Nader and some fringe candidates from the Libertarian Part, which does not believe in paying taxes at all.  The fringe candidates may take 1-1.5% of the total vote.  Thanks heaven that there won�t be any undecided voters on polling day.  Therefore, whoever will receive 49-50% of the votes will come out victorious.  However, a lot depends on how many minority and freshly registered voters would show up at the polling places.  The core Democrats � working class white, labors, college professors, university workers, and many teachers � are the backbone of the Democratic Party.  These folks will go and vote but their votes alone cannot catapult John Kerry to victory.  What is needed here is a massive voting by the minorities and college kids.  In addition, a small crossover votes from mildly Republicans voters would also help Kerry to win the election.  The bigger question at this time is: are these people going by droves to buzz the voting machine and register their consent?  For some thoughts on this please read the rest of my article.


After reaching the polling place at 8:50 a.m., what I saw was simply unbelievable.  The line was long, maybe 4-5 times longer than the usual.  Therefore, instead of waiting in the line for 10-12 minutes, today we had to wait for an hour to cast our votes.  This is indicative of a high voters turnout; which is good news for John Kerry.  Also, a high number of minority voters stood in the line.  I also saw some young face.  If the suburb of New Orleans maybe considered as a microcosm of America, then this year�s election is an unusual event.  Because of the intense campaign run by both the candidates, the bombardment of the airwaves with slick ads, three intense debates, and overall a wide coverage in both the print and electronic media � all have generated an unusual interest in this year�s presidential election.


By now, we all know that the Americans are pretty much divided over the issue of Iraq War.  President George Bush and his inner core of Republicans belong to a neo-conservative group that draws its juice from Christian Evangelical Movement.  Many liberal folks in America do not appreciate Bush�s mixing of religion with state.  On top of it, globally, �the Bush Doctrine� of pre�mptive strike against any nation that the neo-cons think as anti-American has caused enough concern amongst international community.  Just 2 days before the election, the Beijing Administration made a scathing remark about the �Bush Doctrine.�  Mr. Michael Moore in his legendary documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11, talked about how the rest of the world views America after this nation has waged a unilateral invasion against Iraq.  No wonder that the rest of the world wanted to see George Bush�s defeat in this election.  All these factors will play out in the minds of the voters as they decide who should run America for the next four years.


Another thing that is in the voters mind throughout the election season is � Is America headed in the right direction?  When pollsters asked this question repeatedly, the answer came as follows: about 52-55% of the voters thought that under Bush, America is headed in the wrong direction.  This sentiment would bring the crossover voters.  On November 1, 2004, I was listening to the National Public Radio�s (NPR) business report late in the afternoon.  In one of the news segment, the program dealt with the merits old-fashioned door-to-door campaigning.  In the battleground state of Pennsylvania, a Republican canvasser was going door-to-door reminding the registered Republicans to go and vote on November 2, 2004.  As the canvasser approached a couple, who are registered Republicans, the canvasser said, �Please vote tomorrow for the Republican ticket.�  The woman answering the door snapped back as she said, �Yes, we are planning to vote but not your candidate.�  The canvasser was dumbfounded.  He came to the house of a registered Republican to persuade them to vote for George Bush but he was not prepared to listen to voter�s rage.  The Republican canvasser swallowed his pride and then begged them to vote for other Republican candidates who are running for Congressional offices.  This piece of news really startled me because I now see that there will be tens and thousands of disgruntled Republicans who would cross the party line to vote for John Kerry.


In summary, what I saw today (the Election Day) in Louisiana, the state that is supposed to go for George Bush, is a very encouraging sign for Kerry-Edwards ticket.  A high turnout amongst the minorities and college kids may favor Kerry-Edwards ticket.  We will never know how many crossover votes will come to Kerry-Edwards� side.  However, if minority and core democratic voters along with freshly registered voters would cast their votes, then the ideologue president, George Bush would become a one-term president.  That is my thought on the Election Day.


Dr. A.H. Jaffor Ullah, a researcher and columnist, writes from New Orleans , USA

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