A Post-Election Blues

Senator Kerry�s defeat and take home message for American liberals

A.H. Jaffor Ullah


On November 2, 2004, the voters of America spoke quite clearly. A 51% of them sided with the conservative candidate, George W. Bush while 48% of them voted for Senator Kerry. When all the votes will be counted in Iowa and New Mexico, the 12 electoral votes held by these two states will also go for Bush. Thus, the final electoral vote counts will be as follows: Bush 286 and Kerry 252.

This year�s election gives legitimacy to Bush�s presidency. In 2000, Al Gore had received nearly half a million popular votes more than garnered by Bush. Moreover, the vote count in Florida was mired with litigation and what not. Finally, to break the deadlock, the U.S. Supreme Court had to intervene siding with the Bush camp. Taken all of these facts together, Americans were not comfortable with the legitimacy of Bush�s ascendancy to power. George Bush had to fight this stigma everyday as he sat in the Oval Office. He must have heaved a great sigh of relief today (November 3, 2004) knowing that he garnered 51% of the popular votes.

Today�the day after Election Day, Nov. 2�was particularly a rough one; it was a day of reckoning for millions of liberals in America. Their candidate was defeated in the election. The win was a resounding victory for Religious Rights�the Neo-cons. Bush�s campaign manager, Karl Rove, who architect this win had received a pat on the back when Bush addressed an enthusiastic crowd in Washington D.C. to break the news that Senator Kerry had called him to concede the election to him. Mr. Bush profusely thanked Karl Rove while calling him �the Architect� of Republican Victory.

Many people do not know who Mr. Karl Rove is. Mr. Rove also managed Bush�s 2000 campaign. His election strategy right from the beginning was to energize the rightist elements of American society. The Republican Party had courted the Religious Rights and conservatives since the unsuccessful campaign for the White House in 1964 when the party nominated Senator Barry Goldwater to run against a populist President by the name Lyndon B. Johnson. The Republican Part lost very badly in that election only winning six southern states in the Bible-belt of America with 52 electoral candidates, whereas President Johnson captured 44 states with 494 electoral votes. Now, that was a landslide victory! Many historians now think that the defeat in 1964 was not a total loss for Republicans. The party moved to the right from center of the political spectrum. It took them a while to build their new political constituency based solely on conservatism. This cycle was completed in 1980 when Ronal Reagan ran against the centrist candidate President Jimmy Carter. While the Republicans were very much immersed in conservatism, the Democrats were moving slightly to the left. In 1972, Senator George McGovern ran against President Richard Nixon with an anti-war platform only to see that the president garnered an astounding 520 electoral votes. Another political landslide, of course. Senator McGovern carried only the state of Massachusetts and the District of Columbia receiving pitiful 17 electoral votes.

The Democrats learned a lifetime lesson from the ignominious defeat in 1972. The party moved to the center in 1976 capturing the White House while electing Jimmy Carter as the president. Then the mood of the nation soured and the nation moved to the right in the heydays of the Cold Water. The nation then elected a rightist candidate, Governor Ronald Reagan of California. The streak of conservatism ran 12 long years. The Democrats then engineered to take back the White House; they did it by moving to the right side of political spectrum while they nominated Bill Clinton, who never claimed to be a liberal politician. This did the trick; the Americans voted for him in droves in 1992 and again in 1996.

In 2000, the Republican Party courted the Moral Majority�a hodgepodge of Evangelists from southern states�running a campaign based on ultra-conservative themes. Karl Rove engineered this scheme. They did the same with but with much vigor in 2004. Do you remember the three debates in September and October of 2004? President Bush tried to put �liberal� label on Senator Kerry. This was a calculated move by the Republicans. Karl Rove�s strategy was to label Kerry and Edward ticket as a leftist liberal ticket and to spook the voter allover America. In my view, this tactic worked to sway 3-4 million crucial voter nationwide. If you look carefully the vote tally, you will see that Bush had received 3.7 million more votes than what Kerry had garnered on November 2, 2004.

This morning (November 3), 50 million plus liberals in America had received theirs wakeup call. Let us face the hard reality that there are more conservatives in America. As long as the Republican Party runs presidential campaign in the future with conservative platform, they will beat the Democrats hands down in every election. This is the take home message from the election of November 2, 2004. The liberals did not learn the hard lesson in the aftermath of defeat in presidential election in 2000 by Al Gore. To capture the White House in 2008, the Democrats have to look for a centrist candidate or else the same fate waits for them four years from now.

The liberals are very perturbed now in the aftermath of Kerry�s defeat. The Kerry campaign ran a near flawless campaign touching their constituency but in the end, it mattered a little. Karl Rove�s gang had spooked the growing neo-cons and all streaks of conservatives by driving home the point that if Kerry is elected, he would ruin the dreams of millions of neo-cons by making this great republic into a welfare state where lesbian and homosexual couples will be united to lead their family life, tens and thousands of fecund women will sell their embryo for lucrative stem cell research, and on top of this al-Qaeda will blast off nukes everywhere to make the life of Americans miserable. After all, scare tactics have worked in the past, it worked now, and the future neo-cons and conservatives will use it to unify their base.

Under this bleak scenario, there is no chance for liberal candidates to win back the White House. The liberals should take this ominous development in America with stride. There is a fair chance that America could import this new-fangled ideology to other nations on earth with disastrous result. The proverbial chicken will come to roost. Therefore, some action is necessary to redefine liberalism in America. Perhaps the liberals should stay a million mile away from lesbians, homosexuals, and other fringe groups just to foil Karl Rove�s nasty intrigue if they want to capture the White House in 2008.


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

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