If You Had to Put Your Finger on the One Thing that Cost the Dems the Election It Was ...





Mr. Sleeper is a lecturer at Yale in the Political Science and Ethics, Politics and Economics departments.

Since I teach a seminar on"New Conceptions of American National Identity" here at Yale, where George W. Bush, John Kerry and I overlapped as undergraduates in the late 1960s, I couldn't avoid showing my students last week how Bush is reviving an old conception of our national identity. That conception depends on assumptions about free markets and spiritual salvation that are necessary, indeed, but nowhere near sufficient -- and often even counterproductive -- to sustaining republican freedom.

Bush backers think they've met the republican test set by Alexander Hamilton, who wrote that history had destined Americans,"by their conduct and example, to decide the important question, whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on accident and force." After all,"swift-boat" creepy crawlies and gay-marriage bans aside, the Bush campaign was relatively free of the malevolence that drove the Whitewater hearings, the Clinton impeachment gambit and the untrustworthy 2000 election. This year's election seemed" clean" because the force and fraud had come earlier and were already coursing through the republic's bloodstream more powerfully than at any time since the early Cold War.

What's happening was anticipated in"Death of a Yale Man," Malcolm Ross' long-forgotten memoir of his early post-college struggle to organize poor miners and farmers in Kentucky in the 1930s in order to help them govern themselves through reflection and choice. He watched them swept up instead in the raptures of tent revivals led by itinerant preachers such as Billy Sunday. They backed"monkey trials" like the Scopes case against teaching evolution in Tennessee. Driven, sometimes subtly, by force and fraud, they followed demagogues to mystical certitudes or to war and voted for politicians who stimulated their fears, not their hopes.

Hamilton's republican standard relies on expectations of civic truth-telling and trust that are compelling enough to sideline such escapism and to deepen trust itself. But trust has declined lately in favor of more and more litigation, gladiatorial entertainment, enemy hating and, failing all that, the diffuse rage you see on roadways and in body language in public places. No wonder so many cling to a commander in chief and answer the call to a huge, new national tent revival. They crave something more reassuring than the myopic, multiculturalist relativism of George McGovern; the overconfident Great Society"social engineering" of Lyndon Johnson and even the"highly rationalistic" Social Security liberalism of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John Dewey and John Maynard Keynes. We are going all the way back to Bush strategist Karl Rove's favorite president, William McKinley, champion of robber barons and the Spanish-American War but also, in Bush's view, of economic dynamism and Christian passion.

The vision was explained soon after Ronald Reagan's 1980 election by James Lucier, an assistant to conservative Republican Sen. Jesse Helms. The liberal"leadership groups that run the country -- not just the media but also the politicians, corporate executives … have been trained in an intellectual tradition that is … highly rationalistic," Lucier told journalist Elizabeth Drew in The New Yorker. That training -- the liberal education that Bush, Kerry and I encountered at Yale --"excludes most of the things that are important to the people who are selling cars and digging ditches," Lucier explained."The principles that we're espousing, have been around for thousands of years: The family …, faith that … there is a higher meaning than materialism. Property as a fundamental human right … and that a government should not be based on deficit financing and economic redistribution …. It's not the 'new right' -- people are groping for a new term. It's pre-political."

The contradictions here don't matter to conservatives whose deficit spending is a tactic to incapacitate and end Social Security as we know it -- part of a strategy of dissimulation and indirection described well by Yale professor Jacob Hacker. To them, Social Security is a"highly rationalistic" affront to the eternal truths of"property as a fundamental human right." But such a"pre-political" politics subverts self-governance that is classically liberal and that, in a republic, reinforces a logic of mutual trust, not dog-eat-dog competition relieved only by salvific or decadent escapes. Aristotle was right to call humans the noblest of animals under law and the most depraved when they abandon politics.

Lucier's candid antipathy to such politics recalls much in William F. Buckley Jr.'s"God and Man at Yale," which indicted both liberal education and liberal demands for the just disposition of property and opportunity -- the very liberalism Malcolm Ross worried over in"Death of a Yale Man." Bush & Co. are poised to extinguish it now in the whirlwind of self-reinforcing fears and private escapes that rabid free-marketeers have sown against a fading liberal-republican logic of public trust.

The only silver lining in the thunderclouds gathering above their big revival tent is that your race and religious denomination matter less now than in the past to conservatives' absorptive version of 1890s capitalism. If you're willing to displace the frustrations of having to work harder for lower wages and of living with an alienating, frightening consumerism and to worry instead about"guns, gays and God" -- the war on terrorism, the Defense of Marriage Act and the replacement of government bureaucracies by ecclesiastical ones -- there's a seat for you at the front of the bus, no matter your color. God can even hear the prayer of a neoconservative Jew.

To some extent, American liberals asked for this. A rights-obsessed liberalism that respects even anti-social, anti-republican selfishness as"difference" and suspends moral judgments still depends for its own survival on virtues and beliefs which liberalism alone cannot nourish much less defend: Rumpus may pose as liberating, but subtly it alienates people from one another and themselves enough to make them more pliable to Authority. Combine that deceiving relativism with liberalism's equally misguided respect for the supposed free speech"rights" of the corporate marketers who are ever more swaggering and intimately intrusive in our lives, but whose only"political" speech is dedicated to increasing profit and market share at any social cost, and you have millions leading lives of quiet desperation and degradation, looking for a Billy Sunday or a commander in chief.

Liberals' challenge isn't to mock those around us who are being drawn, like magnet filings, into this darkening, doomed crusade, but to acknowledge American liberalism's own estrangement from a national character that is often -- heaven help us -- a balancing act as weird as that of a Jack Nicholson movie character, tottering along on a tightrope between rampant materialism and faith.

Yale has been a crucible where future leaders learned to keep that balance constructively enough -- in themselves and in practicing the arts and graces of sustaining public trust -- to nourish a real republican politics. We saw that -- I think -- in Kerry's unforgettable concession speech, and I try to explain how it worked more fully in the forthcoming issue of The Politic. But those crucibles are being drained here now, or heated into cauldrons of ambition masked by rhetoric about saving"freedom" from its enemies. As the veteran conservative diplomats Stefan Halper and Jonathan Clarke put it in their new book,"America Alone," the American people have become like"a frog placed in a bowl of cool water as it is slowly heated over a fire. At the point the frog realizes the danger it is in, it is already too weakened to get out. It is boiled alive. Americans today find themselves in water with the temperature rising. To date the political discourse, impregnated as it is with neoconservative formulations, has led them to acquiesce in the demands of those who are stoking the fire."

Bush once said that he"didn't learn a damned thing at Yale." He certainly didn't learn to walk the tightrope of a liberal education any better than Dick Cheney, who dropped out of here. Both immediately displayed their contempt for the republic by becoming draft dodgers, as defined by every conservative at the time. But they took up the old,"Billy Sunday" balance that juggles God and war. Last week, millions who are drawn to that balance came out in droves, blaming social decay on big-government liberals, not on the casino-corporate economy that inundates us with violence and sexual degradation (and with the guns and Bibles to"protect" ourselves from it).

Let's hope that liberal republicanism can recover its own balance. Doing so will involve reopening questions about corporate capitalism that the left mishandled. It will mean ending our own dodging of these hard, basic problems of capitalism and republicanism by escaping into the dubious racialist and sexual"liberations" that have driven the unready into Bush's arms. But it will also mean challenging our own would-be grand strategists here, those who train some of us to role-play warlike pseudo-solutions to the nagging problems of internal decadence to which American corporate capitalism is joined at the hip. A Yale education should equip you to reopen foundational questions about how to nourish republican self-governance that ennobles us through reflection and choice, not though accident, force, fraud and fear.

 


This article first appeared in the Yale Daily News on November 10, 2004 and is reprinted with permission of the author.



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Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007


I think Clark might have done better than Kerry, and certainly he was not tainted (as was Kerry) by having voted to give the incompetent president a blank check to commit the greatest foreign policy blunder since Vietnam, if not the League of Nations non-ratification. But Dean deserves credit for being the first Democrat to stick his backbone out to the national public. I think my preferred choice, Clark and Dean flipping a coin after Iowa, heads P, tails VP, would have had an even better chance of winning Ohio and the White House, than either alone, or Kerry. My favorite non-choice for 2008 is Hillary. Her spineless vote for the Iraq resolution betrayal typifies her hypocritical lack of scruples. She is tough, shrewd and witty, but if the Democrats learn anything this month, they should learn that principles ultimately matter more than tactics, and by that measure, she is a pea in the pod with Karl Rove.


Dave Livingston - 1/7/2005

John Lederer,

Doubtlessly God does indeed have a sense of humor. After all, He gave us that facility. Ergo, He had(has)it to give.

Seemingly, neither humor nor compassion have survival value. Then from whence do they come, other than gifts? According to the evolution types anything without survival value shouldn't be retained by a species over the long term, no?


Dave Livingston - 1/7/2005

David Little,

You're right on the money that it did the Democrats no good to be "anti."

Their anti-gun position cost them the endorsement of Biush by the N.R.A. Granted, the N.R.A. has only 4 million members scattered across the country, but there are more than 80 million gun owners in the country, according to the "Christian Science Monitor." And it was, again according to the "Monitor," was irate gun owners who cost Gore the election of 2000. Evebn that master politician, Wm Clinton, observed it was the gun issue thatr cost the Democrats 20 seats in the House & therefore control of Congress for the first time in 50 years.

To quote the Pace University post-election assessment, www.nypost.com/seven/1119204/postopinion/opedcolumnists/34422.htm, of the 2004 election"Liberals have always comforted themselves with the idea that the future belongs to them. In fact, a survey of this year's new voters...suggests the opposite."

The majority, 54%, of first-time voters this year said they were Pro-Life and the abortion issue was a factor in swaying their votes.


Dave Livingston - 1/7/2005

Sorry 'bout that, the correct, I hope, url for the "Post" story is
www.nypost.com/seven/11192004/postopinion/opedcolumnists/34422.htm


Ben H. Severance - 11/22/2004

But Shelton did align himself with the Democrats. He endorsed John Edwards and served as his campaign advisor on foreign policy.

Whether Clark falsified anything remains to be determined. Whereas, most Americans know with certainty that President Bush falsified intelligence reports in order to justify invading Iraq. And his boy Gonzalez basically rewrote the Articles of War to justify torture.


Ben H. Severance - 11/22/2004

If you can't identify a political feed-bag when you see one, then I guess you'll believe what you want to believe. Just what did Reagan do for the Religious Right? Nothing but platitudes. Take a look at his record as California Governor; nothing pro-Life there.


John H. Lederer - 11/19/2004

"I've known Wes for a long time. I will tell you the reason he came out of Europe early had to do with integrity and character issues, things that are very near and dear to my heart. I'm not going to say whether I'm a Republican or a Democrat. I'll just say Wes won't get my vote.
--Gen. Shelton

Shelton refused to say more. In the military community it was belived that Shelton was referring to Clark having deliberately rewritten and falsified reports.


John H. Lederer - 11/19/2004

"All that man had to do was sprinkle God into his speeches and the Falwell types gushed praise"

It didn't seem to work at all for Kerry.

"...all the while forgetting the Reagan was staunchly pro-choice.."

Strange and not my recollection. Why did Reagan, for instance, say this in his 1986 State of the Union:

"America will never be whole as long as the right to life granted by our Creator is denied to the unborn. For the rest of my time, I shall do what I can to see that this wound is one day healed."
http://www.c-span.org/executive/transcript.asp?cat=current_event&;code=bush_admin&year=1986

Or this in 1984:

"I have endorsed each of these measures, as well as the more difficult route of constitutional amendment, and I will give these initiatives my full support. Each of them, in different ways, attempts to reverse the tragic policy of abortion-on-demand imposed by the Supreme Court ten years ago. Each of them is a decisive way to affirm the sanctity of human life."




John H. Lederer - 11/19/2004

"How smug to infer that all who opposed Bush were atheists. It’s about as stupid as saying all Republicans are 15th century witch-burners."

Please reread my comment --admittedly intended to be humorous. The point is that Bush's support increased among those who did not attend church regularly more than those who did. That would imply that Bush's support among atheists increased, and that that increase was critical in electing him.

I did not say that all who opposed Bush were atheists -- I said the contrary.

(assuming of course that lack of church attendance equates to atheism, an admittedly shaky assumption that requires..a leap of faith <g>)


Ben H. Severance - 11/19/2004

This nation's fundamentalists certainly helped Bush win, but that's because they've been the Republican party's lackey for over twenty years. The GOP has masterfully exploited the ideologically blind Religious Right since the days of Reagan. All that man had to do was sprinkle God into his speeches and the Falwell types gushed praise, all the while forgetting the Reagan was staunchly pro-choice. Bush jr. is a religious ideologue, but Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld are not. That trio of Machiavellians has no problem tossing snacks to the Religious Right as long as that "brood of vipers" keeps voting Republican.


Ben H. Severance - 11/19/2004

You're absolutely right about Dean. He did energize a party that seemed on the verge of languidly conceding a second Bush term. And Dean's initial impact contributed to the "Draft Clark" campaign. But while Dean served well as a de facto national party whip in the public sector, he is too Left and also suffers from being a New Englander, which I think is now a permanent liability for anyone seeking the White House. Right or wrong, the prevailing perception is that New Englanders are intellectual elitists who regard rural Red state folk as ignorant, parochial rubes who should submit to their social betters from the northeast (or their west coast latte-sipping transplants).

As for Hillary, she can dream of the presidency, but she'll never get it. Frankly, the first woman president will probably come from the Republican party. Active females Democrats will always be seen by Conservative America as "bitches on the rag." The first woman president won't be Elizabeth Dole, but it will be someone like her.


Michael Di Tore - 11/19/2004

The article is about a possibility of why the Republicans won and not a bash against military personnel.

Ask yourself: what EXACTLY what route did Bush take during the Vietnam war? We know the answers to that one.

What did Cheney do? He said he had more important things to do.

How odd that most of the people who have actually engaged in war have become unpatriotic while the ones who creeping to safety are now the warmongers. The military people are just the fodder to be used at the discretion of the politicians.


Vernon Clayson - 11/18/2004

Mr. Sleeper, you denigrate the thousands of National Guard and Reservists who have served and are serving by labeling them as draft dodgers. This may be accepted in your rarified atmosphere but tell it to the families of those who have died and are still dying. No one mentions it but every National Guardsman and every Reservist is a volunteer that may face danger, if anyone is a draft dodger it is those who take the Peace Corp route, Chris Matthews for instance. What did you do when you were of an age for service, take another difficult course in
writing or the like? The Dems lost because the majority of voters didn't like their candidate despite the war hero claims and stentorian speeches, Jeezus, he was overbearing and boring.


Ben H. Severance - 11/18/2004

Clark had a falling out with General Hugh Shelton and Sec. of Defense Cohen over degrees of how much force to use against the Serbs. Incidentally, the Clinton administration didn't remove Clark until he had essentially achieved victory in the Balkans. A similarly efficient victory in Iraq remains to be seen and we're going on twenty months of guerrilla strife.

As for integrity, I'll take Clark over George Bush, an immature individual who deliberately lied the nation into an unjust war and then willfully violated the Geneva Convention. Don't talk to me about integrity. Your monkey-boy president needs to first practice that virtue before claiming it as his own. Therein lies the holier than thou delusion of the Religious Right.


Michael Di Tore - 11/18/2004

How smug to infer that all who opposed Bush were atheists. It’s about as stupid as saying all Republicans are 15th century witch-burners.

The first mistake the Democrats made was to make John Kerry, the aloof, patrician Bostonian their candidate.

The second mistake was not learning the tricks of Karl Rove's political packaging which included wooing the church goers. The man's a genius.

To win next time, Democrats will have to talk values, not shy away from them.
That doesn't mean embracing the Republican agenda, but framing issues in moral and ethical terms.

No it was not G_d. The Republicans won because they had a very clear idea of what they stood for. The Democrats did not


John H. Lederer - 11/18/2004

Gen. Clark --- wasn't he the one who was relieved of command for what the the Army Chief of Staff said were reasons of "integrity"?


Ben H. Severance - 11/18/2004

Democratic defeat is directly attributable to the shortcomings of Kerry as a national candidate. He was the wrong man, whom the DNC under that fool McAuliffe engineered to win the screwy primary system. Now, Kerry made a valiant effort, but he just couldn't win over enough people, or the right people.

The best man for the Democrats in 2004 was Wesley Clark. As a decorated four-star general, his military and foreign policy credentials were impeccable. And I can't imagine the GOP launching so foul a smear campaign as the SBVs against someone as respectable and likeable as Clark. The general was also from the Red State of Arkansas, thus he was a southerner and a westerner (he won the OK primary). Furthermore, he was proudly Protestant, but not a fundamentalist. Unlike Kerry, he was neutral on such hot-button issues as abortion and homosexuality, which is a stance future Democratic aspirants must take. In the end, Clark could well have siphoned off a significant number of Republicans who have become disenchanted with the Bush Doctrine and the administration's reckless fiscal policy. The nation might be talking about Clark Republicans in the same way it spoke of Reagan Democrats. Oh well, I campaigned in vain for the general, then voted in vain for Kerry.

Its time for Christian Democrats, and there are many of them, to risk violating the sensitive matter of separation of church and state, and wrest control of the Body of Christ from the Religious Right Pharisees. But if the Democrats pick Dean to chair the DNC and nominate Hillary in 2008, then that party will have clearly learned nothing. Never again a Secular Humanist Yankee!!!


John H. Lederer - 11/18/2004

From an interview with Warren Mitofsky, a principal in the outfit that did the exit polls:

"One thing he{Warren Mitofsky] confirmed to me is that the average deviation to Kerry in the completed version of the exit poll was +1.9%. This figure was arrived at by comparing and averaging, on a precinct to precinct level, the exit poll data and the precinct vote returns. When asked if the full 1.9% deviation could be explained by non-response bias (Kerry voters being more likely to complete the exit poll than Bush voters), he said, "It's my opinion, but I can't prove it." He went on to say that it would be an impossible thing to "prove" categorically because there exist an infinite number of variables that could have a micro-impact on the exit poll which could combine for a statistically significant impact. These factors ranged from the weather to the distance from the polling place some of his poll takers were forced to stand. He is also trying to determine whether there is a statistically significant correlation between certain types of precincts and the non-response deviation. Again, right now he feels the most reasonable and logical explanation of the average 1.9% deviation for Kerry was non-response bias.

One possibility he was able to rule out, though, is touch screen voting machines that don't leave any paper trail being used to defraud the election. To prove this, he broke down precincts based on the type of voting machine that was used and compared the voting returns from those precincts with his own exit polls. None of the precincts with touch screen computers that don't leave paper trails, or any other type of machine for that matter, had vote returns that deviated from his exit poll numbers once the average 1.9% non-response bias was taken into account."

http://mayflowerhill.blogspot.com/2004/11/mayflower-hill-exclusive-warren.html


John H. Lederer - 11/18/2004

From an interview with Warren Mitofsky, a principal in the outfit that did the exit polls:

"One thing he{Warren Mitofsky] confirmed to me is that the average deviation to Kerry in the completed version of the exit poll was +1.9%. This figure was arrived at by comparing and averaging, on a precinct to precinct level, the exit poll data and the precinct vote returns. When asked if the full 1.9% deviation could be explained by non-response bias (Kerry voters being more likely to complete the exit poll than Bush voters), he said, "It's my opinion, but I can't prove it." He went on to say that it would be an impossible thing to "prove" categorically because there exist an infinite number of variables that could have a micro-impact on the exit poll which could combine for a statistically significant impact. These factors ranged from the weather to the distance from the polling place some of his poll takers were forced to stand. He is also trying to determine whether there is a statistically significant correlation between certain types of precincts and the non-response deviation. Again, right now he feels the most reasonable and logical explanation of the average 1.9% deviation for Kerry was non-response bias.

One possibility he was able to rule out, though, is touch screen voting machines that don't leave any paper trail being used to defraud the election. To prove this, he broke down precincts based on the type of voting machine that was used and compared the voting returns from those precincts with his own exit polls. None of the precincts with touch screen computers that don't leave paper trails, or any other type of machine for that matter, had vote returns that deviated from his exit poll numbers once the average 1.9% non-response bias was taken into account."

http://mayflowerhill.blogspot.com/2004/11/mayflower-hill-exclusive-warren.html


John H. Lederer - 11/18/2004

From an interview with Warren Mitofsky, a principal in the outfit that did the exit polls:

"One thing he{Warren Mitofsky] confirmed to me is that the average deviation to Kerry in the completed version of the exit poll was +1.9%. This figure was arrived at by comparing and averaging, on a precinct to precinct level, the exit poll data and the precinct vote returns. When asked if the full 1.9% deviation could be explained by non-response bias (Kerry voters being more likely to complete the exit poll than Bush voters), he said, "It's my opinion, but I can't prove it." He went on to say that it would be an impossible thing to "prove" categorically because there exist an infinite number of variables that could have a micro-impact on the exit poll which could combine for a statistically significant impact. These factors ranged from the weather to the distance from the polling place some of his poll takers were forced to stand. He is also trying to determine whether there is a statistically significant correlation between certain types of precincts and the non-response deviation. Again, right now he feels the most reasonable and logical explanation of the average 1.9% deviation for Kerry was non-response bias.

One possibility he was able to rule out, though, is touch screen voting machines that don't leave any paper trail being used to defraud the election. To prove this, he broke down precincts based on the type of voting machine that was used and compared the voting returns from those precincts with his own exit polls. None of the precincts with touch screen computers that don't leave paper trails, or any other type of machine for that matter, had vote returns that deviated from his exit poll numbers once the average 1.9% non-response bias was taken into account."

http://mayflowerhill.blogspot.com/2004/11/mayflower-hill-exclusive-warren.html


William A. Henslee - 11/18/2004

The dilemma of of the Democrats is that they can't understand why some people spurn their offers of more bread and circuses.

Materialists themselves, they've lost the capacity to understand that calls to higher values than "what's good for them" motivate a lot of Americans.

The values issue isn't about God and religion. It's about morality and character. Those values don't apply just to gay marriage and abortion, but also to the daily life of most Americans as well as their views on economic and foreign policies and especially to the conflict with Muslim fanaticism.

If John Kerry couldn't distinguish between Whoopie grabbing her crotch and "the moral values all Americans share" then he doesn't really share those values and can't expect to hoodwink those who do into voting for him.

Classic liberalism had a high moral content that appealed to Americans, but the elitist Democrat party of today seems to feel they can simply offer more bread and circuses and win elections. How demeaning. How condescending.


John H. Lederer - 11/18/2004

Robert,\\I don't quite know how to respond. If you think the two instances (and some others) that you cited actually affected the end totals for President, I suggest you google and read the explanations and why they did not carry through to the totals.

If you are aware of the explanations, and just don't want to believe them, then there is proabably not much sense in discussion as I suspect we have entered an area of faith.


John H. Lederer - 11/18/2004

....or the agnostics wavered....


Charles Edward Heisler - 11/17/2004

Well said here! The commentators here echo the sentiments expressed throughout Democratdom--Republicans were led by the nose to vote for Bush--unthinking, unreasoning, herds of ignorant voters.
All of this blather overlooks the obvious slave mentality of many groups of Democratic voters that are, by voting Democratic in the 90th percentile, much more representative of voting ignorance. Not a peep about these voters from the Left.
You are right of course, so long as the Democratic commentators continue to respond to their wounds with the exact intelligence as the Black Knight from Monty Python--"Oh, that doesn't hurt, I can still fight!" as he is being successfully dismembered, they will continue to lose elections.
It would appear from what I read that the last best hope of Democrats is that we somehow lose the war on terrorism in general and in Iraq specifically. Now, what kind humanity is there in those thoughts? "Maybe we can get it all back if and only if the Iraqi people are returned to their pre-invasion state." I like the Republican message that many on the Left apparently did not hear or think is nonsense--men want to be free and freedom trumps terrorism.


Robert Harbison - 11/17/2004

Favored the democrats?? You MUST be joking. Look at Ohio: Precints with 800 resident voters reporting 4 THOUSAND votes for Bush?? A county with 13 thousand resident voters reporting EIGHTEEN thousand votes, 14 thousand of them for Bush??

Voter fraud favored the democrats? Only in BushWorld.


Lynn Bryan Schwartz - 11/17/2004

This article represents just one of many articles on HNN that treat religion in the United States has a terrible evil. A number of articles here argue that millions of Americans are nothing but a bunch of ignorant, bible-thumping, hillbilly rubes that have been lead by the nose by the lies of Republicans. As a graduate student who comes from a Midwestern family that probably falls into that ignorant demographic many Democrats say are deceived, I am completely offended. Democrats will never win voters by writing them off. Moreover, I was under the impression that the Democrats claim to be the party of inclusion. Obviously, the religious are exempted from that inclusion. Finally, I will only briefly remind readers here that religion has frequently played a vital dynamic role in our civic life and has been an important and progressive force for democracy and freedom. Abolitionism is just one example. But, I guess, historians that let their politics cloud their judgement may dismiss abolitionists as fundamentalist, Christian fanatics, warmongers, and Republicans.


Agustin Goba - 11/17/2004

The Democrats didsn't lose; America did. And Kerry didn't win because of one simple reason; the Republicans are better at cheating. They have set up a massive election fraud machine and they control the manufacture and sale of most of the computerized voting machines in the country. I thought this was supposed to be a history site. Don't any of you historians remeber what Staloin said? "It doesn't matter who votes; al that matters is who counts the votes."


david little - 11/17/2004

it's impossible to sell a negative. The Dems don't offer a positive plan, they're just anti-<everything>. Anti-business, anti-Bush, anti-gun, anti-God, anti-people. Unless you're a minority of one sort or another, you really don't have a place in the Democratic party. And, comparing Republicans to Billy Sunday isn't exactly helpful.


Charles Edward Heisler - 11/17/2004

Or, some atheists have a sense of good old American values!


John H. Lederer - 11/17/2004

My best estimate is that vote fraud was "light to moderate". To the extent it existed it probably favored democrats. I am quite sure that was the case here (Wisconsin) -- possibly by enough to have tipped the state, though 5,000 votes would seem a more likely "probable" upper bound on it here.(Wisconsin had a 11.000 vote margin)

As to "electronic means" The open source people have a proposal on how to vote electronically with, it seems to me, a vastly reduced vulnerability to fraud. It seems a shame that the Democrats who pushed so hard for electronic voting did not equally push hard for a method fairly resistant to fraud.


Charles Christopher Tucker - 11/17/2004

What cost this country the true victor was the lack of national level journalism actually doing their jobs. After the clear disenfranchisement in Florida prior to the 2000 election the national media did not report the repeated disenfranchisement and harassment of voters, this time not only in Florida but in several more states.

If they had devoted half the time to reporting the truth about the preparations to steal this election that they gave to covering one small-time murder in California or the sex-crime trial that wasn't in Colorado this election would not have been stolen.

Let's face it, the national press doesn't want to report this truth. The companies that own the media don't want the story reported so we get Scott Peterson and Kobe Bryant and Martha Stewart until we are totally sick of those stories and beyond. We get stories on how the evangelicals helped Bush get his win while the story of how Diebold and Blackwell stole the Ohio electoral votes isn't reported at all.

The evangelicals didn't win this election for Bush. Disenfranchisement and vote fraud by electronic means had a much larger impact, but that story upsets the corporate-run media owners so it doesn't get any airing.


John H. Lederer - 11/17/2004

Since the percentage of voters who go to church regularly was about the same in 2000 and 2004 (42% both elections), and they voted only slightly more republican, whereas those who did not go to church regularly were about 3-4% more republican in 2004...the only reasonable conclusion is that it was the atheists who lost the election for Kerry.....

Guess God does have a sense of humor.


John H. Lederer - 11/17/2004

Since the percentage of voters who go to church regularly was about the same in 2000 and 2004 (42% both elections), and they voted only slightly more republican, whereas those who did not go to church regularly were about 3-4% more republican in 2004...the only reasonable conclusion is that it was the atheists who lost the election for Kerry.....

Guess God does have a sense of humor.


Michael Di Tore - 11/15/2004

Right on! Fits perfectly with the argument that the ascendant Bush Republicans are in the midst of subverting the United States' republic with a theocracy, and that Bush & Co. have embarked us in a new age of unreason that rejects many of the Enlightenment concepts upon which this country was founded.

Their autocratic view in their exercise of power should be denounced and it isn't because the the press doesn't function like the press anymore ... if it ever did.

I hope somewhere all Americans will reach deep inside, Democrats and Republicans and others, and recover before they are all are boiled alive like the frog in slowly heated water.

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