Friday, November 05, 2004

Whistle in the dark, if the tune makes sense 

Excerpt from a good post over at Donkey Rising:

But there is a vast difference between a vibrant and compelling campaign that doesn’t quite make it over the top and a campaign that is fundamentally a failure. The Dems have had more then a few of the latter kind, but 2004 wasn’t one of them.

“But we did worse then we did in 2000” people say, “We’re going backward, not forward”.

Nonsense. The truth is that in presidential elections the Democrats have basically been a minority party since 1968, when George Wallace cut deeply into the Dems blue-collar support in Michigan and the other industrial states as well as the South. In 1972, when the Republicans played the “Real Majority” vs. the “Elitists” game against the Dems for the first time, Nixon got 60% of the vote to McGovern’s 37%. Carter won a narrow victory in 1976 but look at the record since then.

Jimmy Carter

vs. Reagan+Anderson

Walter Mondale

vs. Reagan

Michael Dukakis

vs. Bush Sr.

Bill Clinton

vs Bush+Perot

Democrats never got anywhere even close to 50% of the vote until Clinton’s reelection campaign in 1996 (Clinton 49%, Dole/Perot 49%) and Gore’s 2000 run (Gore 48%, Bush 48%).

But in both of these latter campaigns the Democrats were running as incumbents or former Vice-Presidents, not as challengers. 2004 was the first time a Democrat ran as a challenger in more then a decade and Kerry faced a President who had, at the outset, high approval ratings, the patriotic fervor of an apparently successful war behind him, the overt support of one of the major TV networks, and the most extensive grass-roots voter mobilization the Republican Party had ever fielded.

And yet Kerry and Edwards came closer to unseating their opponent and closer to winning 50% of the vote then had any Democratic challengers in the last three decades.


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