Kerry-Bush Win by Landslides

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Nader 397,468 - Badnarik (Libertarian) 379.000 - Cobb (Green Party) 105,590 -- Kerry (Dem) 55,750,105 -- Bush (Rep) 59,284,062. By the Republican standard, Nader won among third party candidates with a progressive mandate! This is rather laughable, considering how close the numbers were between Kerry and Bush.

Even the Electoral College vote was close, where just one state could have reversed the result. The only mandate coming out of this election is that our country needs a president who can cross party lines and represent a true majority of American's interests. Without fulfillment of such a mandate, the divide in America will only deepen and splinter.

As many others have said, the ball is now entirely in the Republican's court. Sen. Arlen Specter (R) has issued a warning to President Bush regarding Supreme Court nominees. Sen. McCain will no doubt splinter another campaign finance and environmental issue group among Republicans. Moderate Republicans will oppose very conservative Republicans on 'privatizing' a portion of Social Security if the 1 Trillion dollar hole it leaves is not filled with revenue increases or commensurate cuts in Social Security benefits. Republicans will now have to demonstrate an ability to manage a 'Big Tent' party with many factions, some opposing others. In just two years, Republicans in Congress will be running for reelection and given the deep and pretty evenly split populations in some barely red states, the GOP could easily lose Congressional seats in 2006.

A large portion of the responsibility for insuring the GOP itself does not become divided will fall on President Bush himself. If Bush moves to far and too fast to the right, or the war in Iraq does not improve, or the economy falters, or real wages fall, or jobs continue their lackluster growth, President Bush will face increasing opposition from within his own party as Congressional Republicans fight for their political lives in their own states. It remains to be seen if President Bush and his advisors, without the Democrats to blame for opposition, can hold their American 3.5 million voter majority together over the next two election cycles in 2006 and 2008.

The Democratic Party still suffers from the inherent weakness of being an all inclusive party. It is a real catch 22 for the Democrats. If they more narrowly focus their platform and limit their issues to those with broad electorate appeal, they will downsize their party by alienating many of the splinter single issue constituencies like gay and lesbian groups and anti-war groups. On the other hand, if they do not narrow their platform, they will wear the ultra-liberal label that hung around their necks like an albatross in this 2004 election and cost them crucial votes in key states.

Third parties may have a window of opportunity over the next 3 election cycles. If this election's mandate that the President cross party lines and unite a large majority of the electorate is not fulfilled, both the Democratic and Republican parties will lose their cohesiveness and send moderates and centrists looking for alternatives. The number of registered independent voters choosing to no longer identify with the Democratic or Republican parties is on the rise and has been for decades. Increases in Independent voters’ numbers can become an opportunity for third parties.

The number of third party votes this election is deceiving. They are small. But, that was very likely in large part due to Libertarians voting Republican and Green Party and Nader supporters voting Democratic, fearing the consequences of a landslide win and mandate by conservatives or progressives, which of course never materialized. If Nader would rejoin the Green Party and Libertarians continue their grassroots efforts in local races, and each targets disaffected voters under the Democratic or Republican tents, large gains could potentially be made in their respective memberships over the next 12 years.

There are now disaffected Democratic voters who have lost faith in the Democratic Party’s ability to represent Middle American values. And should the economy, deficits, Iraq, or Homeland Defense falter under the Republicans, there will be a growing number of disaffected Republican voters to recruit to third party membership. In the past, political memory of the electorate has been short. That is changing. Democrats have been unable to lose their memory of the 2000 election and now blame both Gore and the Republicans for that defeat. The same will be true for Republicans as they face up to the Republican government’s inability to stem the growing national debt without negatively affecting quality of life issues for working class Republican voters.

The third parties must learn to trust in the deep divide and convince voters that their vote for a third party is not a vote for the Democrats or Republicans, but, a vote for independence from those two major parties which are doing our nation more harm than good. In other words, if the third parties target the two major parties as ineffective and even destructive to mainstream goals of fiscal responsibility, minimum living standards for all employed Americans and their dependents, and a safer America, then third parties and their voter turnout can, and very likely will, grow dynamically in future elections as intractable problems fail to improve under the two major parties.

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This page contains a single entry by David R. Remer published on November 4, 2004 6:43 PM.

Too Close to Call was the previous entry in this blog.

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