Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

So what happened?

While the election is not officially declared at this time (early in the AM Wednesday), it looks very unlikely that Kerry will pull off the victory. Bush is ahead in Ohio by over 100,000 votes and while there are as many as 250,000 provisional ballots yet to be counted (and usually 80% of those get counted), they would have be overwhelmingly for Kerry to make a difference. Possible but very unlikely.

Early in the election night, exit polls were showing data about first time voters that strongly hinted they would go for Kerry. However, when within a few hours, it looked much more like they were leaning for Bush. I believe this is because so many of the first time voters were rural voters and exit pollsters may not have been properly position to account for that. Check out's state by state results and look at the county numbers. You'll see that Bush was winning rural counties by as much as 70% or 75%! In Ohio for example, Kerry won Cleveland, Columbus, and even Dayton. In Cincinnati (an infamously right wing city), Kerry did much better than Gore did but still lost. However, Bush really won on a tidal wave of rural voters. NPR is reporting that most of these voters claimed "moral values" as their main motivation. In other words, Karl Rove seems to have been justified in his "win through Evangelicals alone" strategy.

This is a clear victory for the forces of Religious Conservatism. Social conservatism will be at the core of American policy for the next 30 years because of this election. Bush will appoint two or three social conservatives to the Supreme Court and that will be the dominant feature of social policy for years to come.

Before the election Bush had said things about "reaching out to Democrats." He said similar things before the 2000 election but has made little attempt to do so in the last four years. To Bush, "reaching out to Democrats" means asking Democrats to agree with his position. I have no confidence that Bush will do anything other than move further to the right after this. I also firmly believe that he'll order significant military attacks against Iran (probably air strikes).

We will see what happens in 2006. I don't think both parties can maintain this level of turnout indefinitely. I suspect that the 2006 election will return to the usual pattern of the minority party gaining seats. I'm still confident that Bush's policies will be an unmitigated disaster both at home and abroad. So I think the Democrats have a real shot at getting one or both houses of Congress in 2006.

Meanwhile, the world will take this election result as an indication that ALL Americans are behind Bush. WE ARE NOT. I ask that they look closely at the results and see what this election really says. The country is split 50-50 but the rural 50 gets overrepresented in our system so it exaggerates support.

In California, there is a different picture. Voters passed ballot initiative 71, which Governor Schwarzenegger supported, providing state funding (through a bond) for stem cell research.

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