From what we can tell, it looks like W has won with a fairly overwhelming popular mandate, if not quite an overwhelming electoral victory. This, of course, was not the outcome we had hoped for. Like everyone else who has a blog, we are going to blog about it.
First, I think that we’re going to find two kinds of reactions from the pundits. The first is the reaction from the Republican camp, which will argue that Americans just love W, that Americans are happy with his government, his record at home and abroad, and want four more years. The second is the likely reaction from Democrats, which is that the election campaign was run poorly, that Kerry didn’t push his message far enough or hard enough (or create one at all), or something like that.
Our view is that the former is probably right. Despite the fact that people spend a lot of money on polling and campaigning and all that jazz, when voters have a clear preference, they act on that preference. What is depressing to us is not that Bush gets to be president some more (we pretty much thought so anyway) but rather that, under this view, it is pretty clear that we simply do not have preferences that are in line with most Americans. We believe in meaningful international alliances. We believe that stem cell research should be encouraged, as should sex education. We believe that the government should stay out of our bedroom. We believe that the founding document of our nation should not be amended to include a ban on two loving individuals asking for the same rights from the state that everyone else has, and that no law should be passed to do otherwise. We believe that Gregory Mankiw’s textbook is right, not the policy that he has sponsored as a member of the Council of Economic Advisors. We believe that, indeed, no child should be left behind. We believe that creating a new bureaucracy with an apt title is itself not a solution to a problem. We believe that protectionism in the economy is a distortion that costs everyone in the long run. We believe in foreign policy accountability. We believe that the buck does not stop right below us, at the person we appointed. We believe that Islam is a religion of peace, and we acknowledge that the majority of Muslims are not Arabs. We believe that companies should have to bid on government contracts. We believe that separation of church and state is fundamental, period. We believe that companies should be accountable for their pension funds (that means you, financial services and airline industries!). We believe that Social Security should be protected. We believe that countercyclical fiscal and monetary policy should involve planning for both the good times and the bad.
Our views are not the same as the American people. The Democratic Party fielded a candidate whose preferences clearly line closer to ours than those of the incumbent Republican, and the public chose otherwise. That little snot Tucker Carlson is going to accuse that slimy creep Paul Begala of being out of touch with America. We, it seems, are too.
For all of you who watched election projections online, let us close with the only really good one, created by an economist, Ray Fair. We have not talked about it because we thought it was bad luck, because he always had Bush winning. Well, it’s too late now, so here it is.
Jeff November 3, 2004
Sandy November 3, 2004
I think that this election was a referendum on the culture wars. Progressive ideas are scary to people – they feel threatened.