Commentary - #7 November 4, 2004

Election Post-Mortem

Winners

The real winners are the American People, who did much to reclaim their politics, not just by voting in droves, but by coming out in large numbers to participate in the political process as soldiers in the greatest political ?ground war? in American history. The media ?air war? is not what won the election for President nationwide, it was people contacting other people on behalf of their candidates -- knocking on doors, phoning, standing out with signs, planting signs, handing out information to voters on the streets, in supermarkets and all over, turning out for rallies, recruiting other volunteers, and on and on. The real story of the 2004 elections is the vast increase in people?s political involvement -- a win-win result for all of us, not the zero-sum, win/lose of political horse races. People were the ?killer ap? of 2004 politics, even though others have thought that the Internet age meant that people would turn into electronic couch potatoes, rotating between their TV remotes and PC clicks.

The question is, once the dust settles and we all catch our breaths: Will the people who discovered that their political involvement made a difference now drop back and drop out, or will they stay involved, to continue to take their politics back from the political junkies, pro?s and media talking heads who had nearly taken it over? The only book that deals with the crucial question, and the only one that predicted that people could and would make a difference, and how, is We, The People: A Conservative Populism.

Evidence

(1) That fact that the more moderate, basically conservative side of the great American majority took charge is reflected in the fact that ?moral values? turned out to play such a major role in Bush?s narrow victory. The outpouring of political volunteers as well as voters concerned about the gay marriage issue, also on the Ohio ballot, swung the state for Bush.

(2) The approximately 55% Kerry/45% Bush divide exhibited by vote counts from young and new voters imply that Bush will win the complete and final count for Ohio even though this will not be done for at least a week after Nov. 2nd, a fact already acknowledged by Kerry?s concession on Nov. 3rd.

Implications

We, The People also implies that both parties will now need to go to work to revive and strengthen their local bases of organization ? the D?s because they lost and because so much of their near win relied on the activities of non-party organizations driven only by a big negative ? anybody but Bush, and the GOP because they won through the activities of their individual political volunteers, most of whom were not members of Republican local political party committees and Clubs.

Conclusion

As one observer has noted: The book We, The People has been validated by the election. The book itself validates, explains and advances the people-based politics ? the great ?ground war? -- that enabled Kerry to come close and Bush to win. Those who want to know how to win campaigns from this point forward should buy the book.

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