American Proscenium

In the Wake of November

George W. Bush’s electoral victory stunned pundits and pollsters.  I was more surprised by the preelection polls than by the President’s margin of victory, which I had been correctly predicting for several months.  When the Zogby numbers were brought to me at the end of the day, predicting a Kerry victory by 100 electoral votes, my confidence in my own judgment was shaken for a moment, but then I reflected.  Which is more likely, that Zogby should have made a mistake—or let his ethnic (Arab) prejudice against Bush bias his interpretation—or that the American people had suddenly lurched either to the left or into conservative sanity?

Even before the nomination of John Kerry, I was offering odds on the Republican candidate.  It was not that President Bush was a particularly strong candidate; but he, at least, looked and talked like a normal American, albeit not a very well-educated one.  For many conservatives and all leftists, “anybody but Bush” was preferable; anybodies, however, do not win elections.  The Democrats needed somebody, and what I doubted was the Democratic Party’s ability to come up even with the half-a-man who could defeat the President.  As it turned out, there was no probable candidate running in the Democratic primaries.

At the start of the campaign, there were just two major issues: the war in Iraq and the economy. ...

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