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    Overheard on the Web, and other Web links
    From The Herald's Research Editor

    Thursday, November 04, 2004

    What happened? 

    Here are a few explanations on why the election went the way it did. I expect the analyses will keep coming, but these struck me yesterday (couldn't post then because I couldn't get in to edit). I'll be adding to this list:
    • Open Secrets: Money Wins. The Center for Responsive Politics, which does such a great job of keeping track of campaign financing and its effect on government, looked at the races and determined that most winners were the ones who gathered and spent the most money.
    • Simple but Effective: Slate's political editor William Saletan says that's what George W. Bush is:
        Bush is a very simple man. You may think that makes him a bad president, as I do, but lots of people don't - and there are more of them than there are of us. If you don't believe me, take a look at those numbers on your TV screen.
        ...This is what so many people like about Bush's approach to terrorism. They forgive his marginal and not-so-marginal screw-ups, because they can see that fundamentally, he "gets it."

    • Mark Lane, at Florida Blog, discussing the Martinez-Castor Senate race, said: "...the guy who goes negative the hardest wins."
    • Moral values: it's what people cited most as their reason to vote for Bush. Beliefnet has the statistics.
    • The Maps: here are a couple maps that can help focus on exactly who voted how: USA Today shows vote by county. It makes the red/blue even more obvious...even in the states that went for Kerry the votes were mostly in the cities (and, maybe, some predominately black rural counties). Boing Boing has a map by a reader that changes the stark red/blue states to shades of purple, showing how close it really was....
    • Gary Wills, in the New York Times (The Day the Enlightenment Went Out), emphasizes the religious question:
        "This election confirms the brilliance of Karl Rove as a political strategist. He calculated that the religious conservatives, if they could be turned out, would be the deciding factor.
        ...America, the first real democracy in history, was a product of Enlightenment values - critical intelligence, tolerance, respect for evidence, a regard for the secular sciences. Though the founders differed on many things, they shared these values of what was then modernity."

        But, he says, the Enlightenment is over in this country. America is now a fundamentalist nation.
        "...Where else do we find fundamentalist zeal, a rage at secularity, religious intolerance, fear of and hatred for modernity? Not in France or Britain or Germany or Italy or Spain. We find it in the Muslim world, in Al Qaeda, in Saddam Hussein's Sunni loyalists."

    • Joel Achenbach, in the Washington Post ("A Victory for 'Values', but Whose?) says it's the Gay thing:
        " marriage now seems essential to any conversation about the 2004 election.
        ..Bush won 61 percent of the white male vote in a nation that, despite everything you hear in the progressive media, is still swarming with white guys."

      And quotes a minister who voted for Bush: ""The Democratic Party stands for, by and large, the dismantling of marriage as we've known it as a civilization," he said."
    • Bill Bennett, in the National Review, says pretty much the same thing.

    posted by liz at 9:30 AM
    Comments: Post a Comment

    Elisabeth Donovan

    Elisabeth (Liz) Donovan was a Herald librarian for 10 years, and Research Editor for 13 years. She came to The Herald in 1981, following several years at the Washington Post. She started blogging in 2000, with a news research blog, followed by the blog at in 2003. A frequent speaker and writer on news research, she was honored in 2004 by the News Division of the Special Libraries Association for her contributions to the field.

     Latest posts

       •  The Pledge
       •  Blog silence
       •  Following the Count
       •  Watching the Vote
       •  Voting
       •  Another prediction:
       •  Problems in Florida
       •  Predicting the vote - and the war
       •  Those wolves, again
       •  The cost of Iraq

       •  July 1990
       •  October 2004
       •  November 2004
       •  December 2004
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       •  February 2005
       •  March 2005
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