Thursday, November 04, 2004

US Elections - An Analysis

So, that's that, then. Bush remains in the White House for a second term, another four years. The question that remains is whether the next four years will be the same as the last four or will Bush try and change the way he is running his country and treating the rest of the world?

Well, domestically at least, I think he probably will. If unemployment continues to rise and the budget deficit increases further, then I don't think the next Republican candidate (be it Dick Cheney or not) would have much chance of getting in in 2008, so he will need to do something about these (and other similar) issues.

However, US domestic policy doesn't have much direct impact on us (though if Bush happens to make the dollar strong again then I'm sure our export industries would be happy) so it's Bush's foreign policy that really concerns us.

Let's face it, The World Trade Centre attack was the making of George W Bush as president. Until that happened he had seemed a rather lacklustre guy, destined to be voted out after a single term. That Tuesday afternoon back in September 2001 changed all that. The resulting 'War on Terror' and the war in Iraq, which has been made to seem connected, have allowed Bush to fight this election by promising to keep Americans safe. That is a very powerful motivating argument and is a major reason why he came out victorious.

That's why I can't see his foreign policy changing that much. His tactics may change but the strategy remains the same and ultimately, I don't think that's good for the world.

So why didn't John Kerry win the election, then? I'm sure there are a myriad different reasons why he lost some states but I can see two reasons that probably apply everywhere. The first is his campaign focus. He always seemed to be talking about how bad Bush is for America rather than how good he would be. Negative politics like this can be effective but come with a hefty risk - people may not think that you are a good enough alternative and go down the 'better the devil you know' route. That may be what has happened with some of the new and swing voters that plumped for Bush over Kerry.

The second, more fundamental reason is that Kerry isn't a charismatic enough man. He doesn't naturally inspire other people to trust him. I don't think anyone would disagree that if the democrats had put forward a candidate more like Clinton than Kerry then the result of the election could have been very different indeed.

But it didn't happen like that and we will just have to see what happens next. There was one good thing about Bush getting re-elected, at least from a blogger's point of view - four more years for him in the White House mean four more years of easy material for us. We'd better start writing.

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