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04 Election

Essay by review  •  December 5, 2010  •  Term Paper  •  945 Words (4 Pages)  •  2,069 Views

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1. Analyze the Presidential election of 2004. What happened and why?

2. Analyze the changing nature of the media and how that is affecting politics.

The two questions identified above cannot be adequately answered alone without one influencing the other because a campaign that influences the election of the most powerful position in the world is a public event. However, after months of predictions of a too-close-to-call contest, Bush won nationwide balloting making him the 15th president elected to a second term and the first to win both a majority of the popular vote and the Electoral College since his father in 1988. The GOP also extended its majorities in the House and Senate.

The Presidential election followed a political campaign in which the weapons of choice were partisan criticism and attack ads rather than details that illuminate the character of the candidates. What troubled me about these partisan attacks is that reporters and columnists are governed by the tides of events tending to be too laudatory about candidates on the way up and too critical of politicians on the way down. For example; the coverage of Howard Dean's presidential race.

In an ideal world, the 2004 campaign should have been conducted without the vicious Swift Boat Vets ads tarring John Kerry and the exaggerated furor over Bush's National Guard service instead of demanding the candidates convey their platform and debate real issues.

Although Bush took office in 2001 after a disputed election, he benefited from the traditional presidential honeymoon to win passage of his sweeping tax cuts. Sept. 11 then produced an understandable increase of presidential patriotism. That same public mood helps to influence the failure of the press to apply sufficient skepticism to the president's rationale for the invasion of Iraq, the conflict that will define his presidency. Nevertheless, the results of the 2004 election give Bush the public mandate and congressional support he needs to sustain his policies in Iraq and the war on terror. His re-election, also gives him a stronger base to pursue a conservative domestic agenda. Bush strengthened his showing from the 2000 election, in which he lost the popular vote to Vice President Al Gore but won the electoral count a month later. In 2004, President Bush supporters were loyal towards his leadership qualities, likeability, values, terrorism and his ability to paint Kerry as a weak leader. It took Kerry until election time to convey a clear platform and his position on Iraq. Those who opposed the president did so because of his decision to go to war in Iraq and how it was carried out and their nervousness about the economy. As it turned out Kerry's vote was anti-Bush, it wasn't pro-Kerry.

Voter turnout hit record highs nationally, and the total for Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney was higher than any previous presidential ticket. Some of the greatest percentage gains over 2000 came in 13 states that were the battleground in the presidential election. Millions of dollars were spent on TV ads and voter mobilization. Interestingly, Democratic strategists had predicted that turnout at those levels would assure victory. But Democratic voter drives were matched in large part by Republicans, particularly religious conservatives.

Voters conveyed a sense of urgency about Iraq, and their top priority for President Bush to tackle after his re-election. Iraq was followed by terrorism among voters' leading concerns. Voters also conveyed they want the President to cut the deficit and balance the budget rather than reducing taxes.

After a campaign dominated by discussion of Iraq and terrorism, national security issues were at the top of voters' concerns along with the economy. Many voters indicated through their votes

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