Amateur election handicapping and preventing a Bush '04 victory

jbone at jbone at
Tue Oct 28 15:03:48 PST 2003

With all due respect to Russell and Joe, here's the problem I have with 
the kind of infectious memetic FUD crud they're offering:  it makes 
*not a single lick of sense at all.*  How does it feel to be the 
unwitting dupe of Rupert Murdoch?

Let's dig in.

(1)  Bush *did not* win the popular vote last time.  Among people who 
voted for Gore last time, I have yet to have pointed out any one single 
*real person* who will vote for Bush this time around.  Furthermore, I 
know *many* folks that picked Bush as the lesser of two evils last time 
(or voted no-conf on a 3rd party) that will desperately lick the yellow 
dog this time around.  Add in the Greens, who will en masse defect to 
Bush, eliminating that spoiler.  Add in the uber-right Buchanan 
spoiler.  No way.  Now, winning the popular vote (clearly) is neither 
necessary nor sufficient --- but winning it by a large enough margin in 
a few strategic areas is sufficient.  (Also note that things aren't 
looking good for Bush in New Hampshire, and that's a bellwether.)

(2)  We've lost more than 3.5M jobs.  Layoffs continue, barely 
outmatched by new job creation.  The capital markets are still a mess, 
commerce and confidence still lags, and any recovery-in-progress is 
unlikely to support the kind of job creation needed to offset the Bush 
losses --- in the next 13 months, without some bubble-like miracle 
(which, if it's looming, I'm completely failing to see;  please point 
it out to me.)  Now job loss for an individual voter usually means a 
vote against an incumbent.  You do the math.  Then add in all the 
people that have exited the job market entirely.  Doesn't look good for 
Dubya, even skipping down the primrose path of this "recovery."

(3)  Bush continues to lose points in his base --- from evangelical 
Christians to fiscal conservatives, erosion continues apace.  The 
criticism is picking up even in uber-right AM talk radio:  from Rush 
(on the fiscal front) to Savage (on every front) Bush's support in the 
base is a lot shakier than Rupert Murdoch would have you believe.  
Couple that with the about-face he appears to be trying to execute 
-wrt- the neocons, and even there there's some criticism.  (Cf. the 
National Register lately.  Softball, but it's there.)  This is the 
problem when you try to split the difference between several extremist 
segments with divergent interests.

(4)  The apathetic masses.  Those who didn't vote in '00 and who are 
happy w/ Bush are likely to continue their apathetic ways.  Those who 
are terrified of four more years will go to the polls.  Either way, it 
doesn't cut well for Bush with those guys.

(5)  NASCAR dads.  Guess what?  There's no damn such thing.  Just like 
"soccer moms" this is a segmentation invention / figment of some pol's 
imagination.  The NASCAR Dad's Union Local #237 isn't something that 
can be called together for a rally or issue an endorsement or hold 
$1000 plate dinners.  This "category" is actually subsumed by other 
demographic slices that are much better studied and documented by 
*real* election strategists like Teixeira.  "NASCAR dads" is the hot 
meme among the Washington "champagne brunch" crowd, but has no more 
reality than a Flying Dutchman.

So there, we've addressed your (a)-(d), though not necessarily in that 

Unless you can show me some real groundswell of folks that are *really* 
saying "damn, that Dubya, he's done a lot better job than I expected.  
Wish I hadn't voted Gore last time" then I say this hand-wringing about 
the inevitability of a Bush win in '04 is about as light as a feather, 
despite specious nods to Nixon.

And back to the question at hand:  what is anybody *doing* to prevent a 
Bush win?  I'm doing several things, but I'll share at least one of 
them:  I'm pestering everybody I freakin' know to high heaven about the 
evils of Bush, Inc. in the hopes that they'll get so freakin' sick of 
hearing about it that they'll vote against him next time just to shut 
me up. ;-)


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