Looks like Kerry will concede in an hour or so. It’s encouraging that he is not pursuing a long legal battle. I know the provisional ballots in Ohio will be counted, but there’s no real statistical chance that it will go for Kerry.
I’ve emailed some liberal friends and relatives asking their opinion of what happened. IMHO, the War on Terror does _not_ explain it. Polls showed voters pretty evenly split on whether Bush or Kerry would do a better job with Iraq or the broader War on Terror. Further, it certainly doesn’t explain the GOP pick-ups in Congress.
Michael Moore approvingly wrote the other day that the Democrats had abandoned the conservatives within the party. I agree with him. I believe this is what went wrong (from a Dem POV). People have to choose between morals and money, and they chose morals. This is supported by the large number of state constitutions that were amended last night to protect the traditional definition of marriage. I think the Democrats are too beholden to shrill leftists when it comes to certain issues.
I believe the Democrats can, and must, go more populist. And that means socially conservative and economically moderate. Here’s a winning (not
necessarily moral or correct!) platform:
* Allow *states* to restrict, but not completely forbid, abortion. Maybe 1st trimester + health of the mother. Nobody likes abortion. Many are not as extremely pro-life as I am, and I think this would satisfy them. Pro-lifers would be happy with this huge step, and would calm way down. A 1st trimester abortion is not as politically and emotionally charged as partial-birth abortion.
* Oppose all homosexual marriage or civil unions. We all think gays are icky. Or perhaps take a strong position that no state is compelled to accept another state’s definition of marriage or “civil unions,” because that’s everyone’s fear.
* Aggressively pursue the War on Terror, but cut back on this nation building, democracy spreading stuff. Many Americans, I think, have a strong isolationist bent, and would prefer to just stay out of everything we can.
* Skepticism and contempt for the UN, but a commitment to work with it as much as possible. We conservatives despise the UN, and I think even moderates and many liberals don’t particularly like it. But nobody can argue with a commitment to give it a good faith effort.
* Maintain a strong military. It would be tough to win on a platform that wanted to “weaken” our national defense.
* Raise taxes a fair amount on the rich, and maybe just a little bit on the poor. You can feed off the class warfare and the perception that the poor are getting a free ride. I think there’s a lot of resentment among conservatives about the “welfare state”.
* Economic protectionism. It may make sense in an invisible hand sort of way, but free trade and outsourcing are scary.
* A few more socialistic style programs, particularly when it comes to the elderly, and health coverage for all.
* Pro guns. There is a certain large segment of voters, including me, who would not vote for an anti-gun candidate.
* Pro school vouchers. This is such an easy one. And it’s easy to defeat the “you are robbing money from public schools!” argument. Make the vouchers only 80% of the actual money spent on the student. Then each student that leaves public school is actually a financial boost for the public school system, because they get 20% of the money, and don’t have to attempt to educate that student.
* Reform public schools, plus give them lots of money. “Reform” is a fairly meaningless platitude, and the attempt will fail miserably, but it’s popular and feels good to say.
* Environmental protection. Not to the “internal combustion engines will kill us all” Al-Gore extreme, but still, pretty strong.
* You’d need a fairly religious Christian candidate, too. Or at least one that would resist any attempt to get rid of “under God” or “In God We Trust”. It would help if he was pro 10 Commandment displays, too. If he was in favor of school vouchers, it would totally defuse the prayer in school thing too.
Nobody could stop that candidate. He would effectively isolate and marginalize the real social leftists, appease the moderate socialists, villify the economic conservatives, and isolate the hawkish neocons. I believe the Democrats could more easily adopt this platform than the Republicans could, and I also believe the Democrats must reform in this manner, and very quickly, or they will not survive as a viable national party.