Why George Bush Won

Dayton City Paper | November 12, 2004
Last Tuesday, Americans went to the polls in record numbers and, when the smoke from the exit polls cleared, John Kerry, the Democratic Party, the media and most of the world were shocked to learn that George W. Bush had convincingly won re-election. On Wednesday afternoon, after a long night of crunching numbers from the Ohio returns, John Kerry graciously conceded the election.

The supporters of John Kerry and the media elite are now asking themselves in bewilderment and disbelief, “How did this happen?” It looked like all of the stars were aligned for a Kerry victory. How could they lose when all of the following was working for them?

Their voters were motivated by a simmering hatred of Bush, left over from 2000 from the factually incorrect belief that he had stolen the election. There was an uneven recovery of an economy that had lost a million jobs by Election Day. Our military was engaged in a war systematically reported by the media as a quagmire, where we had lost over 1,000 of our service men and women. The media continuously bombarded us with negative stories about the president. When compared to stories critical of Kerry, these stories ran at a ratio of nearly four to one against the President.

CBS, through Dan Rather and “60 Minutes II,” opened up a new front against the president, an unprecedented act by a legitimate news organization. Weekly body slams on “60 Minutes” barely disguised as news stories came from Richard Clarke, Joseph Wilson, Michael Moore, and Bill Burkett of Rathergate fame, the Abu Ghraib prison, and the Al Qaqaa weapons depot. Embraced by Kerry, all of Hollywood was against the president and they were vocal, spouting colorful pejoratives, and helping to raise millions of dollars for the cause. Al Franken railed about it and the “Boss” sang about it.

The Kerryites had their own “Daddy Warbucks” in the person of George Soros. He donated in the range of $25 million. In fact, Kerry himself proved to be a skilled fundraiser and his campaign was better funded than any campaign in Democratic Party history. “527” organizations poured millions of dollars into paid media bearing little semblance to the truth and attacking the president’s humanity.

They expected an engaged radical youth vote to turn out in increased numbers. P-Diddy declared that the youth should “Vote or Die.” A large part of that expected tidal wave of young voters came from the Democratic Party registering more new voters than ever in their history. Kerry won all the polls taken in other countries. Kerry was a skilled debater and stylistically won all three debates with the president. Finally, the Washington Redskins lost their last home game before the election, which previously had always been an indicator that the party in power would take a tumble.

So, how did Bush win this election, with so many factors working against him? While a breakdown of who voted for Bush shows some promising trends for Republicans, answering the “Who voted?” question does not answer “Why they voted.” Bush increased his percentages from his 2000 results among the following groups: women from 43 percent to 48 percent; African-Americans from 8 percent to 11 percent; Hispanics from 31 percent to 43 percent; Catholics from 47 percent to 52 percent; Jews from 19 percent to 25 percent; the married from 53 percent to 57 percent; and 60 or older from 47 percent to 53 percent. Of those who considered “moral issues” as the number one problem facing America, about 20 percent of the electorate, Bush received nearly 85 percent of the vote.

An examination of the election data indeed shows that the primary reason red states voted for the president was simply this — of the two candidates, they felt that Bush could be counted on to protect them. They were concerned about an assault from both al Qaeda and over-reaching courts on their moral institutions.

In poll after poll, Bush was recognized by a majority of voters as the candidate who could best protect them from attacks from Osama bin Laden. Despite concerns about the war in Iraq, more Americans viewed Bush as the commander-in-chief who would protect their family. Like the young girl from Lebanon, Ohio, who lost her mother on 9/11, President Bush’s steely determination on this issue made a majority of Americans feel safer. When he wrapped his arms around young Ashley Faulkner of Lebanon, Ohio, he symbolically wrapped his arms around all of us.

On 11 state ballots, including most battleground states, issues concerning restrictions on gay marriage were on the ballot. All of those ballot measures passed, with the closest margin being in Oregon where the measure passed 58 percent to 42 percent. While President Bush clearly stated his opposition to gay marriages, Kerry was, characteristically, on all sides of the issue.

Last year, there were several events across the country that should have been a foreshadowing of the issue that would play a prominent role in this year’s election. In San Francisco and other communities across the country, gay marriage ceremonies were performed under the color of municipal law and in violation of state law. Quite simply, the voters, who carried the red states for Bush, didn’t want the courts of Massachusetts or anywhere else dictating to them what constituted marriage.

Americans in the “red” states are not religious nuts, nor are they an American version of the Taliban, as has been implied by the left. They are voters who believe that a president’s first job is to protect and stand up for them and their values. Whatever other plans John Kerry promised to have, the voters doubted that he really had a plan for that.

David H. Landon is a Dayton attorney and former Chairman of the Montgomery County Republican Party Central Committee. He has been involved in over 40 local campaigns, in addition to serving as county campaign manager on several statewide and one congressional campaign. In 2000, he was co-chairman of the Montgomery County Bush campaign.

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