TCS Daily

A Kerry Supporter Explains Why He's Optimistic About the Outcome

By Jon Haber - November 3, 2004 12:00 AM

As I write, the man I voted for has just conceded defeat. And yet, I can't help but feel optimistic about many elements of the outcome of November 2nd, 2004.

Although Ohio did not turn this year's vote into a Doppelganger of Florida, 2000, we Kerry voters were briefly able to fantasize about a popular vote victory coupled with an electoral-college defeat serving as sauce for both the goose and gander.

Just as importantly, if Kerry supporters think deeply and critically about the joy such an ironic outcome would have given us, it might help shatter one of the pillars of the Bush Derangement Syndrome (BDS) that has infected so much of the party, the country, and the world, the notion that the 2000 vote was "stolen from us."

Other outcomes that can help dispel the gloom (regardless of one's location on the political divide):

* Americans have learned patience in the last four years. News coverage of the election was cautions and careful, showing little of the sloppiness resulting from a fevered desire for scoops. More importantly, the American people seem to have learned that we are not entitled to a celebration beginning at 11 PM on election night, despite having been treated until 2000 to such parties (accompanied by the shadenfreude of the loser's concession speech) immediately when polls closed.

* Our patchwork of election systems, while still baffling and inefficient, seems to have survived a huge turnout without throwing the results into question. At best, the 2004 election should be viewed as a modestly successful beta test for future technologies, a reasonable outcome if you assume all problems in such a complex, heterogeneous system cannot be solved in just four years.

* While more Americans voted for George Bush than for any other president in history, more people voted for John Kerry than had voted for any other Democrat, ever. Just as importantly, the demise of Ralph Nader proves that the American people have woken up to the fact that there is a dime's worth of difference between the parties. Millions of new voters and activists can only help strengthen competitiveness of the parties in local and state races, shaking the complacency even of those ruling over one-party states.

* The significance of the Republican victory cannot be underestimated. Still, the final cliffhanger should inform even the party in charge of the White House and both branches of Congress that their right to rule is not God given (or, at least what the Lord gives he can also take away -- just ask the 1992 Democrats).

* Finally, one hopes that Bush's unambiguous victory will help cure much of the nation of the aforementioned Bush Derangement Syndrome completely. The Republicans decided they would only allow their comparable Clinton hatred to cause them one electoral defeat (in 1996). The number of Bush bashing titles showing up at Buck-a-Book over the coming months should tell us how well treatment is going.


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