National Nightmare Continues
Okay, the national news is bad. However, the situation in Texas is less grim, and we pushed the Repubs back in Travis County. So, keep hope alive.
Travis County was one of 18 counties to go with Kerry, but it was the only Kerry county north of I-10. All four of the major metro counties went with Bush. Bush also managed to increase his winning percentage from 59 to 61 percent. So, we clearly have lots of work still to do in this state.
The Repubs did an amazing job turning out their base. The challenge now is that Bush is already taking this narrow victory as a sweeping mandate. Andrew Sullivan
has noted that Bush won not by appealing to mainstream voters but by turning out conservative voters. Kerry’s winning margins among liberals (86:13) and moderates (55:45) was overwhelmed by Bush’s conservative supporters (84:15), with conservatives making up 34 percent of voters as compared to 29 percent in 2000.
This was Karl Rove’s strategy. After the 2000 election, Rove saw that conservatives, particularly the evangelicals, who had stayed home had made that election too close to call. He has spent the last four years working the conservative base to ensure that they turned out. The worst of his efforts were the 11 anti-gay marriage ballot measures. These ballot measures were specifically designed to encourage conservative voter turn out. The strategy worked. Bush carried at least nine of the states where these measures were on the ballot. In Ohio, where one of these measures was on the ballot, conservative voters in rural counties helped put Bush over the top.
In exit polls, voters said that “moral values” was their top concern in this election. Apparently, those values include denying other people the rights, privileges, and domestic tranquility of marriage.