29 reasons why W is certain to serve a second term.

In no particular order.
(Originally posted October 2003)

How'd i do? Self graded Nov 8 2004, points out of 10.
This is not just an exercise in doomsaying, rather, it is intended to shed light on the issues that honest Americans MUST confront if we want to defeat Bush.

1 Republican EC Advantage Despite the what the stupid TV networks constantly imply (in order to improve their ratings and profits), the US President is NOT elected by a popular vote of the 300,000,000 American people, but is rather, chosen by the 50 U.S. States. The Electoral College was designed to assure that even small states retained some power in electing the single all powerful leader for the entire nation.

It worked perfectly in 2000, balancing the extremely strong preference for Gore in the highly populated urban areas with the strong preference for Bush in the lightly populated rural areas. (see 2000votes for details.) There is even some strange right-wing propaganda on the net suggesting that the problem was that the populated regions almost stole the election from the "rest" of the country!!

This party split was not an anomaly, but rather a trend at least 50 years old. Due to the design and current layout of the Electoral College the Democrats start each election with an solid urban base of about 60 electors, (22% of what is needed for victory) while the Republicans start with a solid base of about 160 rural electors (60%). 14 states have not voted Democrat in the last NINE elections. The Republicans have a 30% head start before any other issues are added in the mix, and it is impossible for Republicans to get blown out, like Democrats have several times. This is a fundamental flaw in archaic "winner-take-all" election systems and is not the fault of the Electoral College, which is, in fact, a meager attempt at proportional representation.

9 Well this was very big. Bush counted on the south just like Roosevelt did. That core is the key to victory.
2 Sound Bites Sound Bites play a huge role in most American Elections. In fact, in almost all elections, sound bites play the decisive role. This is one of the main reasons money is so important -- because you can buy and create sound bites. Sound Bites are frequently vapid or downright false, but nevertheless they work. The Republicans in general and the Bush Junta in particular excel at producing powerful memes that work in their favor. The Democrats, through a certain morality, poverty, or perhaps just stupidity, virtually never produce vital, powerful, sound bites.

10 Bush (and Rove) were good enough at this to ALWAYS define the debate (when you define the debate, the details don't matter, you have won!).
3 Head of State The American Presidency, taking a page from autocracy, officially combines two different important jobs in one person. The President is the Head of State AND the Head of Government, the equivalent of Britain's Queen Elizabeth AND Tony Blair. (The third job, Leader of the Free World is unofficial.) Almost all Democracies have determined that this is a very bad idea.

I would suggest that while the Head of Government is, by far, the more important job, the American voters are ONLY concerned with the Head of State job and have clearly been so for 25 years and with only minor exceptions, since at least 1940. Many people are quite open about this, and much of our political dialogue is, in an around about way, really about which of these two jobs is the important one.

Like it or not, Bush has done an exceptionally good job as Head of State -- near perfect, in fact. He is rich, powerful, happy, confident and in control. Perhaps more importantly he seems friendly and comfortable ... possibly a created image, but a successful one. The purpose of a Head of State is as a receptacle for the focus of the citizenry's patriotism; Bush has this down! He makes people feel good about the country. This is often overlooked, especially by people who don't like the job he is doing as Head of Government, but it is very important.

10 We do not vote out a Head of State in wartime. Even if he made the war up for his own use. Even if most people don't like him as Head of Government.
4 Most People Don't Care The simple reality is that most Americans don't vote. Even in 2000, a campaign which was publicized as extremely close and desperately important, and which was credited with a "good" turnout, as many people did not vote (just over 100 million) as did (105 million)! (see 2000votes)

Why is this? People don't care? People feel powerless? People don't like the options? People feel like voting doesn't matter? People don't know that they can vote? Who knows!!?! But what we do know is that the people who do vote are, by a large measure, richer, whiter, older, more powerful & more Republican than the people who don't. Who does this favor? Again, the winner-take-all election system comes tilts the balance.

10 100,900,000 didn't vote according to the counts. Half a million MORE stayed home than last time. This was very key. Talk all you like about how divided we are -- in fact we are really divided into two halves: half who think voting matters and half who don't.
5 Charisma Bush has undeniable Charisma (as did Clinton Reagan & Kennedy); and he has handlers and press people who are excellent at emphasizing it.

6 He is starting to wear thin.
6 Incumbency Incumbency offers a plethora of perceived advantages. By virtue of occupying the job, one gives the impression of leadership; and clearly the incumbent will seem qualified and "presidential". Since the incumbent is the sitting Head of State there is a certain patriotic inertia behind supporting them.

There are very concrete advantages as well: the Incumbent has a HUGE advantage in the all important fundraising battle, gets enormous (free) media attention and an incumbent has a great deal of control of events!

8 Boy they played this for all it was worth! And our tax dollars paid for him to fly around the country begging for votes.
7 Everyone Votes With Their Feet The truth is, tens of millions of Americans continue to vote for Bush every day -- including many liberals. Every time someone buys an SUV or puts gas in any car -- they are voting for Bush in the only way that really matters. If more people were willing to withhold this vote, Bush would lose immediately; but as long as the vast majority of Americans vote for Bush every day -- he is not going to lose.

5 The price of gas is going up, and we are still driving MORE.
8 It was a Tie We operate our elections for the Presidency with a deeply unfair "winner-take-all" system of determining our political representation. This Kindergarten based system is guaranteed to leave, at BEST, almost half of the actual voters un-represented. Every time we talk about "the will of the voters" we are ignoring the fact that essentially half of the people who actually bothered to vote, disagreed with this WILL. Who ever you think may have really won in 2000, however either candidate has acted since, and however poor the turnout -- the true message of November 2000 was that the election was, even more than usual, a TIE!

10 Again. It was a tie. I think Bush lost, but i still think those people who voted for him should be represented!
9 Patriotism Bush has gone to war and has attempted to portray the USA at war at home. Regardless of the validity of these situations, it places him, not coincidentally, as Head of State of a country "at war" and a great many people find voting against a president in this situation to be at conflict with their own patriotism. Sanctified presidents such as Lincoln and Roosevelt campaigned with the "Don't Change Horses mid-Stream" line. It is a very hard line to defeat.

10 big time.
10 Mississippi & Kentucky Last week's (November 2003) gubernatorial elections in two southern swing states were both openly called referendums on the Bush administration by BOTH sides. Both were "blow outs" (as far as winner-take-all voting goes) for the Republicans. Many thoughtful, angry, centrists and leftists may suggest that Joe American is sick of Bush, and they might be right! But the actual election results show that Bush can win and win big despite that. And again, the failures of "winner-take-all" come into play.

10 If the results we have been shown are really true, this predicted it shockingly well.
11 California & Texas A new, ardently pro-Bush Governor in the largest state (a "Democratic Stronghold") is a very, very bad sign for Democratic prospects in California in 2004. You hear people say that, due to the reality of the Electoral College, only about 3 to 6 states actually matter (swing states: Ohio, Michigan, Louisiana, Florida, Arkansas, Missouri, Pennsylvania...), however if the Republicans win California, NO other states matter - NONE! Game over.

Meanwhile in the third largest state an appalling re-districting plan just passed which was specifically designed, not only to water down any dissent (as districts are always intended to do) but was actually openly touted as preventing any Democratic gains for the next 10 to 20 years.

2 Schwartzenegger didn't have much effect -- but a big turnout in Texas pumped up the popular vote total.
12 $Money$ Whether we like it or not (and most Americans seem to take the ostrich approach to this issue) in all American political campaigns, campaign money is directly proportional to victories. There is no other single, or group of, indicators which more strongly determines victory at the polls. None. This is because having money allows one to power a strong "message" to the electorate and because having money directly relates to having, or building, ties to corporate power. Currently (Nov 2003) Bush has raised a completely unprecedented sum, upwards of $200 million (and growing all the time) and the LEADING Democrat, Dean has $40 million (and a Primary fight to spend it on!)-- it's not even close.

NOTE: (June 2004) Kerry is still far, far behind Bush in fundraising (over $100 million!) and Kerry stops getting federal matching funds six weeks earlier than Bush does. Talk about David and Goliath!

8 Did money matter? Bush NEVER fell behind in fundraising.
13 Good Looking Bush is a good looking guy by mainstream standards, and it has long been proven that most people vote for good looking people. In fact, except 1972 (now know to have been fixed), the better looking man has won every presidential election for the last 60 years.

6 There was certainly a lot of talk about how Kerry looked. Bush played it well. Did it matter? I think it played a part.
14 Convention schedule With no one paying attention to them, the Republicans scheduled the latest nominating convention in U.S. history. This is an ENORMOUS advantage. Much has been made about the advantage gained in getting six weeks more in federal matching funds than Kerry, but Bush also has six weeks more to strategize and get ready.

NOTE: (Sep 12, 2004) Clearly a deeply embattled Bush parlayed this sneaky advantage into a big, big, big bounce. Kerry will recover, but this turned out huge.

8 Kerry never recovered.
15 Democratic Primaries Sadly, the only (legal) party other than the one in power has apparently decided that Bush is not a great threat, that there is no particular priority in defeating him or even in showing the least bit of unity. So now (Oct 2003) and for the next 10 months, while Bush continues to exercise so much of the power that gives him his growing advantage, the Democrats are wandering around somewhat aimlessly, arguing amongst themselves and heading for a contentious primary season which can only serve to give them bad press rather than presenting themselves as a reasonable opposition party. After that they MIGHT be able to collect themselves within 2 months to at least show a united front, although certainly not a plausible potential Head of State.

NOTE: (Jan 22, 2004) This looks like just what Bush wanted: 'The topsy-turvy results [in the Iowa caucuses] produced smiles at the [Bush] White House, where advisers hoped for a long, nasty race that would produce a damaged nominee and divided Democratic Party. "They have 17 contests over the next five weeks," White House communications director Dan Bartlett said without a hint of regret. "So it looks like the roller coaster is just beginning.'" -BBC

NOTE: (Mar 22, 2004) OK, it turned out much better than i feared, the best candidate was chosen quickly and there has been something close to a closing of the ranks behind him: "Republicans didn't expect a Democratic candidate this early, didn't expect it to be Kerry, didn't expect it to be done with minimal Democratic bloodshed and weren't expecting an increasingly restless Republican base." -Reuters

0 Thankfully i was wrong on this one.
16 Clinton/Gore There are two candidates who have a great deal of power and influence who are sitting out the early stages (all of 2003 for instance!) of the long, long, long, long, long, leadership battle in the Democratic Party, but who will almost surely rejoin the race -- probably at a terribly inopportune moment very late in the game. So after the campaigning has been going on for about 23 months, Hillary Clinton and Al Gore are likely to further damage the weakened party by declaring themselves candidates. This will all be complicated by the likelihood that the former's husband will be the next Secretary General of the UN.

NOTE: (Jun 22, 2004) Here's another where my worst fears may not come true thanks to Kerry's quick and decisive victory in the early primaries, however, i'm still going to hold my breath until after the Convention.

NOTE: (Oct 1, 2004) Thank Goodness they were smart enough not to!

0 Didn't happen. I hope we never hear from either of them ever again.
17 Black Box Voting Electronic/computer voting machines are rapidly replacing manual machines around the country. Many of these machines do not provide any paper trail with which to re-count or validate votes. Many have been shown to be not only easy to tamper with, but actually tampered with. We have seen, in the national and international media, proof that electronic votes were manipulated in the 2000 Presidential Election in Florida. A ridiculous rumor going around the military says that the actual final vote count for the 2004 election has already been programmed in to the voting machines. The fact that people could even be suggesting this demonstrates the level of trust that is placed in both these machines and in the current Administration. At the current rate of conversions, 50% of votes in the 2004 election may be "counted" by these easy to alter machines!

NOTE: (Oct 21, 2004) Clearly this is going to be HUGE. Most people now believe it is IMPOSSIBLE to have a fair election. sigh.

10 I get 10 points for this only because it is not possible to get more. This was clearly the deciding factor. This is number one.
18 Action vs. Proof Since at least August 9, 1974, Democrats, both the party leaders and the millions of people who look to them for leadership, have focused simply on the idea of proof. We read, write, sing and talk constantly about what is wrong with the Repugs and what should be done. BUT WE NEVER DO ANYTHING. We seem to think that through logic and facts we can convert every voter, and non-voter, in the nation to our side, one person at a time. This is a ridiculous joke. We are a joke.

Meanwhile on the right-wing they have been busy organizing and planning, founding Think Tanks, writing policy, consolidating organizations, making connections with business, writing legislation, converting masses of voters, generating widespread emotional support, creating sound bites, spreading powerful ideas, acquiring media outlets... building a movement. They don't care about proof - they are DOING things. It has worked.

NOTE: (Oct 21, 2004) The Democrats will never get out from behind this. I only hope we can find an actually left leaning party which has the spunk of the right wing nuts.

8 We still keep up with the PROOF bullshit. And on top of that, the Repugs have an IDEOLOGY. All we have is.. "well, we're a lot like them, but not quite!" We need to incite PASSION!
19 Running Mate (added July 6 2004) Kerry flopped with a disappointingly weak decision on a highly publicized early appointment of his running mate. Now Bush has almost two months to watch the polls, watch the Democrats and decide who to choose to replace Cheney, which he surely will do. Choosing Giuliani, McCain or especially Powell could be devastating for a Kerry-Edwards ticket which is pulling it's punches.

NOTE: (Oct 15, 2004) Well, split decision on this one. I was wrong about Cheeny. I'm still shocked about that, but it didn't work out that way. But Edwards has been even worse than first expected, and the only place he was really EXPECTED to shine, he dropped the ball (the debate). Clearly this was a mistake.

6 6 points to be fair because i was wrong on Cheeny, but Edwards was a fucking joke. He got a big zero -- he brought NOTHING to the campaign and may have hurt it a little bit (the trial laywer thing). He didn't help turn out, he blew the debate and he didn't deliver a SINGLE STATE. Gebhardt would've delivered Missouri (enough to win) and possibly Ohio too. Stupid choice! Richardson would've delivered SEVERAL western states, maybe four.
20 Media Control Bush has exercised an amazing amount of control over the US Media, even exceeding the level of direct control his father had. The recent example of forbidding US TV Networks to ever show U.S. body bags or coffins is but one small example. When you control the content of the news, it is awfully hard to lose an election.

NOTE: (Oct 28, 2004) They are DESPERATELY trying to protect Bush, but it's getting harder and harder!

10 They pounded Kerry and didn't start to pick on Bush AT ALL until the last two weeks when it was unavoidable so many lies and mistakes were piling up, and then Karl Rove erased all of that with the Bin Laden video. Media chose the president. And of course they 'called' the 'race' on election night. Again. Like they promised they wouldn't. Again. Criminals.
21 Media Preference The US Media (By which i mean the 5 or 6 main TV networks, the major newspapers and newspaper chains and the handful of weekly news magazines: the corporate conglomerates; in short, 99% of the media consumed by 95% of Americans!) has an overwhelmingly extreme far right viewpoint. They have consistently shown a preference for The Right for my entire adult life. This is, perhaps, easily explained, not by some kind of woo-woo conspiracy, but rather simply by the fact that in ALL of the cases mentioned above, they are owned by people who are openly right wing, who openly support right wing candidates, policies, organizations and ideas and naturally want their businesses to do so as well.

8 See above. Hell, The stream of blatant lies coming out pound of Fox News all alone nailed this one.
22 People Hear Nothing Bad Because of the combined effects of a Media Preference and direct Media Control, questions about such things as: origins and effects of policy, corrections, flip-flops, allegations of wrongdoing, lies and even actual convictions are never heard by 90% of Americans -- including, one would assume, the 30% who choose to vote. Whether these allegations are true or not, it is clear that they are not be discussed in any mainstream media.

9 Despite a great deal of effort (M. Moore) we lost this battle. Give Karl Rove points and the media the finger for not covering Bush.
23 The Dems Expect to Lose The gaggle of Democrats currently seeking the party nomination are fighting this battle because they believe there is no chance to win against Bush in November. They don't care about they party, because losing in 2004 is a forgone conclusion in their eyes. They are all selling themselves, but don't want the nomination, they are all trying to be #2, to position themselves for a run against Hillary in 2008.

NOTE: (Jun 22, 2004) While this may not seem as important any more, it's still true of all of the candidates who didn't make it; and as much as i like Kerry, and i do, he's yet to convince me that he is really and truly serious about winning this election.

7 Kerry looked like he wanted to win, until October. And he conceded a close & questionable race so quickly that people ARE suggesting that he WANTED to lose!
24 Clinton crowd (added Jul 13, 2004) Like them or not (and i don't) the Clinton faction of the party are the only Democrats to win an election in my lifetime (Carter snuck in after Watergate and Johnson got Kennedy's sympathy vote). This faction is savvy, powerful, motivated, connected and wealthy. Kerry has gone out of his way to alienate and cut out this faction when he should be building bridges!.

4 Too little too late.
25 Florida The Bush Junta clearly engineered major election fraud in 2000, not just in one state, not just on election day and not just in the Supreme Court, but months ahead of time as well. They will most certainly do it again. Florida is certainly not the only place that this is a danger, but it is the easiest, because the snowbird Democrats very evenly balance the (winner-take-all strikes again!) southern Republicans leaving the option of a small decicisive group. The Republicans do not want blacks voting because they could throw the state to Kerry, and they do want the anti-Castro, pro-Bush ex-pat Cubans voting. Boy, it's going to be wild.

10 The only remaining question is how many states were fixed, at least two and possibly as many as 10. Bush couldn't have 'won' with out this. Either time.
26 Another War Expect to see another war. If things look bad, they will have to go the forced patriotism route. Probably we will even see Osama Bin Laden paraded out in handcuffs. There is hope in opposition circles that this might backfire, Vietnam is frequently mentioned. But if the war were in the days and weeks before the election, this wouldn't be a problem - the opposition is again is forgetting that the Republicans have repeatedly demonstrated that they learned more from previous wars' propaganda than the Democrats have!

NOTE: (Jun 22, 2004) This is looking much more likely every day. I predict October 24th.

4 I never imagined he could've acheived much of the same effect by just having the SAME WAR drag on, but he did. And pulling that Osama video out of his ass on the last weekend was very sneaky and very effective.
27 Make Shit Up As we have seen repeatedly with Republicans in the White House (and even in opposition) if they are falling behind, or if they don't like the facts, they just Make Shit Up and pretend it is true. This is a VERY hard strategy to defeat, especially if you have a moral grounding that suggests that lying is inappropriate and the ends don't justify the means. They are already doing this!

10 I believe this was the official campaign slogan.
28 Call Off The Elections There are paranoid rumors circulating on the internet that if Bush feels he cannot win, he will simply call off the elections, for "patriotic, national security reasons", of course. It is not hard to imagine this happening. His father floated a trial balloon to this effect in 1992, but wasn't brave enough.

NOTE: (Jul 13, 2004) People keep saying i'm crazy, but since December 12, 2000 this has seemed inevitable. Now it is starting to happen: BBC: White House may delay elections if attacked. Be afraid, be very Afraid.

3 It was certainly discussed. Look for it in 2008.
29 Blow Something Up If things look bad, they will likely blow up another building.

0 I'm very happy to have been wrong on this one. I was scared though! They didn't even use a red alert, but then they knew that the Diebold voting machines were on the case.
That's 211 out of 300 or over 70%. I'm proud of my accuracy, but i sure wish i had done a LOT worse!