The Bush realignment
The last presidential race was not between the candidates or their affiliated parties, it was a clash of conflicting moral values. President George W. Bush won the election by more than 3 million votes. To some the victory margin may seem trivial, but to others it was a statement. However insignificant the difference in votes, it displayed the importance of moral values.
The victory on Nov. 2 entailed much more than the hyped presidential election. It significantly reworked the Senate, mostly through the defeat of Sen. Tom Daschle. He was the Senate minority leader and undoubtedly the greatest opponent to the Bush administration; Senate liberals everywhere are in distress. Therefore, it is obvious that the 3 percent win by Bush can significantly alter the course of this country.
Although the re-election of Richard Nixon in 1972 and Ronald Reagan in 1984 proved to be landslides, our most recent proves to be a superior victory for the party elect. The elections of 1972 and 1984 were big wins for the Republican Party, but they were coincided by Democratic gains in the Senate. This time around Republicans enjoyed the reelection of President Bush as well as a seat gain in the Senate. This election year could arguably be earmarked as a realignment.
So, what is a realignment? A realignment or a realigning period is a time when there is a major shift in support for one or both parties. The reason these periods are so obscure is due to the fact that they can occur either during an election or just after one; it takes time to justify one’s claim. For this reason, the Republicans have a real chance to define their party in the eyes of the nation, not only giving them a significant advantage in the Senate but also throughout the nation itself.
On Election Day, The National Election pool asked voters what was most important to them. Overwhelmingly they responded with “moral values.” Bush ousted Kerry by almost 60 percentage points. Although the war on terror is very important, people feel endangered elsewhere.
They not only feel threatened by military attacks from terrorists but also by elitist judges who have run an assault on peoples’ ability to guard their moral values; citing gay-marriage as the perfect example.
This election was not labeled by the events of Sept.11 as many have claimed, myself included. President Bush staked his stance as a war president and a compassionate conservative. He made it clear that he won’t stop fighting terrorism until it ceases to exist and that he would uphold the Constitution in respect to the sanctity of marriage. It was clear the day after the election what people valued; they trusted the President over Sen. John Kerry.
Many said Kerry wasn’t even a factor in this election; you were either voting for Bush or against him. However, the two candidates and party platforms offered different directions for our country. With a majority, the people of this country voted in favor of conservative values. Furthermore, Kerry failed to define himself. People did not recognize his moral values; he seemed too much like an “old-time politician” whom people stereotyped as cold and calculated. Not to say that Kerry is any of these things, but President Bush merely defined his views better and left less room for speculation. Hence, he gained a majority of the popular vote as well as the electoral vote.
Realignments happen every 30 years or so dating back to 1800 when the Jeffersonian Republicans defeated the Federalists. This is the 36th year since the New Deal Realignment of 1968, and President Bush is first in line to father another. The 49-state landslide victories achieved by both Richard Nixon in 1972 and Ronald Reagan in 1984 are dwarfed by the prospective importance of the Bush reelection. 2004 gave the presidency to a conservative, handed the Senate to the Republicans and dignified the sanctity of marriage.
Eric Raymond is a sophomore majoring in political science.