What Do You Do All Day? (or "Stop Me Before I Volunteer Again")
Thursday, November 04, 2004
Some Thoughts on the Morning After the Election...and a Prediction
I saw an intriguing post this morning on a discussion list I subscribe to. The person said that getting the anti-gay-marriage issue on the ballot in 11 states may have been the smartest thing the Bush folks did...because it brought out masses of people to vote for it, and all of those folks also went for Bush. (This may be the first time in history that a huge voter turnout proved to be a boost for the Republicans instead of the Democrats.)
I also saw a poll on CNN this morning that said the deciding factor in most voters' choice for president was "moral issues" (not terrorism, the economy or Iraq, which were all mentioned, but which all ranked much lower). And that 90% of those who said "moral issues" were their deciding factor voted for Bush.
I'm old enough to remember when our "moral" and "spiritual" leaders were most prominently on the side of the liberals...fighting for things like integration, equal rights, voting rights, head start programs and funding for urban schools. But in the past 25 years, the right has wrested control of the terms "morality" and "values"...and I'm predicting right now that unless and until the left can convincingly re-stake claim to those things, they will not be able to recapture the electorate. (And yes, I do think the Democrats have paid lip service to this, particularly at the Democratic convention this year...but I don't think they've made a real effort at it, or even recognized how truly important a point it is.)
In fact, I'd go so far to say that reclaiming the "moral" ground needs to be the single most important goal for the left in the next four years. Of course this will be hard to do when we're dealing with distractions such as an administration that believes in preventive war, actively works to curtail civil rights at every opportunity...and which now believes it has a huge mandate for both those things. But if the left fails to recapture "morality," the conservative juggernaut will continue to roll.