portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article commentary united states

political theory

Why the Democrats Failed in '04

Asks questions about why the Democratic candidate for president failed in 2004.Calls for changes in the basic philosophy of the Democratic National Party. These changes are nessessary for the success of the party in 2008.
Why did the democrats fail to win the election on 2004? Was it Kerry and his supposed flip-flopping? Was it Edwards and his far left stances? Was it Bill Clinton and his domination of the National Democratic party agenda? Who knows? What we do know is that there are more Democrats in the United States than Republicans and yet Bush Jr. won. I do not think we can blame any one factor for the failure. There are clear problems with America's political parties that transcends individual failures.

I think Nader was getting at something 5 years ago. The Democratic party has become the handmaiden for the Republican party. The Democrats have lost their sense of difference with the Republicans. They live and operate within the same demographic spheres and are of the same social and economic class as their "rival" Republicans. And they continue to reap huge benefits from the Republicans being in power. The separation of the rich and poor in the United States is continuing to expand and did not halt during the Clinton years.

Kerry was beginning to get at the issues of privilege in his speeches by admitting that he directly benefited from the tax changes brought on by Bush Jr.. So what? Why does this matter? Because it is not just Kerry who has benefited but also all of the other Democrats, the majority of whom are wealthy beyond the average American's dreams. And Bush's taxes now make them wealthier than ever. Wealth changes a person's way of thinking about the world. Wealth makes people comfortable and sometimes wealth helps people forget about the community around them. It has a corrupting influence.

Defasio, here in Oregon, has chosen to give his pay raise away. I have not heard which other democrats have made similar choices, but this is a significant issue because, when our representatives actually care about the community they represent, they make sacrifices to help the community. The Republicans did not strike me as caring in the least about average American's situation, much less the poor. In thinking about the Democrats, how are they truly different? Do they challenge the Republican policies? Do they question Bush and Cheney about their wars? Do they continue to ask questions, continue to push their point, and never give up? What did we, the average Americans, see during the first Bush Jr. term? We saw silence and complicity, and a lack of activation on the part of the Democrats. We did not hear about extensive hearings, or discussions about Bush's war. We did not hear any sort of conviction on the part of most Democrats that they would not give up in their critiques of Bush's policies.

The final stone, for me, was when Kerry gave up, the day after the election. There was no conviction on his part to fight until the end. Apparently his Hero days are over. We did hear that from Edwards, but Kerry threw in the towel, way too soon.

That action, for me, was the state of the Democratic party in the United States. For that I now look elsewhere for political answers for the next election. I and many other Americans are looking around for a change in the Democrats for the next election. Where will they side, within a right-wing agenda, or will they re-discover where their strengths and roots are? That is the challenge of the Democratic leadership. I challenge you to give up your tax benefits, give up your raises, join with your community and look out for their welfare. Sacrifice a lot and you will find that the community will respond.

add a comment on this article

Why did the democrats fail to win the election on 2004? 20.Jan.2005 12:05

LaughingAtAmerica

Because the Republicans offered them more power...if they would lay down.

...and they did.

"Good dog!"

where does the 500 pound gorilla sit 21.Jan.2005 01:28

yaneverknow

"The final stone, for me, was when Kerry gave up, the day after the election. There was no conviction on his part to fight until the end."

Chimp taking heat from John in an election race is one thing. All part of the shuck and jibe, and everything he says can be explained away by Rethuglicans as just campaign propaganda. Becoming a Paul Wellstone is another thing. I didn't see Kerry "giving up" so much as getting his arse out dodge after it's no longer just all part of the game. I'm kind of glad he did.

But I'd still say the most likely reason Democrats lost is Diebold. Who's gonna double check, Cheney?