Opinion: Times are changing



By Elie Dvorin

The people have spoken, and they’ve told Sen. John Kerry to go home. In an overwhelming popular and electoral victory, President Bush has been called on to lead the nation for four more years. President Bush did something that even former President Clinton never could – he gained a majority of the votes cast as opposed to just a plurality. In doing so, he garnered more votes than any presidential candidate in history.

In winning this election, Bush not only defeated his opponent but also defeated conventional wisdom, the media, Hollywood, the international community, MoveOn.org and all the other groups that would have loved nothing more than to see him back in Crawford, Texas. Even after the Bush victory, the media won’t report what U.S. citizens are beginning to understand: The conservatism advanced by former President Reagan is alive and well, and although liberalism is not dead, it will be if the Democrats do not retool their message and start appealing to moderate voters.

A CNN exit poll showed the central reason for the Republican victory. The top-two issues on which voters based their decision were “moral issues” and terrorism, while Iraq and the economy came in third and fourth. The Republican Party was able to mobilize its base and appeal to Democrats who differed from Kerry’s ultra-liberal politics. More than 80 percent of voters who viewed terrorism and “moral issues” as priorities (such as stem-cell research, same-sex marriage and abortion) supported Bush.

Voters proved their support for Bush’s social agenda by overwhelmingly voting against same-sex marriage. All 11 state ballots asking to define marriage as “one man and one woman” passed easily, including states that Kerry won, such as Michigan and Oregon. In Florida, the people struck a blow to the abortion-on-demand politics of the left by voting to require parental consent before minors have abortions. Kerry’s support of abortion and partial-birth abortion, and his disagreement with parental notification laws cost him some important votes.

U.S. citizens also turned away Kerry’s internationalist-based foreign policy. They understood the horrific implications of his “global test” and blind support of the corrupt United Nations and wanted to ensure that their security remained in the hands of the United States. Voters recognized the peculiarity of the fact that the majority of our enemies in the international community were pulling for Kerry, and Osama bin Laden all but endorsed him in recent video footage.

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!

As a result of these rejected liberal views, congressional Democrats felt the brunt of the changing tide as well. The GOP added to its lead in the U.S. House of Representatives and picked up four additional seats in the U.S. Senate, giving the president a legislature he can work with to further advance the Republican agenda. The chief obstructionist to Bush’s legislation and judicial nominees in the Senate, Minority Leader Tom Daschle, was the first Senate leader in recent history to be defeated in a bid for re-election.

Nov. 2 proved to be a decisive day for the path our country is going to take for years to come. The electorate, as well as the politicians in this country, learned a great deal about the resolve of the American people. They stood up for the traditional values that make this a great nation. They understood that Reagan’s mantra of “peace through strength” was more than just a catchy sound bite. They recognized that the world is changing and that we need leaders who understand that.

The Democrats have come to a fork in the road. They can continue to push the agenda of the liberal wing of their party and attempt to mobilize their base, or they can look at the red map with blue trim and start to tailor their party to the moderate majority. Times have changed. Will the Democratic Party?

Elie Dvorin is a junior in LAS. His column will run on alternate Mondays. He can be reached at [email protected].