Well, it was a good run
Kerry’s going to lose. It’s hard to question that now; Ohio* is simply not trending towards Kerry. Without Ohio, Kerry can at best tie, which is a loss. It looks like we did poor in the Senate too; Daschle looks to be on the losing side.
Montana looks to be not so bad, though. We knew CI-96 was going to pass, so no surprise. The medical marijuana and tobacco initiatives both passed, which is good. I-147 failed, which is good. Schweitzer looks to be Montana’s first Democratic governor in a decade.
So, why? What happened? I’m inclined to believe that the economy was a wash. Kerry and Bush could both have won with it. Iraq and terrorism probably made the biggest difference. Kerry’s position on Iraq, while mostly consistent, was hard to lay out. He simply didn’t have a position that clearly showed a difference. I think a strong Iraq position could have pulled people that way, even if they were less sure. Kerry had nothing to pull people with. Next we have social issues, which probably gave Bush his apparent boost from turnout. Gay marriage was overwhelmingly opposed. Kerry didn’t support it, but you can definitely put that position on the Democrats and “smear” Kerry by association. That’s my explanation. I put the onus on our candidate and current social issues, which is a brighter outlook for the Democrats than other people may think. Social issues trend liberal, there’s really no stopping that. The problems with Kerry himself are not problems that apply to the Democratic party as a whole. We find better candidates (easier said than done, I suppose) and we eliminate things like Kerry’s very narrow position on Iraq.
The Senate is different. I don’t know enough to really say why that happened.
*Provisional ballots could make a difference. However, I really doubt it.