The Presidential Election of 2004 Essay

The Presidential Election of 2004 Essay

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Analyze the Presidential election of 2004. What happened and why?
Analyze the changing nature of the media and how that is affecting politics.

The two questions identified above cannot be adequately answered alone without one influencing the other because a campaign that influences the election of the most powerful position in the world is a public event. However, after months of predictions of a too-close-to-call contest, Bush won nationwide balloting making him the 15th president elected to a second term and the first to win both a majority of the popular vote and the Electoral College since his father in 1988. The GOP also extended its majorities in the House and Senate.

The Presidential election followed a political campaign in which the weapons of choice were partisan criticism and attack ads rather than details that illuminate the character of the candidates. What troubled me about these partisan attacks is that reporters and columnists are governed by the tides of events tending to be too laudatory about candidates on the way up and too critical of politicians on the way down. For example; the coverage of Howard Dean's presidential race.

In an ideal world, the 2004 campaign should have been conducted without the vicious Swift Boat Vets ads tarring John Kerry and the exaggerated furor over Bush's National Guard service instead of demanding the candidates convey their platform and debate real issues.

Although Bush took office in 2001 after a disputed election, he benefited from the traditional presidential honeymoon to win passage of his sweeping tax cuts. Sept. 11 then produced an understandable increase of presidential patriotism. That same public mood helps to influence the failure of the press to apply sufficient skepticism to the president's rationale for the invasion of Iraq, the conflict that will define his presidency. Nevertheless, the results of the 2004 election give Bush the public mandate and congressional support he needs to sustain his policies in Iraq and the war on terror. His re-election, also gives him a stronger base to pursue a conservative domestic agenda. Bush strengthened his showing from the 2000 election, in which he lost the popular vote to Vice President Al Gore but won the electoral count a month later. In 2004, President Bush supporters were loyal towards his leadership qualities, likeability, values, terro...

... middle of paper ...

...s are driving voters' decisions. This received serious criticism because polling errors created false impressions about who's ahead or who's behind in the campaign, and that may affect voters' thinking. It was clear that some news media were relying on the exit polls for sources of performance as early reports were conveying that Kerry was doing well.

The election showed that Democrats in 2008 are going to have to say they are religiously on the same wavelength to America and understand religious sensibilities.


1.     O’Conner Karen and Larry Sabato. American Government: Continuity and Change, alternate 2004 ed. Longman Publishing, 2004.

2.     Nichols, Bill. “President Makes Peace Offer.” USA Today 02 NOV 2004.

3.     The Associated Press. “Voters Relieved.” USA Today 08 NOV 2004.

4.     The Associated Press. “Election Reinforces USA’s Religious Schism.” The Washington Post 08 NOV 2004.

5.     The Associated Press. “Breaking Down The National Vote.” Time Magazine 03 NOV 2004.

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