The final tally
InstaPundit claims that Bush finally took Iowa, which means that all fifty states are finally in the bag. So, let us do the final comparison with my electoral prediction.
Of my guesses, I got 47 states correct, and 3 states incorrect, and my popular vote prediction was right on.
The three states I got wrong? New Hampshire, Minnesota and Hawaii. I'm disappointed about NH, but if you look at my original predictions, I admitted that giving Hawaii and Minn. to Bush involved going out on a limb.
Overall, I think that's pretty good for an amature.
Friday, November 05, 2004
The final tally
And the attack begins
Well, I've been taken to task on the YDN letters page. Though I got many, many emails of congratulations from current students, alumns, professors, and administration officials, the YDN apparently only received negative responses. Jessamyn Blau, who writes a regular column, called my comments arrogant and self-righteous in their own right, and alleged that Republicans don't understand that, as US citizens, we are also citizens of a global community. She also claims that, because we support "a president who is actually driving fellow Americans to consider the most drastic course of action -- leaving home," we are ignorant as well.
Well, Jessamyn, I'm sorry you feel that way. I truly am sorry that you feel like you have to leave this country -- but I really don't care if you do. But what you have to consider, even for just an instant, is that you might be wrong. Bear with me here, and you might learn something. Just let that thought creep into your head. Now, if you are wrong -- that is, if the international community abandoned us, and not the other way around, and if homosexual marriage really doesn't count as a civil right -- if that's the case, is it still the president's fault that you want to leave the country? No, of course not. In that case, it's your own wacky idea. Now, I'd hazard that, if the W can't be blamed in that circumstance, then even if you're right, it's not his fault that your reaction is to leave the country. Maybe, you just forgot to grow up and deal with things like an adult.
Then there's the formery YDN production editor, Zachary Corbin. He doesn't seem to understand at all, and it seems to me that my column wasn't even addressing him. He wants me to practice what I preach, and stop insulting what I do not understand. The problem is, I'm surrounded by people like you, Zachary, I couldn't possibly fail to understand liberalism even if I wanted to. And you'll notice, I didn't insult you in the column, either. So, go away and bother me no more.
(Author's note: sorry for the lack of posts today, been very busy. I'll try to get a few more up before the day is over.)
And you thought you knew America
Many people have commented on the wide swath of red that stretches across the current electoral map. Well, it's worse than you think. When you break it down by counties, even most of the blue states turn red. Take a look:
UPDATE [11/9/2004 - 18:03]: First Bulldogblue, and now DailyKos are forwarding people to this post, claiming that I said Bush should have won because red people cover more area. If you read the post above, you'll see that I never said any such thing. I just find it really interesting that almost every state is, in actuality, purple, as shown here:
So, before you go condemning what I think, stop and question whether I've actually told you what I think.
How I was right
OK, so my electoral prediction was wrong. BUT, I got several other things right:
- The popular vote was 51% to 48%.
- I've been saying for months that Karl Rove's strategy to energize the base instead of pursuing the median voter would be successful
- I said that Catholics would begin voting Republican
- I said that John Kerry's "not Bush" status would not be enough to turn out Democrats win the White House
- And, perhaps my most prophetic prediction (see: here, here and here): The blind pursuit of immediate gay marriage by the gay lobby resulted in a massive backlash which brought Bush to reelection, and probably pushed gay rights back at least another 10 years.
It seems the Democratic Party is in some deep trouble
After the 2000 election, many pundits theorized that the Democratic Party was going to either totally collapse, or something like it. The theory was, that after losing first the House, and in 2000 both the Senate and the presidency, and having no comprehension of the reasons, they would have to fight amongst themselves until a viable, new-looking party emerged. Well, they didn't do that, and they're in much deeper trouble now.
The evidence is everywhere. Keith points to it here and here, my editor told me that she received my column along with two others on the same topic, Glenn Reynolds has been mentioning it all day, and my brother mentioned today that he and Jake had a conversation on this topic last night.
The problem is, liberals do not get conservatives. As The Backseat Philosopher points out: "Many Democrats think that our patience and understanding are our weakness...Actually, no. Our error is that we Democrats are far less understanding than we think we are. Our version of understanding the other side is to look at them from a psychological point of view while being completely unwilling to take their arguments seriously. "Well, he can't help himself, he's a right-wing religious zealot, so of course he's going to think like that." "Republicans who never served in war are hypocrites to send young men to die. " "Republicans are homophobes, probably because they can't deal with their secret desires." Anything but actually listening and responding to the arguments being made."
And he's absolutely right. What other conclusion is there to make from a poster that says "F*ck Middle America," or, "I'm Ashamed to be an American," makes me sad. (And no, it doesn't make me ashamed to be an American -- nothing could ever do that.) It shows a complete lack of tolerance and understanding. These people have convinced themselves that they are compassionate, caring about those less fortunate than themselves, and that their political beliefs are therefore more valuable than anyone else's. They never consider the fact that maybe I do care about the poor, or those who are discriminated against. My opposition to federal education spending, for example, is not because I don't care about those who haven't had the benefits I have -- it's because I think education should stay entirely on the local and possibly state levels. I don't want Roe v. Wade overturned because I'm sexist and don't care about women's rights -- I want it overturned because I belief that abortion is murder, if I can't get it banned I want it decided state-by-state, and because I think Roe v. Wade is a bad decision constitutionally speaking. I don't want taxes cut because I'm selfish, or because I'm trying to grind the poor and unemployed into the dirt -- I want lower taxes because I think big government is inefficient, and leads to restraints on liberty, and because more money in the hands of individuals leads to a stronger economy and higher employment. And so on.
But if I discuss these ideas with liberals here at Yale, with a very few exceptions, I'm constantly told how awful it is of me to feel that way, how I must have been brainwashed by someone, or that I'm just hiding my real agenda with those explanations. It's amazing how often someone tells me "I don't get it. You're such a nice guy, and yet you're a Republican." At some point, this type of liberal will be forced to come to grips with the fact that a large portion of us are good people -- just as many as can be found among Democrats.
Thursday, November 04, 2004
Direct your prayers to this woman
This sucks. A lot. Not only does her husband lose a national campaign, but now CNN.com - Elizabeth Edwards diagnosed with breast cancer: "Elizabeth Edwards, wife of former Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards, was diagnosed with breast cancer the day her husband and Sen. John Kerry conceded the presidential race."
I don't like her politics, I don't like her husband, and I think she handled herself very poorly at many points during the campaign, but no one deserves this. I ask that everyone who reads this prays for a full and speedy recovery for Mrs. Edwards.
Nice work, Howard
Howard Dean offers his latest rant: "And a record number of us voted to change course -- more Americans voted against George Bush than any sitting president in history."
The only problem with this optimistic logic, Howard, is that even more people voted in favor of him. Not a good sign, no matter how you try and slice it.
A good father gets it right
Lileks: "'Who is the father of George W. Bush?' Gnat asked on the way to school today. Oh boy.
'You're not going to believe this, but his name is George Bush, too.'
'True.' Pause. Should I? Might as well. 'And he was the president once, too.'
'George Bush's daddy was president too? You're joking me. That's silly.'
And so it begins. But if all goes as it usually does, in 14 years she'll vote for someone I don't like; he'll win, and she'll and remind me: you taught me to respect the President.
If I can give her that much, I've done my job."
And that's the key. It's all a cycle, and in a few years, or a few decades, the political make-up of this country will be entirely different.
At long last?
Congratulations to President Bush. Congratulations to his supporters. Congratulations to me. We're all happy, and rightfully so.
My peers at Yale, however, are by and large very upset. I sat with 19 liberals today, during my seminar, watching the concession and victory speeches. At least one person was crying.
I'm tired, and not thinking quite straight, or I'd add more. But I have a column in tomorrow's YDN, which I will link to as soon as it's posted.
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
Last thought before I hit the hay...
Now that I've officially been awake for 24 hours, after sleeping hardly at all the night before (too much excitement over the election, I guess), I think it's time to go to bed. There will be plenty more commentary to come tomorrow, I assure you. In the meantime, sleep is necessary.
Much has been made of the ramifications on this election caused by 2000. One thing that I haven't heard discussed much is the automatic situation of hypocrisy both Democrats and Republicans find themselves trapped by. In 2000, Gore won the popular vote, and Bush won the electoral. At the time, Republicans claimed that the electoral vote was all that mattered, and the Dems said that the popular vote should have factored in as well. Now, Kerry is contesting the electoral vote (though I don't think he can possibly win it) despite his clear loss in the popular vote. Many Republicans, of course, are complaining that we won the popular vote, and so Kerry should concede (Gore's argument early on in the Florida scandal of 2000). Basically, both sides are making the same argument that the other side made 4 years ago. Way to go democracy.
The problem is, in reality, it would be a brilliant stroke for Kerry to concede based on the popular vote. While he'd lose the presidency, the Democrats' argument in 2000 would be completely salvaged. They could continue to claim that Bush took the White House in 2000 illegitimately, because he had not won the popular vote, while Kerry appears to take the high road. At the same time, it opens the door for the new Democratic strategy trick, which is eliminating the electoral college. The argument would be "the real vote is the popular vote, which is why we are conceding this race. And we maintain that this should be the standard from this day forward," effectively mandating a national debate over the EC.
And now, since I'm tired enough not to know if that made any sense whatsoever, I will crawl under my sheets. Until tomorrow, dear readers, keep the faith that Bush will emerge victorious.
Umm... Losers like me?
Instapundit.com: "I'm wondering about all this coverage -- who's still up watching it? I have to be; it's my job to watch it. But are ordinary citizens still awake right now?"
Why can't I go to bed... haven't I had enough yet?
The answer, of course, is no. All day I've been hearing people say they're just glad the election is over. I, on the other hand, don't really care. I've really enjoyed this election, and I'm looking forward to the politics that lie ahead of us. It's an interesting time to be alive; it's an interesting time to be a young conservative.
Everyone seems to be saying that the young did not turn out today. I have to say, I disagree. As I've been positing all along, I think that this nation's youth are significantly more conservative than the national media gives them credit, and that the high turnout numbers were bolstered by their votes.
I enjoy my role in that demographic, and I look forward to our increasing influence on national politics. Maybe we can force the President into cutting spending.
At the very least, I have a lot of entertainment from frustrated and depressed liberals ahead of me.
A really interesting page
The Washington Post has set up this neat site, called "The Channel Surfer," which pins down when each network called a state for either candidate. Check it out, as I think it'll be useful in the coming days, weeks, and months, as we once again analyze media coverage of elections in this country.
As it stands now
As it looks right now, I've gotten three states wrong: Minnesota, Hawaii, and probably New Hampshire. Ohio, it looks like, will break for Bush. As more results continue to come in, President Bush's lead seems likely to expand. Right now, in fact, it seems that the President is far enough ahead that even with Ohio's provisional ballots, his lead cannot be overcome.
As Tim Russert just said on NBC, even if Bush lets Ohio go to Kerry, it is very possible for the President to reach the required 270, sometime in the next hour. This would probably force the Kerry campaign to abandon any efforts to take Ohio, and in turn concede the election overall. Assuming these remain the only states that I end up guessing incorrectly, and Ohio stays with the President, the final tally will be 287 EC votes for Bush, and 247 for Kerry. This is still, by any measure, an unexpected landslide for the President. Stay tuned, and we'll see what comes of it.
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
What I want to know is for whom the votes were cast...
The Drudge Report tells us that voter fraud in attempts to steal the election has already been found. What do you want to bet these were votes for Democrats?
"Before voting even began in Philadelphia -- poll watchers found nearly 2000 votes already planted on machines scattered throughout the city.
One incident occurred at the SALVATION ARMY, 2601 N. 11th St., Philadelphia, Pa: Ward 37, division 8.
Pollwatchers uncovered 4 machines with planted votes; one with over 200 and one with nearly 500...
A second location, 1901 W. Girard Ave., Berean Institute, Philadelphia, Pa, had 300 votes already on 2 machines at start of day."
One more prediction
It occurs to me that I neglected to include with my election prediction how I thought the popular vote would fall. Well, I think Bush will get 51%, Kerry 48%, Nader and other 1%.
So, in summary, the map will be:
With a total Bush to Kerry electoral vote of 305 to 233, and a head-to-head popular vote of 51% to 48%.
Today's The Day
It's finally here: Election Day. Today is the day we find out who will lead our country through the next four years. OK, yes, I know I'm kidding myself -- we clearly won't know until at least tomorrow, possibly, as George F. Will recently posited [author's note: can't find a link to the article online at the moment, I'll do my best to get one up later in the day], not even until May. This, assumes, of course, that my prediction is off, and we don't have a landslide winner. I'll admit, my prediction probably is off, strongly in favor of Bush. If so, oh well.
Anyway, make sure you get out and vote today, especially if you're supporting W's reelection. And remember, if you have a problem at the polls, and a volunteer claims you are not registered, demand a provisional ballot -- it's your right by federal law.
And on a non-election related note
I'd like to thank all of my regular readers for making October my most successful month yet, by far. I had over 1,700 visits, and about 2,300 page views. My previous visit record was about 950, back in April and May of this year.
So, thank you, dear readers, for your continued support. Particular thanks to those of you with your own blogs who've found me worthy of a blogrolling. And, as always, if you have questions or comments, you can post them via any comment link on the site, or email me. And if you think I might like your own blog, let me know by email.
Happy Election Day! I'll be working the polls, handing out palmcards all day, so blogging will be sparse, but I'll be sure to roundup my thoughts before I hit the hay tonight.
UPDATE [11/2/2004 - 5:17]: Here is the link to the George F. Will column I promised. (Via James).
Monday, November 01, 2004
The Moment For Which You've Been Waiting
I've seen a lot of people's election predictions lay out the scenario they expect to see unfold, holding you in suspense until their conclusion to see who they think will win. I'll start right from the beginning. The next President of the United States of America will be: the incumbent President George Walker Bush.
I'll confess that, all along, I've been feeling like this election would result in a landslide for Bush. This is not the result of reasoned deliberation, but rather a gut instinct based on my impression of the state of the nation, and the progression of this campaign. As I've discussed extensively, and has been reaffirmed by my two days here in New Hampshire, I think that Republicans view Bush as the man they want to lead, while Democrats think John Kerry is the man to replace the one they don't like. In this state of affairs, I think the people of this country will choose the positively defined support over the negatively defined alternative. I've also watched the narrowing of the field, and the slow increase in the President's approval ratings, and felt that the outcome will be like that of 1980, with a sudden surge of support for the President in the weekend before the election. I must admit that I've been out of touch with polling data for the past two days, and have only been able to muster a brief scan of recent developments. Still, I think that the surge is in the direction of the Republican candidate.
So, let's get down to it: the state-by-state predictions.
First, the givens:
|State||EC Votes||State||EC Votes|
That makes 32 of 50 states (plus the District of Columbia) and 347 of 538 possible electoral votes, 270 needed to win. You'll notice that I've excluded a few that may not be considered swing states by the experts. This is because I've seen them switch around enough through the summer that I have, at one point or another, considered them in play. And then there's Maine, which, because of the unique way it apportions its electoral votes, I've decided to list separately.
Now, let's go through the remaining 18. I'll do this in alphabetical order, rather than order of importance:
Arizona: I think, though this state has been slightly in play, McCain's reelection, and the overall conservatism of the state will be enough to overpower the more Democratic Native American vote, holding victory for Bush. Prediction: Bush, 10 EC votes.
Colorado: I think Colorado will select Democrat Ken Salazar over Republican Pete Coors, but I attribute this to the relative strengths and weaknesses of the two candidates, rather than an indication of shifting voter preference. Colorado has long been a red state, and despite growing pockets of liberalism, particularly in the Denver area, I think this state remains in the President's column. Prediction: Bush, 9 EC votes.
Florida: As with four years ago, this state will come down to the wire. Overall, the Republican numbers overpower the Democrats in the state, and I think increased turnout in the northern areas, particularly among conservative Christians will carry the state. Prediction: Bush, 27 EC votes.
Hawaii: Gonna be an outlier on this one, but I think Hawaii will serve as an upset. Today's polling data seems to have Bush with a slight lead, and I read something this week about the gay marriage amendment actually winning support for Bush in that state. I think he'll take it. Prediction: Bush, 4 EC votes.
Iowa: I have no strong basis for this one, other than the fact that the way Iowa has been reversing itself in the polls, it seems likely that the President will get the right bump just in time for Election Day. Prediction: Bush, 7 EC votes.
Maine: As I mentioned above, Maine splits its electoral votes between the candidates, assuming one does not carry the entire state. I think it will split in this election, with Bush taking the 2nd Congressional District. Prediction: Bush, 1 EC vote, Kerry, 3 EC votes.
Michigan: I've been very excited the past few days, thinking I could tally Michigan in the Republican column. As I mentioned in a previous post Matthew Dowd's comments and my own observations have led me to conclude that this state is trending to the right. Unfortunately, I don't think it'll get there in time for this election. Prediction: Kerry, 17 EC votes.
Minnesota: My impression is that Minnesota is trending Republican as election day approaches, so I'm going to take a bit of risk here, and give it to Bush. Prediction: Bush, 10 EC votes.
Nevada: I'm slightly concerned about Nevada since John Kerry declared that Yucca Mountain would become the nation's nuclear waste storage site "over his dead body." I think, however, that the Nevada people will check his record on this issue, and notice that he has voted in its favor multiple times. It's an issue that usually buys Nevada voters, but I think they'll refuse to sell out in favor of the President. Prediction: Bush, 5 EC votes.
New Hampshire: Based largely on my experiences today and yesterday with both traditional Republicans and swing voters alike, I think Kerry has chased off a large portion of the New Hampshire population. His numbers tanked this week, and then came back a bit, but I think he's trending back down again. I have to say, I think we won it for Bush. Prediction: Bush, 4 EC votes.
New Jersey: As much as I would have liked to see this state swing to the President, I think our gains here over the past few weeks will serve only to cushion Bush's popular vote lead. Prediction: Kerry, 15 EC votes.
New Mexico: This state has been behind Kerry for much of the campaign, but jumped over to Bush pretty solidly over the past few weeks. While it narrowed slightly over the weekend, I think it will stay in the President's column in the end. Prediction: Bush, 5 EC votes.
Ohio: A big one, of course, that has been trending to Kerry for the past several weeks. Though I think it's job loss and struggling economy are more of a result of mismanagement and poor legislation at the state level, its people are likely to take out their frustration on the national level. At the same time, Ohioans, are conservative at the core. I think the new Bin Laden video, and overall security concerns will dominate this state, and hold it for the President, as it was three years ago. This is a bit of a risk, I know, but I'm going with it. Prediction: Bush, 20 EC votes.
Oregon: Oregon is a perpetual "possible swing state," but it never seems to break the trend and swing Republican. I think this one will continue in Kerry's column. Prediction: Kerry, 7 EC votes.
Pennsylvania: I think the Kerry campaign has spent a lot of resources and effort on Pennsylvania, and it's proximity to the Democratic stronghold of the Northeast combines with that fact to bring this pretty solidly in that direction. Prediction: Kerry, 21 EC votes.
Washington: Much like Oregon, Washington has often been classified as a swing state, but never seems to actually be one. I think this will also stay with Kerry. Prediction: Kerry, 11 EC votes.
West Virginia: For the past two weeks, West Virginia, which was already behind Bush, has been trending even further to the right. I think it will continue this trend and present a fairly strong showing for the President. Prediction: Bush, 5 EC votes.
Wisconsin: Over the past few days, Wisconsin, which had been close, seems to be making jumps in Kerry's favor. I think it will hold and he will winn it on Election Day. Prediction: Kerry, 10 EC votes.
Now, in table form:
|State||EC Votes||State||EC Votes|
So what are our totals? I have Bush winning 34 states, and one district in Maine, and Kerry winning the remaining 15 states, D.C. and 3 districts in Maine.
More importantly, however, are the EC tallies. The winner, as I said above, is President Bush. According to my prediction, he will have 305 Electoral College votes to Kerry's 233. Yes, folks, in short, I'm predicting a landslide. I've felt all along in my gut that this is the way it would come out, so it's natural that with my inherent biases, this is what I'd come down to.
I leave you with an image of my expected electoral map:
Sunday, October 31, 2004
My 2nd Day in Derry, New Hampshire
As you saw, I was able to connect briefly to the internet early this afternoon, and post some pieces that I wrote last night. I apologize for the garbled characters that were up all afternoon, but the connection at Republican Headquarters was an extremely slow wireless router, and I was unable to connect to Blogger long enough to edit them out. I have since fixed the problem.
So, today's biggest moment of excitement was meeting Rudy Guiliani -- very cool. Though I saw him a few feet away while I was at the convention, actually shaking his hand, saying hello, and having him thank me for my efforts was neat, and made it all feel rewarding. Of course, at the same time I was fighting with that slow internet connection, so I had to run back and forth from his remarks to my laptop, and I missed some of it. He did a great job of expressing the urgency of the President's reelection effort, and the importance of the work we were all doing in turning out the vote. The best line of all, of course, was in his response to someone who shouted out "Will it be you in four years, Rudy?" His words: "You want to know how the Red Sox beat the Yankees? They weren't worried about the next game, they focused on the moment. Anyone connected to this race will tell you that we cannot afford to worry about four, eight, or twelve years from now -- we need to win in the moment." Clearly scripted, but very well performed.
I spent a little less time going door-to-door today than I did yesterday, which was a shame as it was so beautiful out. In the morning we attacked a neighborhood that was slightly less sure in their support of Bush. Still, an overwhelming majority of people I spoke too said they were supporting his reelection, but there were a few more undecideds, and several who either shouted, or laughed when asked if they'd be voting for the President. It took away a little of the thunder that had been powering me yesterday, but that was temporary. When we finished the assigned neighborhood for the morning, and returned to headquarters for another list, I was sought out by the guy in charge of volunteer operations. He asked me if I was up for a new type of assignment, going beyond simply turning out the vote. His people had, it seems, compiled a list of people who had responded as undecided to either phone calls or previous visits. It was my job to approach these people, and talk issues with them, to bring them over to the President's side.
So, Lisa, the woman driving me to these houses, and I set out. And this is where the thunder returned: almost all of these people, who declared themselves undecided just yesterday, have since determined to support the President. There were one or two that needed some persuading, and one or two that had a specific question that they needed to hear answered a particular way. These, of course, were easily satisfied and gave me their commitment to vote for the President. There were also, of course, a few that had decided to support Kerry, but they were overwhelmingly outnumbered by the others. All-told, I had about 40 houses switch from undecided to Bush, and about 4 declare themselves for Kerry -- a promising statistic indeed.
Following this, we returned to headquarters for the Guiliani event, and I got my blog posts up. Then, it was time to head back out to the field. I was placed with a retired gentleman whose driving made me a bit nauseous, and three freshman from the University of New Hampshire. They were cute, but boy were they ever dumb... and annoying. One volunteered to navigate, and failed miserably at reading a map. Then she failed at reading MapQuest directions. Another was trying to spot houses that we were supposed to stop at, and skipped approximately every other because it took her so long to process the number on the page and translate it to a mailbox in the real world. Still, the driver was speedy, and competently handled the girls so they caused the smallest delay possible. We covered about 60 houses in a little over an hour, driving to each one -- a pretty good pace, based on my experience.
After returning to headquarters for the last time, we boarded the bus for the ride back to New Haven. And here I sit, desperate for my T1 internet connection so I can make my EV picks, once and for all. Expect them sometime between midnight and 1:00.
What I've learned in New Hampshire, so far
I spent many hours today, walking miles in the cold rain, ringing doorbells, and talking to the people of this fine state. There were many unique individuals who stood out:
The 84 year-old man, who announced that he had just slammed the phone down on a Kerry representative who told him, in his words, that "at your age, it's time you learned how to vote."
The equally old gentleman who came to the door announcing "We're Republicans in this house," but that in his weakened state he was unable to make it to the polls without our help.
The young military wife, whose husband is in Iraq, who told me that President Bush is the only man she trusts to bring him and his unit home safe, with the war won, and all the benefits that are springing from a free Iraq.
The fellow canvasser, frustrated by the constant negative media coverage of Iraq, coupled with their refusal to investigate Kerry's past with any sincerity.
The man, awed by the fact that the President, while walking the ropeline in Manchester on Friday, paused to shake his hand with both of his own.
The woman who, surprised that we were walking in the rain, asked where she should go to volunteer herself.
Her neighbor, who asked if she could offer a hand in shuttling those who couldn't drive themselves to and from the polls on Tuesday.
The woman whose yard was littered with destroyed Bush-Cheney signs who said to me "we put them out, they get torn down, and we put up new ones."
And many others.
I should tell you that we had a targeted list of likely Bush supporters, and our mission was not to persuade, but merely to turn-out our voters. Of course, in this list were also the handful of those who do not support the President:
The man who said no, he was not supporting the President, and quickly closed the door.
The woman, holding her angry dog who shouted "don't hand me that piece of paper, I'm not voting at all precisely because of that man."
The father, who had a Yale sticker on his car and told me his son is a Junior at Yale, who said he could not in good conscience vote for the President.
The man wearing a Star of David necklace who said the President did not have his support.
The woman who said the Kerry people have called and come to her house too many times, and convinced her through their behavior not to vote at all.
And a few others.
So, what did I see? The convictions of the everyday Republicans. It's shown me the strength of their support for a man they truly believe must be chosen to continue leading this country.
What didn't I see? A single Bush voter who defined his support on his opposition to John Kerry. Without exception, the people I met support the President, his leadership, and his vision for this nation. None of them expressed concerns about Kerry.
It's a little tough to make comparisons, here, because, as I said, I was not ringing the bells at houses that we expected would support Kerry. But, at Yale, I am constantly surrounded by Democrats, which I think gives me a pretty good basis for understanding the general view of the opposition.
And what have I seen there? With a very few exceptions, Kerry was not the first choice of Democrats. Sure, he won the primaries, but as we saw at that time, his victories focused around the idea that he had the best chance of defeating Bush. He was chosen as the viable candidate, instead of the one that fit best with the views of the Party. We know from his record that he is more liberal than most Democrats. We know that the mission of the Democrat Party has, from the beginning of this election cycle, focused around the idea of "anybody but Bush," creating a campaign of negative definitions, rather than positive ones. I've commented extensively on this idea before, and won't expand on it here, but suffice it to say that I think this is a sad state of affairs, and anything but the road to victory.
I've been energized by the devotion of Party members here in Derry. Despite the generally accepted notion that Kerry will win New Hampshire, these people are confident that we will triumph in the rest of the country (again, I will give you my predictions in a post later tonight). It's exhilarating to meet so many enthusiastic people, and so many volunteers who care so deeply about the outcome of this important election.
I'm going to bed now, as soon as I set my alarm clock back an hour, excited for another day of turning out the vote. Happy Halloween!
What it means to be a Republican on a liberal college campus
Keith recently modified an older blog post of his, and turned it into a YDN column. Today, Casey Miner challenged him.
Also, today's Best of the Web, James Taranto addresses the question of the Roe Effect, and ties it into a poll of college students, attempting to analyze their politics.
From these pieces, I've spent all day mulling over what it means for me, personally, to be conservative, and more specifically a Republican, at Yale.
I was recently attacked in the comments following one of my posts for "spewing the party line," and not promoting any form of free thinking. Addressing that specifically, the assumption made by that challenger is that no one could possibly believe the Republican Party line, that it must be pure propaganda spoken by people who can't think for themselves.
But that's what happens in the intellectual world. The overwhelming majority of college students, particularly at a place like Yale, of professors, of people with graduate degrees generally, support the liberal, Democratic world view. The Pew poll of journalists illustrates this, the statistics of party donation rates on college campuses illustrate this, walking around any college campus illustrates this. To be a Republican in any of these environments, then, results in assumptions of ignorance or even stupidity. [Author's note: This post was begun on 10/28/2004, paused, and restarted here on 10/30/2004.] You'd have to be stupid to support Bush, the people around me assume, and tell me often. I listen to the assumptions of the media, demonstrated in the way that questions are posed, and repeated in the conversations I have with my peers. But still, the fact remains, I am not an idiot. I do not blindly follow the opinions handed down to me by Fox News and talk radio. I firmly believe that big government constrains liberty. I firmly believe that people will rise out of poverty when they are encouraged to do so, rather than subsidized to subsist in their current state of existence.
I listened tonight to Tim Russert demand of Pete Coors how a conviction to cut taxes and lower the deficit can work together without contradiction. While Coors failed to make the correct response, this does not make his convictions stupid, or misinformed. Realizing that stimulating the economy, and increasing individuals' disposable income eventually leads to higher government revenues does not make one gullible. It's a conviction that has been borne out by Reagan's tax cuts, which resulted in the boom of the 1980s and 90s (with the brief plateau at the end of Bush 41's presidency, the longest economic boom in our national history); it's a conviction that has been carried out by JFK's decision to cut taxes; it's a conviction that many Americans hold, and the Left will never understand.
Tonight I am in New Hampshire, working as member of the Yale College Republicans, campaigning for President George W. Bush's reelection, going door-to-door to make sure that everyone gets out and votes. As I was leaving campus, a liberal friend of mine said "I heard that you guys are going up there to turn people away from the polls and steal the election." The absurdity of this accusation proves the assumptions of my fellow Yalies, that the only way we can win an election is without justification, by deceiving and lying to people.
But I am surrounded by people who are not motivated by a culture of fear. We hear stories, and see evidence of destruction of private property by liberals who hate Bush. Signs are torn down, only to be replaced, only to be stolen and never seen again. (For example: In Derry, New Hampshire, where I am tonight, Bush campaigners put up over 100 large signs around town, in legitimate, legal locations, mostly on private property. About a week later, less than 30 percent of them remain. Through the entire campaign, in the same town, there has been exactly 1, ONE, complaint of a Kerry lawn sign, standard size, being removed.) Cars with a W sticker on them are keyed, or their tires slashed. A few weeks ago, a Bush campaign headquarters in Tennessee was shot in a drive-by. Multiple Bush headquarters have been broken into by unknown people, and campaign strategy documents have been stolen. Democrat campaign strategy documents, on the other hand, show evidence of plans to accuse Republicans of poll intimidation even if such events do not occur. Friends, I repeat, friends of mine curse me for supporting Bush and told me I should take my "Four More Years," "I Love Capitalism," "Bush-Cheney 2004," and Ronald Reagan posters out of my window. They warn me that if I don't, my room could be vandalized. Of course, they'd never do it, but they know people who would. The Yale College Republicans spent the better part of a night chalking pro-Bush messages on Cross Campus, only to wake up and find them vandalized.
It is a real climate of fear, designed to frighten us away from our beliefs, and to prevent us from voicing them in any visible way. I am told to shut up when discussing my beliefs with sympathizers while I eat my lunch in the dining hall. My YDN column received a lot of praise from people on both sides of the political aisle, but more than anything else I heard people say, "You raised a lot of points I'd never thought of, but you can't really believe that right?" That's innocuous in and of itself, but it is usually followed by "Even if you do, you really shouldn't publish those thoughts, or people are going to think less of you." I am often told that it's despicable how often I resort to the talking points from the Bush-Cheney '04 website, and I've had other conservative friends of mine tell me they often face the same accusation. The problem is, we don't visit this site with any regularity. I go every now and then to buy apparel, or signs, or bumper stickers, or whatever, and have scanned the campaign platform and proposals a few times, but honestly, I have no idea where to even find campaign talking points. I'm on the Bush-Cheney email list, but I hardly ever read what they send me. I don't listen to Rush Limbaugh, or Sean Hannity with anything approaching regularity, and I certainly don't look to any of these sources in order to decide what I believe. In reality, though I don't repeat what others have told me, I pray, and I think, and I come up with my own decisions. I read the news for 2-3 hours a day. I read the NYT, Washington Post, WSJ, Weekly Standard, CNN.com, Economist, and the multitude of other blogs and news sources that you can see at the right side of this page, and I make my own conclusions. I have spent my entire conscious life, to this day, debating with my family. Though my brother, James, and my father generally agree with my politics, they constantly play Devil's Advocate. I remember one specific instance, at the time when I was opposed to the Death Penalty, and arguing with my father. He finally convinced me, and I told him he had, that I had switched slightly in favor of limited executions. In that moment, he switched and started throwing my previous arguments right back at me. I was infuriated, but such dialogue forces me to closely analyze all of my political positions, until I can be confident in my decisions.
And therein lies the proof of my convictions. I will not be silenced, and in my short time at Yale, I've seen the growing influence of conservative voices. Unfortunately, at the same time I have seen these efforts succeed with too many people. Many of my conservative friends have concluded that it's not worth the hassle to place a Bush sticker on their cars. They'll still vote for the President, of course, but it's too much trouble to support him openly. This makes it hard, of course, for those of us who won't back down. As I said, I've been threatened by repercussions. I've been told to silence myself, and I've been told that others will do it for me.
The fact remains, however (and here's where the Roe Effect possibly ties in), that my generation is more conservative then our parents were at our age. Yale, as I mentioned, is becoming more conservative. Our voices are growing stronger. We've got 17 highly committed Yale College Republicans here in New Hampshire, working hard, 9-hour days in the rain trying to get our President reelected. College campuses around the country remain locked in liberalism, but this is being exposed. UNC Chapel Hill, this week, tried to hold a debate between a liberal and a conservative professor, and it was picked up by the national media (however briefly) that they could not find a conservative to represent the school and were forced to import a professor from nearby Duke University. Groups like Young America's Foundation are working to bring conservative speakers to campuses around the country. Sean Hannity is effectively following Michael Moore around the country, visiting the schools the latter visits usually within a few weeks to contradict his lies—lies all too often accepted as fact by students around the country.
What I'm effectively saying is, we're coming out. It's not easy to be a conservative at Yale, or on any college campus outside a handful of state schools in the midwest and Texas, but we are rising. We may very well lose this election (I'll express my thoughts on that in a post later tonight in my election outcome prediction), but we will not lose the overall war. Too many of us see the crime in the murder of millions of unborn children, the bigotry of affirmative action based on race instead of income, the perpetuation of poverty subsidized by the welfare state, the restrictions on success imposed by excessive taxation at all income levels, the danger of pandering to unfriendly foreign "allies," the restriction of liberty imposed by limiting the constitutional right to possession of firearms, the misleading stories told by much of the national media, and the untold other lies and deceptive propaganda through which the Left maintains a stranglehold on intelligent thought in this country.
It is hard to be a conservative at Yale, but it is necessary, and when I look at what needs to be achieved it becomes much easier.