What's An Independent Voter To Do?
August 9, 2004
I had an especially heated, yet thought-provoking conversation with my father this past weekend that made me think about an unexpected dilemma facing the campaign of Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry heading into the November election.
As a Democratic-leaning, self-proclaimed "independent" voter from a small town in Tennessee, my father grew up in an area where you always voted a straight Democratic ticket in every election.
However, that mentality began to change when GOP presidential nominee Ronald Reagan ran for president in 1980 on a message of hope and strength during difficult times. Although he was a Republican, many Democrats and independents realized a drastic change was needed to fix the failed policies of President Jimmy Carter.
When the Reagan revolution swept across the United States nearly a quarter century ago, the tide began to shift politically. Although it began on the national level first with Ronald Reagan being elected to two consecutive landslide elections as president in the 1980s, state and local Republican candidates have also begun to gain a foothold in places where Democrats used to dominate.
During the mid-80s, my father ran for sheriff as an "independent" candidate against a strong Democratic incumbent who had beaten his primary opponent 3-1.
Although his 2-1 loss was inevitable in a heavily Democratic-voting county, my father proved at that time that he was an "independent" in every sense of the word. Even still, while he maintains he likes to vote for the right person for the job rather than for a particular political party, my father is primarily a social and fiscal conservative.
There are a lot of voters like my father out there in 2004 that should give rise for concern in the Bush campaign.
Unfortunately, I am afraid there are a lot of people like my father who have bought into the daily drumbeat of lies told by the mainstream media and Democratic Party about President George W. Bush.
When talking with my father on the telephone, he mentioned that he would be working at a table for a pro-life group at an event in his town. I used that as a springboard to a conversation about the presidential race.
Since he was supporting the issue of pro-life, I inquired if he would be supporting Bush or Kerry, the former supporting the right to life and the latter in favor of abortion.
Expressing an obvious disdain for Bush because of the hundreds of soldiers who have lost their lives in Iraq as well as the lack of jobs in his area, my father pointed the finger of responsibility directly at Bush for both of these important issues.
I attempted to explain that those men and women fighting on behalf of this country in Iraq have bravely sacrificed their lives for freedom just as those of his generation fought in Vietnam and of his father's generation fought in World War II.
And on the unemployment issue, I revealed to my father that the unemployment rate has fallen to 5.5 percent with over 1.5 million new jobs created over the past year as well as the fact that the overall growth in the economy is the best it has been in two decades.
Yet these facts fell on deaf ears.
None of that seemed to matter to my father because his perception is that the war in Iraq was wrong and the economy is doomed for failure. Furthermore, he blamed Bush for both.
This can only mean one thing. The Democrats have done a much better job of getting their message out to undecided voters than the Republicans have.
Regardless, Bush is not the only one who needs to be concerned about voters like my father. Kerry has not impressed him either.
When I asked who he would be supporting in November, my father said he has not yet decided and believes both choices are poor.
He has told me before that he sincerely believes Bush lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq just to remove Saddam Hussein from power. My father was nearly moved to tears when he talked about the soldiers killed in Iraq.
But, at the same time, my father cannot bring himself to support Kerry and does not know why.
And therein lies the problem for Kerry and the Democratic Party.
Here is a voter who actually believes the propaganda coming from the Democratic Party and parroted by their willing accomplices in the press. But he is still unsure if he will vote for their chosen man in November.
Uh-oh. That was not supposed to happen according to the Democratic Party strategy.
So what is going to happen in November with voters like my father? Will they stay home? Will they realize that Bush has led this country well over the past four years and give him another term? Or will they they decide to bring socialism to the U.S. in the form of John F. Kerry?
That's the big question mark that has no clear answer at this point.
The Kerry campaign has desperately tried to conceal the actual views of Kerry and his running mate John Edwards, recently named the #1 and #4 most liberal members of the U.S. Senate, ever since the Democratic National Convention in Boston a couple of weeks ago.
But the pro-abortion, gay-supporting, tax-increasing, tree-hugging, government spending Johns will do anything and everything to get elected except tell people about the real ideas they espouse. It's the Bill Clinton model for getting elected and the Democratic Party is gonna try it again with Kerry.
Although they are nearly identical ideologically, John Kerry is no match for Bill Clinton in style.
As for the Bush campaign, they still have the Republican National Convention in New York at the end of August to make the case for reelection to the American people. Bush should use this platform to clearly identify what he has done over the past four years, especially with the tremendous success in the war on terrorism and the major improvements in the economy and jobs resulting from the tax cuts he implemented.
But will that alone be enough? No. Bush will also need to paint a picture for the American people about what America will be like under a President John F. Kerry.
It's a daunting task trying to sway an "independent" voter, like my father, who loathes both sides equally. Nevertheless, it is these voters who will make the difference in the outcome of the presidential election and, thus, in the direction this country will go in the generations to come.
Who can win the "independent" vote? Let the race begin.