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May 12, 2008
Why John McCain Won
2008 in 2004
Ever since the 2006 congressional elections, and for probably even
longer, just about every pundit and media outlet has predicted that a
Democrat will win the presidency in 2008. This viewpoint has even
spilled over into the political futures markets, where traders
(presumably politically savvy predictors who are putting their money
where their mouth is) give Democrats a 61 percent chance of taking the
White House, compared to 39 percent for Republicans.
This conventional wisdom continues to permeate much of the politicos’
world despite the Republican nomination of an entirely electable John
McCain; and not to mention the destructive ongoing primary campaign on
the Democratic side, which only the deluded and the party’s public
relations personnel can describe as “healthy.”
Yet just as the conventional wisdom has been proven wrong on Rudy
Giuliani and possibly Hillary Clinton, it will again fail in November.
Barring any significant unforeseen occurrences (on par with a major
ethics-related scandal or a serious heart attack), John McCain will
become the next president of the United States.
This became more or less clear not upon his nomination, nor at the
beginning of this election cycle. John McCain won the 2008 election upon
the re-election of George W. Bush on November 2, 2004. Why would I say
something this outlandish? The two-part answer is simple – the economy
and the war in Iraq.
Whether it is a good thing or not, the issues that have and will
continue make a difference in presidential elections are military
conflicts and matters related to the economy.
is true that exit polls from November 2004 showed that moral values
transcended all other issues in importance, to the shock of media types
who were previously convinced that such archaic “values” ceased to exist
sometime around the Spanish Inquisition. But moral values have not been
a swing issue for years, and will not be for decades.
Indeed, most of the electorate is composed of static voters who will
vote for the same party as long as neither they nor their party undergo
significant ideological changes. For instance, those “values” voters
will usually vote for Republicans, as will nearly anyone with a B or
above in any legitimate economics class.
Those raised in an environment of dependency and self-victimization, on
the other hand, will inevitably vote Democratic in one election, only to
do it again in the next election because they’ll have forgotten that
their favorite politicians haven’t done anything to improve their lot or
eliminate their dependency.
Therefore, moral values, welfare, abortion and taxes are rarely swing
issues. This is why the main issues that will impact independents this
November will be their understanding of how the Iraq war is going, and
their understanding of how the candidates’ different economic policies
will affect them (again, this group largely excludes the economically
Rewind to the fall of 2004. The Iraq war was not going as well as we had
hoped, and the popular credit given to President Bush for the capture of
Saddam Hussein 10 months earlier had already faded. But although the
greatest military in the world might face difficult short-term
obstacles, in the long run, given the time and resources to adjust, it
could win any war against insurgents.
the context of Iraq, four years from November 2004 indeed proved to be
enough for the U.S. military to demonstrate sustainable success against
its enemies. Assuming that John Kerry would have continued the fight in
Iraq, this success would have benefited whomever the incumbent was,
Republican or Democrat, along with his party.
Likewise, the recession that the Bush Administration inherited, and
which was exacerbated by the September 11 attacks, was coming to an end
in 2004, due in large part to the Bush tax cuts. It was clear at the
time to anyone not in the media that this was the beginning of a great
period of economic growth that, as economic cycles go, should continue
And indeed, President Bush’s second term ran alongside a period of
overwhelming economic success. Because this economic boom was largely a
result of the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts, even John Kerry would have
inadvertently overseen a period of economic growth between 2004 and
2008. Incidentally, only hours after the 2004 election results came in,
we learned that the economy had added a mind-boggling 337,000 jobs in
The party of the 2004 election victor, Republican or Democrat, would
have been credited with both remarkable economic growth and immense
success in Iraq. Assuming the static voters stay where they are, the
independents have long been bound to swing toward whoever the 2008
Republican candidate is, delivering another White House term for the
GOP. The fact that the Republican nominee is John McCain, a darling of
independents, is just unnecessary overkill.
© 2008 North Star
Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.
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