An open letter to conservatives who are fearful that Bush may lose:
Ok, everyone—please take a deep, deep breath. George W. Bush is going to win the election. In fact, he will probably win it handily. I know that at the moment, the polls show a close race with Kerry slightly in the lead, but that will change. Consider the following facts:
First, we just saw the best face the Democrats could possibly put on. For a week in Boston, they put on their most conservative face, flung their arms around anyone remotely related to the military that would have them, and made sure to mention God, family or patriotism in every other sentence. Their carefully choreographed convention went off with nary a hitch. But what did it gain them?
Four whole points, even by the most liberal estimates. Four points. That's the smallest convention bounce since George McGovern. And according to the Gallup poll, Kerry actually lost ground after the convention. This is not exactly an opponent to be feared. (See http://www.realclearpolitics.com/ for polling data.)
Second, Kerry is not running “for” President, he is running “against” George Bush. What else can he do? After 20 years in the Senate, he's never sponsored a successful bill that did anything more than slightly increase in funding for marine biology. We Republicans tried this once, with someone far more qualified—and at least as charismatic. Anyone remember Bob Dole? Many of us thought then, as the Democrats do now, that the president was weak enough that we didn't need to put anything substantive on the table. We were wrong then, and they are wrong now. What it's resulting in now is that Republicans are more united around Bush than they have been around anyone since Reagan, while Democrats only lukewarmly support their candidate. (Remember the primaries? He's not their candidate because they want to vote for him, but because they think other people will vote for him.)
Third, the economic models, which are hands down the best way of predicting these sorts of outcomes, all predict Bush landslides, in the range of 55-56 percent of the popular vote. With the handover in Iraq a success already, that issue will fade from people's minds, and economic predictors will become more and more important.
Fourth and last, consider the events that we know we will have leading up to the election. The next big story is the Olympics in Greece, where virulent anti-Americanism will remind everyone exactly who these “allies” are that Kerry insists we need to obey. On August 15, star political operative Karen Hughes returns to the Bush team, and the campaign really begins. Then comes the Republican National Convention, where celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rudy Giuliani will command a far larger audience than the Dem convention, and Bush will roll out his agenda for his next term. Right after that comes the 3rd anniversary of September 11, 2001, when America will be reminded how thankful we all were that Bush was president then, of how we charged him to “do what it takes.” Then in October comes the elections in Afghanistan, a reminder that Bush really has done it, and and of the truth of his belief that more freedom for the world results in more security for us.
This is not even counting unanticipated events, such as an attempted or successful terrorist attack or the capturing of Zarqawi or Bin Laden (or his
corpse). These would all help Bush by propelling national security to the top of everyone's concern list. It is difficult to think of an event that would help Kerry at all.
So be calm—history, time, and truth are all on Bush's side. The danger is no more dire than it was in 1984. But notice that I don't say “relax.”
Because this is not just a passive event that passes us by untouched. You and I have the power to make a difference in this presidential election. Are you worried that Bush might lose? Then do something about it! Volunteer, contribute, talk to your friends and neighbors about how important this election is. Http://www.georgewbush.com/ offers numerous ways that you can make a difference in this crucial election. Even if I've convinced you that Bush has little to fear from Kerry, all of this assumes that Bush supporters are working tirelessly to counter the media hype and the Democratic misinformation.
Even if you can't afford to contribute some money, and don't have the time or energy to volunteer, you do have the ability to talk to people. It is not true that the electorate gets all of its information from the media—the election is not being contested only in convention halls and on television screens, but in backyards, front porches, offices, restaurants and coffee shops all around the country. Seek out undecided voters and tell them the facts. Seek out discouraged or disgruntled conservatives and remind them how important this is. Seek out moderate Democrats and remind them that it really is okay for a Democrat to support George W. Bush—as the Democrat mayor of Saint Paul, Randy Kelly, has just done.
So: cheer up, stand up, and head into the political trenches. If we put as much effort into getting Bush elected as we have been putting into worrying that he won't be, then he will win this election. The only thing we have to fear is—well, you know.