I believe this and I’ve said it many times BUT it finally made complete sense after I read a post by DUer Anaxarchos. This is his analysis and the quotations are his words. It is well worth the read! You’ve seen all the charts and heard the debate on statistics. This is just plain political reality and logic.
There is no way the Republicans could have won given the following.
1) Republican Problems.
The Republicans faced two problems in 2004. Gore won more votes in 2000, creating a motivated Kerry base and the Nader vote was headed to Kerry. Given this and Bush’s falling poll numbers, Rove developed a grand strategy:
“The theory was that by using the patriotic wind of 9/11 at their backs and by focusing the Power of The Presidency, Republicans could chip away at the conservative edges of traditionally Democratic constituencies. As the election approached, it became clear that the impact of Iraq and the faltering economy (particularly in potential battlegrounds like Ohio and Pennsylvania) had undone that "strategy". The situation left few good GOP alternatives”
2) Rove’s Ugly Alternatives
Battle of Attrition. A battle of attrition “is typically fought by the numbers (i.e. money, phone calls, response rates, etc.). In 2004, the Democrats had nearly as much money to spend and were highly motivated. They had already won the battle for registration and, historically, the Republicans have only been able to better mobilize a smaller constituency (i.e. extract a higher percentage turnout from a smaller number of total partisans that could theoretically be mobilized).” This battle was never fully engaged.
Winning the Undecideds. This was considered but Rove rejected it as a major strategy. “This was openly advocated by several Republican "strategists" and was proposed through the mechanism of swinging Bush’s position "to the center". The interesting thing was that this was openly opposed by Rove. The basis of his opposition was that the electorate was already very polarized and that the hit rate among the "undecideds" would be too low.”
Capturing the 3-4 Million Evangelicals Who Sat Out 2000. “This constituency was the ONLY rapidly mobilizable and sizable group within the Republican constituencies which COULD be brought to the 2004 elections, thus justifying the "gamble" according to Rove. By this mechanism (perhaps as many as 3 million votes), the Republicans could just offset the Democratic plurality of 2000, the Nader vote, and a modest Democratic swing of the tiny "middle". Because this strategy was thought to be disproportionately effective in certain battleground states (Florida, Missouri, and a few others), it was thought that it could gain near parity or even a tiny plurality in the popular vote and that it could be focused geographically to win a narrow victory in the electoral vote.”
3) Roves Last Gasp: The Evangelical Strategy that Did Not Work
“First, instead of 110 to 112 million votes as was expected in a "rerun of 2000", the turnout produced nearly 123 million votes, effectively swamping the Rovian strategy with a much bigger "middle". Second, Bush achieved, not narrow parity, but a 3 million vote majority in the popular vote. Some Republicans were "stunned" and this accounts for the claims of a "landslide", etcetera, immediately following the elections. Of course the election did not break any ground historically in presidential races (it was in fact a very close race), but what was really being referred to was a 3 million vote majority where no such vote could exist.”
“This "what if" is probably the closest to reality that could be proposed and the irony is that it is supported by the 12:22 AM exit polls (Kerry 51%).. In fact, it is not so much that the exit polls suggest "fraud" so much as they support a logical understanding of an election which can not achieve that outcome WITHOUT fraud.’
And that’s it.
They couldn’t and didn’t win the “war of attrition.” We had too much money and a strong organization (remember!).
They couldn’t and didn’t win the “undecidededs.” We know that for a fact.
And the 3-4 million evangelicals they brought out couldn’t be the “kill shot” when the vote total went from 112 million to 123 million.
It was “an election which can not achieve that outcome WITHOUT fraud.
Republicans do you best, it’s an air tight case.
Posted by autorank on Democratic Underground