A Divider Not a Uniter
The Long National Nightmare Continues...
By Brad Friedman on 11/3/2004, 2:54pm PT  

It's only been an hour or two, but the spinning and cynically opportunistic misinterpretation by the zealots of President-Elect Bush's victory has already begun. As expected.

Never mind that a man who received a "free" all-expense-paid four-year campaign commercial masquerading as "President" could claim only a slim 1% victory over his contender, with more Americans voting against him than any candidate in history, the Right has already begun the spin (as evidenced in comments here) that even the moderates in America support Bush.

Andrew Sullivan quotes Noam Scheiber putting some truth to that earliest of lies:

Not only did Kerry win by an 86-13 margin among self-described liberals, he also won by a 55-45 margin among self-described moderates. So how'd Bush pull it off? He won 84-15 among self-described conservatives, and, more importantly, he made sure conservatives comprised a much bigger chunk of the electorate than they did in 2000. (Conservatives comprised about 34 percent of the electorate yesterday, versus 29 percent in 2000--a huge shift, raw numbers-wise.) Anyone anticipating a conciliatory second Bush term should stop and consider how much Bush owes his base.

Adding to that, I associate myself with Josh Marshall who saw the Bush/Cheney statements today claiming a "a broad, nationwide victory" as ominous writing on the sleaze-room wall:

This is the touchstone and the sign. A 'broad, nationwide victory'? He must be kidding. Our system is majority rule. And 51% is a win. But he's claiming a mandate.

"A broad, nationwide victory"?

It would almost be comical if it weren't for the seriousness of what it portends. This election cut the nation in two. A single percentage point over 50% is not broad. A victory that carried no states in the Northeast, close to none in the Industrial midwest is not nationwide, and none on the west coast is not nationwide.

And yet he plans to use this narrow victory as though it were a broad mandate, starting right back with the same strategy that has already come near to tearing this country apart.

I'll have more on that "same strategy" and the ugliness it required to win a 1% majority victory as the day goes on...

CORRECTION 11/4/04: As pointed out by reader "Jeff", I said above that Bush "could claim only a slim 1% victory over his contender" I should have said "a slim 1% victory over his contenders" since Bush received 51% of the popular vote. As well, "Jeff" pointed out that I said Bush had "more Americans voting against him than any candidate in history". That was misleading as well. What I should have said was Bush had "more Americans voting against him than any Republican candidate in history". A seemingly good source to check on these matters is right here. BRAD BLOG regrets both the errors and the sleepless haze in which they were written.