Political campaign during elections is essential if not the most important part of any election race. The history of the USA has known a lot of them. Presidential campaigns and elections are always colorful, lively, filled with partisan politics and boost that can only compare to rock stars. It has an enormous effect over the public.
A campaign is always a contest. It gives the candidates a chance to show their strengths and forces them to betray their weaknesses. The scrutiny makes it much less likely that the voters will accidentally choose an unqualified candidate to be their leader. It’s a marathon that produces a winner. Such activities are of the utmost importance, for they have the decisive influence on the choice of people. A leader and then a winner may have a profound effect on all our lives. You can have your playoffs and your championships; the debates, primaries, conventions, and November election are the sporting events that really matter! 1 That’s why so much attention is attached to the campaigning.
Campaign of a particular candidate is formation of his charisma; chance to show the people his abilities, desire and strength to be the one they choose. It is crucial time when public accepts or rejects candidate as a leader.
As long as the frontrunner avoids disaster, he/she may count for backing of the public. Very little press coverage of a political campaign focuses on the creation, implementation, and critique of policy. At this point it's a popularity contest based on name recognition and image2. “As for the elections of 2004 they ended in a victory of President George W Bush. He won nearly the same states as he had in 2000. He did however win a clear victory in the popular vote. The electoral results in 2004 were very similar to the results of 2000. President Bush however won a significant victory in the popular vote becoming the first President since 1988 to win over 50% of the vote.
The major issues in the campaign were terrorism, the War in Iraq, the economy and social issues. Voters for President Bush supported him primarily for the war on terror and social issues. Voter turnout was high, which typically would have helped the democrats, but in this case reflected a very successful get out the vote effort by the Republicans” 3.Touching upon the details of Bush’s election platform it is necessary to mention that this year President George W. Bush's campaign focuses mainly on the war on terrorism, homeland security and strengthening the economy.
Bush sees America as a powerful state, his only desire and duty is protecting America people and combating terrorism. “We're reforming our intelligence capabilities. We are transforming our military. There will be no draft. The all-volunteer army works and we'll keep it an all-volunteer army. We are relentless, we are determined; we are staying on the offense against these terrorists so we do not have to face them here at home”4.
Touching such burning issue as war in Iraq Bush clearly outlined in the presidential debate that his goal is to work toward the freedom of Iraq by training Iraqis to support themselves. One of the major focuses of Bush's campaign is to "link terrorism with the war in Iraq" to convince people that he is the best man for the presidency5.
Bush also pays much attention to the situation in Afghanistan. “It is more secure for America to have Afghanistan as an ally in the war on terror”4.
Concerning the question of security Bush accuses Kerry in being wrong on some key points: “When former President Bush led a coalition against Saddam Hussein in 1991, Senator Kerry voted against the use of force to liberate Kuwait. Well, history has shown that Senator Kerry was wrong, and former President Bush was right”4. Bush attacks Kerry’s proposals of massive cuts in America's intelligence budget, “so massive that even his Massachusetts colleague, Ted Kennedy, opposed them. Well, history has shown that Senator Kerry was wrong again”4.
Continuing the question of security Bush negatively emphasizes Kerry’s stand on the events of September, 11. Gorge W. Bush says that while the security of our families is at stake J. Kerry claims not to be changed much by this disaster.
One more major problem within Bush’s platform is family’s budget and taxes. He kept his promise and doubled the child credit to a thousand dollars per child to help moms and dads, reduced the marriage penalty, reduced income taxes for everybody who pays income taxes. Bush’s administration “passed good legislation that made it abundantly clear, and we will not tolerate dishonesty in the boardrooms of America”4. But his opponent (Karry) has a different plan for family's budget. “He's going to take a big chunk out of it”4. “He voted against the child increasing the child credit, he voted against the marriage penalty relief, he voted against lower taxes. If he had had his way, the average American family would be paying $2,000 more in federal income taxes”, - Gorge Bush said4.
“There are also problems in this nation when it comes to medical liability”,-Bush claims4. While Mr. Kerry according to the Gorge W. Bush’s speech, voted against medical liability reform 10 times in the United States Senate.
Bush also claimed in his speeches to pay much attention to the retirement. “Our nation has made a solemn commitment to America's seniors on Social Security and Medicare”4. The years of presidency really have showed that Bush kept his promise, Medicare system was reformed and thousands of dollars paid for a heart surgery. And keeps promising “beginning in 2006, all seniors in America will be able to get prescription drug coverage under Medicare”. In the field of social security Bush stands for the tax cutting and again and again attacks Kerry “…my opponent takes a different approach. He said he's going to protect Social Security, but tell your friends and neighbors about this fact: He voted eight times for higher taxes on Social Security benefits”4. According to Bush reform is something to be done today and to be passed to the next generation, as J. Kerry does.
“I stand for marriage and family, which are the foundations of our society”6. Bush stands for the culture of life where every being counts. “And I proudly signed the ban on partial-birth abortion”, - said Bush in his speech in Pennsylvania. While Kerry “voted against the Defense of Marriage Act, he voted against the ban on partial-birth abortion, and at one point in this campaign, he actually said that the heart and soul of America can be found in Hollywood”4.
Tough the election period began with a quick victory in the Democratic primaries for Senator John Kerry who with the skilful use of internet managed to raise as much money as the Republicans began an intensive attack on him.
The democrats made Kerry's Vietnam War service a major theme of their convention, claiming that he did not deserve his medals. The Republicans also had a successful convention in which they attacked Kerry, declaring he was a flip-flopper and could not be trusted to fight the war on terror. At the same time this same convention held in New York highlighted President Bush best qualities, which were well suited to fighting terrorism. President Bush opened a significant lead following the convention2.
But that situation changed during the first debate. In that debate Kerry did significantly better then the President, turned out to be a much better prepared orator than Bush, as a result Kerry was considered the winner of all three rounds of debates. Current events in Iraq before the election seemed to favor Kerry2.
“While Kerry did vote to approve Bush's was on Iraq, he disapproves of the manner that Bush led the nation to war. He says that Bush mismanaged the war and failed to first secure UN sanctions and develop an international coalition. Kerry does not support a military draft, and also feels the US should be more active in the Arab-Israeli peace process”3.
In his turn Kerry says that Bush has failed in his fundamental obligation as Commander-in-Chief to make America as safe and secure as it should be. “Just as the Bush Administration’s failure to secure Iraq’s borders has led to thousands of terrorists flooding into the country, their failure to secure those explosives threatens American troops and the American people”7. Actually the topic of war in Iraq is Achilles' heel of G. Bush that gave a temporally lead to his opponent. The negative point according to Kerry’s words that America rushed to war in Iraq without any definite plan to defense the most sensitive sites. Much of information concerning the postwar times, weapons, lost of explosives and mane other serious facts were deliberately hidden from the publicity.
“And what did the president have to say about the missing explosives? Not a word. Complete silence. Despite devastating evidence that his administration’s failure here has put our troops and our citizens are in greater danger, George Bush has not offered a single word of explanation. His silence confirms what I have been saying for months: President Bush rushed to war without a plan to win the peace”7.
The striking fact is, said J. Kerry, that America didn’t have enough troops on to do the job perfectly done, didn’t have enough allies, Bush failed to secure Iraq after war to keep it from becoming what it is now – a haven for terrorists. Kerry accuses Bush in great expenditures on war. “When the President is faced with the consequences of his own wrong decisions, he doesn’t confront them, he tries to hide them”,7 - one of the most serious and devastating attacks on Bush.
Kerry skillfully and need to say successfully pointed out blunders of Bush Administrations in dealing with Iraq, in particular the lack of troops to prevent looting and crimes and to secure Iraq’s borders against terrorists; Central Intelligence Agency warning about worsening situation in Iraq, that was veiled and American people heard spirit-stirring new about the succeeding strategy. “In virtually everything he has said and everything he has done the President has demonstrated to the American people and to countries around the world that he is divorced from reality in Iraq”7.
That is time for a fresh start in Iraq, to train Iraqis and reconstruct Iraq quickly so America can bring its troops home, to bring all the allies the talks, to hold the promised elections in Iraq.
As for the other aspects of election platform Kerry touches upon the civil rights problems, he believes in equal rights for all Americans. “Kerry has supported every major piece of civil rights legislation while in the Senate and will continue to fight for civil rights as President”8. “He wants all Americans to be free from persecution and discrimination based upon gender, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation. Kerry will support judicial nominees who will preserve the rights of all citizens; oppose all efforts to undermine affirmative action; uphold the prosecution of hate crimes; eliminate racial profiling; and fight against discrimination in the workplace” 8.
In the field of education he works to expand and protect federal student loan programs and federal scholarships in order all students willing to get higher education should have access to colleges.
Within the foreign policy Kerry to spite Bush claims that his “experience with the military and foreign policy issues gives him an understanding of how to sustain America’s national security and create favorable relations with other nations”8.
John Kerry has a plan to deal with the alarming increases in health care costs. Is going to provide for those who can’t afford insurance.
Summarizing different facts we can say that “the hard-fought 2004 fight for the presidency reflected both deep-seated social divisions in the country and the polarizing effects of Iraq, the economy and the war on terrorism” 9.
According to exit polls taken during the campaign basic electorate echoed those of 2000, men, whites, rural residents and the religiously observant were backing Bush, while women, minorities, urban dwellers and the less religious were going for Kerry”9 . Again according to the polling, the decision to invade Iraq split the American electorate almost evenly.
“The gender gap persisted this year but shrank a little. Bush was leading by about five percentage points among men, down from 11 points in 2000, while among women Kerry held about a nine-point advantage, two points less than Gore enjoyed four years ago” 9. “Another notable feature of the election was the Kerry edge among voters younger than 30. Their ranks grew as much as those of older voters, who usually are much more reliable in showing up at the polls. And those between 18 and 29 one-sixth of the electorate -- were going for Kerry by 13 points last night” 9.
In the end of fighting, campaigning and election engineering President George W. Bush on November 2 was re-elected president of the United States. “As of November 3, Bush had won 29 states and 274 electoral votes with results in Iowa and New Mexico remaining too close to call”10.
The 2004 presidential election in the United States was marked by high voter turnout that resulted in long lines at many polling places even after the official closing time.
As for the influential power of this campaign unlikely there was the person in the country whose choice didn’t experienced the impact of either political camp. Scarcely there were people who didn’t criticize or supported any of the political camps. Too much money was spent not to have a serious impact on the American society.
Numerous speeches and visits to American States provided nation with information about the main ideas and points of election platforms of frontrunners, though not always true information. Debates and reciprocal critics of candidates revealed weakness, flaws and weak spots of both candidates.
Also it was very hot campaign that left no indifferent. Nevertheless it was very hard campaign that took place after and during very serious and grave developments for American nation, and I’d say made this election campaign rather spicy.