Democratic Underground

Be Not Misled by the Blue and the Red

January 27, 2005
By Karyn Strickler

Americans are stupid.

Following the first "legitimate" election of George W. Bush, which was against the self-interest of most American citizens, it is a tempting theory with only one problem: it's not true.

Americans may be under-informed due to the domination of corporate media and they are no doubt too comfortable to want to rock any boats - at least not yet. But when provided with adequate information on both sides of an issue, voters will usually make a thoughtful and fair decision. As a grassroots, political organizer I've seen it happen on some of the most complicated and divisive issues of our time.

Granted, a look at a red-blue map of the country's 2004 electoral results can make a progressive person feel like the nation is hemorrhaging and on the verge of certain death.

Still, taking the election results at face value for the moment - without even addressing the rising tide of charges of voting "irregularities" in the Presidential election - take another look at the American voter.

Only seventeen states went solidly for Bush in percentages ranging from the high of 71 percent in Utah to the low of 58 percent in South Carolina. All of the other states in the Union that were not blue states can reasonably be called swing states, with some closer than others.

Even in states where Bush won - if in fact you believe that he actually won the vote of the people, as opposed to the vote of electronic machines without a paper trail - it was close enough to send the message that Americans are unmistakably and emphatically disavowing the incumbent's agenda: forty-nine percent of voters in Iowa, Ohio and New Mexico; forty-eight percent of voters in Nevada and forty-seven percent of people in Florida said an emphatic, "No," to four more years of Bush's despotic prospectus.

Bush may have gotten the most votes in history, but he also had more people voting against him than any other Presidential candidate in history.

The 58 million-plus Americans who voted against Bush's re-election constitute more votes than any winning Presidential candidate to this point in American history. The number of people voting against Bush is almost 1.2 million more votes than Ronald Reagan won in 1984 and over 8 million more than Bill Clinton got in 1996.

Let's also bear in mind that the majority of the red states have small populations when compared to the blue states. So while the percentages were higher, the total numbers of votes in red states were significantly lower than those in blue states. Maps of the country, adjusted for population, give a very different perspective and show that, with the possible exceptions of Utah and Idaho, Americans are not generally being misled by George Bush regardless of their state of residence.

When the size of the states on the coast are blown-up to reflect population, the United States looks like a kindergartener's rendering of an American eagle about to take flight. Actually, the U.S. is not really all that red in color either. When controlling for swing areas, the country has much more of an overall bluish, purple cast.

Where is this purple eagle, this symbol of America, going? I don't know exactly, but I can tell you where it's not going. It's not going to proceed passively down George W. Bush's phony path of "moral values," with a paltry 21% of his base indicating that was the basis of their vote.

The vote against Bush in the 2004 Presidential election is a scathing indictment of his policies.

The half of the population of the world's only superpower who voted against Bush, including the men, women and children, (an unprecedented one million strong) who took to the streets of Washington, DC in the "March for Women's Lives" last Spring, are not going to stand idly by while Bush eradicates the right to choose safe and legal abortion.

Mommas, who have grown sick of needlessly sacrificing their children in Bush's imperial oil war, will continue to fight back with the furor of a mother grizzly protecting her cub, as the peace movement is invigorated by Bush's election victory.

Voices inside and outside the Republican Party, including those of Ron and Nancy Reagan, are growing ever-louder at the idiocy of protecting the rights of zygotes, but not those who could benefit from stem cell research to end diseases like Alzheimers and Parkinsons.

If it were to become a part of the U.S. Constitution, the proposed amendment banning gay marriage would disgrace our nation by limiting, rather than expanding, individual rights. Ultimately Americans will not stand for such an injustice. Only one other amendment has previously limited individual freedom - the failed attempt at Prohibition in the early part of the last century.

At the beginning of his term Bush announced, smirking proudly, that he was going to end asbestos damage lawsuits, limit medical malpractice suits, and ban class action lawsuits of all sorts. What he had not figured out is that Americans will not allow his tort reforms to prevail. We know that a society based upon the rule of law must allow "the little guy" to sue corporations and others who violate their rights; otherwise, the rule of law has no meaning, and renders us a lawless society.

There is scientific consensus and agreement from the business community to the Pentagon that we cannot continue to ignore the ever-increasing threat of global warming, while the Bush Administration profits from pillaging our forests and fouling our air and water.

The 84% of Americans who support the Endangered Species Act (ESA) are not going to stand idly by as Bush and his right-wing Congress gut the Act. Americans know that the ESA keeps us healthy by safeguarding the species we rely on for life-saving medicines to fight cancer and other life-threatening diseases. It protects undiscovered cures for diseases like HIV-AIDS. The ESA protects forests, the lungs of the earth, purifying our air. It protects wetlands, the kidneys of the earth, filtering our water. A strong Act is an early warning system - like the canary in the coal mine - identifying threats to human existence.

We know that Bush has begun to overreach because even the Republicans say that Bush's plan to revamp Social Security is dead on arrival.

If George has figured all Americans into his bogus "mandate" as he begins to govern in his second term, that phony cowboy is in for a real rough ride when the Americans who voted against him unite.

Hope springs infernal, because the mandate of the huge minority that voted against him is to use the democratic process to bring the fires of hell to bear upon Bush and his Congressional allies who think they have the green-light from God to take away Americans' rights and liberties.

Karyn Strickler is a writer and an activist living outside Washington, DC. You can reach her at

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