Many supporters of John Kerry are still in a state of disillusionment over the fact that more than fifty-nine million people voted to keep George W. Bush in the White House for a second term. This happened while the nation’s economy was struggling, the national debt was heading for eight trillion dollars, as gasoline prices hit record highs, and as the Bush Administration was being tagged with the labels of being in unison with war mongers and right-wing religious fundamentalists.
Bush’s performance during his first term brought less than spectacular results; furthermore, with the help of his closest supporters and advisors, George W. Bush fostered a larger rift amongst the electorate and our closest allies abroad. Yet despite the happenings of November 2, 2004, Kerry supporters can take some comfort via the hindsight that can be gained from reflecting upon one past Presidential election in particular:
2004 wasn’t the first time an incumbent President had run on a less than auspicious record, only to end up with another four-year term. One of the best examples of this occurred in a certain election year when the unemployment rate was 14.6%, more than twice the rate under Bush on November 2, 2004. The world was facing a multi-terrorist threat which was swallowing up two continents, though the vast majority of the citizens in the United States wished to not be involved in any foreign conflicts. The Commander-in-Chief of that time was being accused of wanting to team up with those nations who were opposing the terrorist states. These circumstances created a massive divide among the electorate in much the same way the Bush Administration’s policies over the war on terrorism have created since September 11, 2001. Additionally, this certain President’s social programs and war preparedness spending were driving up the national debt to heights never seen before. In essence, the prevailing issues at hand during that Presidential election year repeated themselves during our nation’s most recent campaign season.
Still, when it was time to make a decision on whether or not to keep the incumbent at that time, the verdict came down as follows: Franklin D. Roosevelt won the 1940 election by an even bigger margin than George W. Bush did over Senator John Kerry. FDR received close to 55% of the popular vote to Wendell Wilkie’s near 45%. Bush’s margin over Kerry in 2004 was only around 4%.
Legions of Kerry backers initially reacted to last year’s Presidential election results by threatening to expatriate, but a vast number of angry voters in 1940 must have entertained thoughts of heading to Canada or elsewhere after FDR secured his third term. Roosevelt had become a virtual dictator in the eyes of many Americans. This is congruent with those who think the same of our current President. What’s more, 1940 was a time that must’ve seemed just as, if not more, ominous than our present day. The Al Qaeda of 1940, in the guises of Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, and the Japanese Imperial Forces, were running roughshod over the land masses of Europe and Asia.
Contemplating America’s past will clearly illustrate that FDR, despite his Bush-like trait of polarizing the voters, was in fact, the right man to lead the United States into the 1940’s. Roosevelt’s policies would lead to total victory for the United States and its Allies in World War II. As difficult as it seems for many voters to muster in the present, history will show that George W. Bush, despite the mistakes of his administration, is the right choice for leading this nation until January 20, 2009.
Politics and history both seem to have an interesting way of working themselves out in due time, even when all that is visible in the present is a lot of uncertainty. George W. Bush, like FDR in 1940, is in tune with the threats we face as a country. The majority of voters in 2004, like 1940, casted their ballots for a legacy of continued national security rather than against cloudy appearances.