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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 November, 2004, 14:24 GMT
Blogging the US election - XII
Kevin Anderson
Kevin Anderson in Washington adds to his weblog as the US gets to grips with the results of its presidential and congressional elections.

3 November

WASHINGTON, DC :: 2352 GMT

Could the Guardian and its Operation Clark County be responsible for a second Bush term?

That was one topics round the water cooler today, and it seems we're not the first to think of it.

Just dipping into the Guardian's blog, someone has written in: "Just wanted to thank the Guardian for helping deliver Ohio to Bush. Cheers!"

For those of you who aren't familiar with Operation Clark County, it was a project launched by the left-leaning Guardian newspaper in the UK.

The well-meaning but not well received project attempted to link political pen pals in Britain with residents of Clark County, Ohio.

The letters were meant to allow Guardian readers to let Americans know how important their election was for the rest of the world.

Well, a fair number of Americans, even ones who weren't particularly fond of George W Bush, found the whole project condescending at best and mostly an unwanted, unwarranted foreign attempt to influence a US election.

Republican friends fumed and Democratic friends groaned.

Most of the responses I can't include in this family-friendly blog.

But one Clark County resident with a sense of restraint wrote: "Mind your own business. We don't need weenie-spined Limeys meddling in our presidential election."

The results in Clark County? Al Gore won the county by 1% in 2000. John Kerry lost the county by 2%, just shy of 2,000 votes, this time.

Actually, the Republican campaign ran a stealth campaign to get out the vote in rural counties that overwhelmingly supported President Bush.

They hoped to net 150,000 votes. George Bush won the state by 136,483 votes.

It was probably down to this stealth get-out-the-vote campaign, but Republican leaders said the Guardian project helped fire up their base, especially in Clark County.

Ouch. Maybe American grief counsellors can donate their time to comfort inconsolable Guardian readers.

WASHINGTON, DC :: 2242 GMT

What a long rollercoaster of a night! At least it was only a long couple of days, instead of the 36-day marathon we had four years ago.

On Tuesday evening, when I was walking into work to begin a long night shift, there was a Democrat giddily checking exit poll results on his Blackberry - a wireless e-mail device that everyone who is anyone has here in Washington.

There were reports that Democrats were placing bets on who would be John Kerry's chief of staff and discussing redecorating ideas for the White House.

Hold your horses and step away from the reins of power!

The Dems seemed pretty happy when New Jersey and Pennsylvania went solidly Kerry's way.

It seemed like a sign of things to come, and Bush staffers were gutted.

But New Jersey and Pennsylvania were the only good news the Dems would have all night as the nation ran red - the colour used to show states in Bush's column.

And, as BBC election guru John Shields pointed out, Tuesday's result showed the conventional wisdom is often just flat wrong.

  1. Record turnout was supposed to be a good thing for John Kerry. No.
  2. The youth vote was supposed to turn out for once, and turn the tide for Kerry. No. They seemed just as apathetic or alienated as always.
  3. The Washington Redskins lost. Since 1936 when the capital's football team lost their last home game before the election, the party in the White House also lost. No, the Redskins just suck this year. They've got a 2-5 record.

So, Dems out there? How are you feeling?

One Democratic friend of mine had a drinking game while watching the results. One shot for each state called for John Kerry. Two shots for each state called for George Bush.

"If Kerry wins, I'll just be happy. If Bush wins, I'll be too drunk to care," he said.

I'd better call him to check he's not suffering from alcohol poisoning.

So, Republicans out there? What's the mood out there in the Red States?


Your comments:

I watched the election from abroad, from Geneva, Switzerland. I agree, that the Guardian's move was not wise, whereby I disagree entirely with the simian "Europe should shut up" attitude of the Bushites. The USA has willy-nilly turned itself into a world power, so what happens there affects everyone. I don't only mean foreign policy. May I remind readers that the 1929 Wall Street crash brought about a world economic depression? Right now, Bush's neo-conservative agenda of total privatization, corporate laissez-faire and unilateral foreign policy is bound for the trash heap of history, most agree, but on the way there it will affect many nations. We're in for a very difficult time. I give it about eight years. If the Democrats continue to cultivate fiscal responsibility and multilateral diplomacy and do not cave in to the neo-con snake oil, they will have an excellent chance to win a landslide election in 2012, I predict. If there are still elections in the USA, that is. I am beginning to have my doubts.
Marton, Munich, Germany

It seems the old corollary about the US "heartland" being called so because its where the collective US brain isn't, still rings true. All one has to do is look at the Electoral map of the election.
James, Santa Barbara, CA USA

Voting for Kerry would have been akin to signing a blank check(cheque). No one in the USA, including Kerry, knew what his policies would have been had he got in. In the end, Americans including this ex Brit, put their trust in man who they knew was genuine and for all his power, humble. He got the highest number of votes of any president, even surpassing Ronald Reagan. When he came to Phoenix earlier this year he turned up at a little Mexican restaurant for dinner.
Geoffrey Alcock, Glendale, Arizona, U.S.A.

I am depressed by this result. I would go so far as to say it scares me. The impact on civil rights will be profound. I feel less safe now than I have since when the 'cold War ' was at its height. When I speak to young people, I am ashamed of the condition of the world, and ashamed of the lack of alternatives to war.
Carole Singleton, Shoburyness, Essex, UK

I don't know about the red states, but I think I may be the only Republican-leaning person in this city. Went out tonight with a group of friends and acquaintances (ages 22-26) who were solidly Kerry, and have never been so harassed or seen such ignorance. They actually tried to convince people to pour beer on my head. On the flip side, some of my best friends in DC have a bit more job security now, so they are ecstatic and have been partying all day long.
Marie, Philadelphia, PA

It's time for reform. Democrats have been intimidated by Republicans for twenty years. No candidate was more scared to speak his own mind than John Kerry. The results speak for themselves. Democrats would do better with Oback Barama or Howard Dean.
Tim Grant, Phoenix, USA

So you are asking how Democrats are feeling. Well, we are devastated out here in CA. I work at a university and I have never seen such sombre faces among students, professors, and staffers. Everyone was moving around like zombies. Also many started drinking heavily when he got Florida, so many have a hangover to add to the misery.
Paula, San Diego, CA

I'm hopefully nervous about the next 4 years with Bush at the helm - hopeful that Bush has learned from his endeavours in the Middle East, and nervous that he has not. As a college student, I fear that war and violence will continue to elevate due to his unfaltering, careless foreign policy and he will reinstate the military draft. I will be forced to fight for a man who I do not support and a war that I do not support. But here's to being optimistic . . . (gulp).
Jonathan Cable, Bloomington, IL , USA

It's not the end of the world of course. It is the beginning of a whole new world, one in which the US of A, my beloved country is the "bad guy". In four more years the neo-cons will have flown our country into the ground and it will take us, as it took the Germans, a generation to recover.
John Francis Lee, Corpus Christi TX, USA




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