2004 vs. 2008 elections
Apart from different candidates, the mood of America had shifted from 2004 to 2008.The media played a role in how the public viewed the topics at play. How the candidates communicated to the public also made these two election years starkly different from each other. In 2004, the Bush Jr. vs. Kerry campaign showcased different points of views that resonated deeply along party lines. Bush’s conservative view highlighted national security, a strong moral code, and less government in business. His “War on Terror” and the recent uplift in the economy struck a deep cord with other conservative (right-wing) voters. On the other hand, his opponent Kerry’s liberal view emphasized more government, opposition to the war in Iraq, and economic issues. Bush was successful in positioning himself as a decisive leader who responded swiftly to the attacks of September 2011. 1 He portrayed his opponent John Kerry as a “flip flopper” and one who was incapable of protecting the American people. Americans vote for the candidate that best represents their point of view. With that said, those who focused on terrorism and moral codes sided with Bush. In contrast to those who were concerned about the war in Iraq, and economic challenges such as jobs and health care sided with Kerry. 2 The strong feelings of polarization played a role in this election. As Edward Carmines and James Stimson demonstrated, the collapse of the racial issue into the traditional government activism issue set in motion a domino effect, mobilizing and pulling African American voters into the Democratic Party and, over time, moving conservative white Southerners into the Republican Party.14 The Democratic Party became more homogeneously liberal, and the Republican Party became more homogeneously conservative. Adding to the reasons for polarization are two important factors. First, the memories of the disputed 2000 election were still fresh. The incessant media coverage...
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