The House, the Senate, the Electoral College, and the popular vote. Every Democrat (not counting the ones holding out vain hope in Ohio) has got to be in complete shock today. George W. Bush is coming off one of the worst terms in US history and Kerry couldn't even top Al Gore. This election should have been a slam dunk for the Democrats. So what went wrong? Two things:
1. John Kerry was an absolute failure as a candidate. I'm talking Michael Dukakis failure here. Maybe even a larger failure given how wineable this election should have been. In short, Kerry had no charisma and no conviction. No substance. They thought his war record mattered, not realizing the days when people cared about that are long gone. Look no farther than Bill Clinton and George W, who have now won 4 elections despite no overseas military service. They voted in Kerry on the strength of a few hypothetical polls which had him 2 or 3 points ahead of other Democratic contenders last January, not realizing that no one in the public knew any of the candidates and that public opinion would be shaped in the campaign. Laugh if you want, but Howard Dean would have won hands down. He would have made the war the issue of the campaign and stuck to his convictions. And over 17% of young people would have voted. Don't like Dean? Fine. Take your pick of candidates - Kerry was the absolute worst choice the Democrats could have made. The moral of the story? Don't vote pick a leader because he's "electable" if there's no substance behind that electability.
2. The United States is a ferociously conservative country. We saw that in the results of the Senate and the House. We saw that as gay marriage bans were voted in state after state. Just as Canada is a liberal country, the United States is an extremely conservative one.
The Dems have several bright stars who could make the 2008 ticket very appealing. But right now, they have got to be in complete shock. I can almost sympathize with the Conservatives in Alberta who were completely stunned after the last election.