Fear and loathing

It’s hard to avoid trying to rationalise the voting behaviour of the United States’ population. Whoever wins overall, it looks like Bush will take the popular vote, a thing otherwise inconceivable to most of the rest of the world and a good chunk of those living within the USA. No doubt the coming days will be filled with dissections of voting trends, discussions of whether Osama Bin Laden’s tacit endorsement of Bush helped him at all, and such things. But we’ll all be left groping for answers that aren’t easy to find.

The best I’ve been able to come up with so far is the analogy of a battered spouse. Many of those who voted for the monster in the White House acknowledge that he has misled them over Iraq, and realise that he is presiding over an ailing economy, but vote for him regardless. They return to him however much he hits them.

The other day, I posted a comment on Martin’s blog. I was going to rework it into something more coherent to include here, but I find I don’t really have the energy:

This country is a political mess beyond my fathoming. NPR ran interviews over the weekend with people who seemed to agree with Kerry on every policy, believed Bush had lied (and was wrong) about Iraq and yet were going to vote for him “because he acts on principle” and “because Kerry can’t be trusted”.

Calvin’s college newspaper ran a survey in which they found around 77% of student planning to vote for Bush. Even though a similar percentage thought that there should be tough new environmental laws, 44% thought that the US should stop favouring Israel over Palestine, and such…

It seems like people are going to vote for a Bush who they think lied to them because they can’t trust his opponent. And why can’t they trust Kerry: because Bush told them he isn’t trustworthy.

Welcome to America, please check logic at the door, it may be returned when you choose to flee.


  1. The best analogy I’ve heard was this one, from the Independent:

    ‘Bush’s political genius is in convincing the electorate that he is the man to sort out the mess he’s created. It’s similar to a gas man saying ‘Oops, looks like I’ve just blown up your house! You know the person to solve this – me!’