Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Both Big Parties Solidify Swiftly ; with Both Presidential Tickets Complete and the Conventions Nearing, Motivation Is High

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Both Big Parties Solidify Swiftly ; with Both Presidential Tickets Complete and the Conventions Nearing, Motivation Is High

Article excerpt

It's just two weeks until the opening of the Democratic National Convention in Boston - but both the big parties that vie for control of America may already be unified and motivated to an unprecedented degree.

Sen. John Kerry's selection of Sen. John Edwards as his running mate might have been the last piece of this particular political puzzle. It fired up some Democrats who'd been lukewarm about Kerry's candidacy, driving party cohesiveness poll numbers up toward the already higher GOP ratings.

With the partisan bases perhaps solidified, swing voters now apparently represent a smaller segment of the electorate than they did at the same time four years ago. The bottom line: Through November, game-ready Democrats and Republicans could be scrapping for small gains with more intensity than ever.

Whose campaign approach will lure the independents? "That's the $64,000 question," says Dennis Goldford, director of the Program in Law, Politics, and Society at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

The focus and passion the parties are bringing to this year's election can be seen in the nature of current campaigning.

In past cycles July is often a time for candidate introduction, via television or print ads that stress biography or record in office. Those are running this year, too - particularly Democratic ones. Kerry strategists think the Vietnam-vet candidate has a compelling life story that should win him fence-sitter votes.

But to an unusual degree Democrats and Republicans have already joined in partisan combat on core issues.

Thus last week the GOP released an ad criticizing Senator Kerry for voting against a bill that makes it a separate offense to injure the fetus of a pregnant woman in the course of committing a federal crime.

Democrats hit the Bush administration for manipulating intelligence prior to the invasion of Iraq. On Saturday, President Bush used his weekly radio address to push a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

Neither side is ceding an inch to the other in the struggle to convince voters that they see the world through a framework of values that most Americans share.

"If voters don't think a candidate shares their values, they won't listen to them about other issues," says Merle Black, a professor of politics at Emory University in Atlanta.

To a certain extent it's early Democratic and Republican unity that has made this summer's October-intense politics possible.

Republicans remain enthusiastic about President Bush. That's often - but not always - the case with incumbent chief executives.

In a recent CBS News/New York Times poll, 82 percent of respondents who identified themselves as Republicans said that George W. Bush has the same priorities that they do.

In the same survey, 84 percent of Republicans said they trusted Bush to deal wisely with international problems. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.