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Presidential Historian Says Kerry’s Defeat Dealt Blow to Democratic Party

American University professor and presidential historian Allan Lichtman recently joined host Carol Castiel to discuss the results of Election 2004 on Press Conference USA. He says that President Bush’s victory at the polls was predictable long before Election Day for several reasons. He was the sitting president, he was uncontested within his own party, the economy was turning upward, and his Democratic opponent had run, in his words, anything but an inspiring campaign.

Allan Lichtman says Senator Kerry ran a conventional, consultant-driven campaign, and he failed to express a clear alternative vision to that of the President, who sees his historic mission as protecting the country from terrorism and fighting dangers to the United States worldwide.

Allan Lichtman says moral values played an important role in this election because issues such as abortion rights and gay and lesbian marriage motivate some people to support a candidate. Furthermore, he says that American politics today is no longer defined primarily by economic class, but is divided by race and religion. And the reason that the Republican Party got such a large turnout is because its core is made up of white churchgoers.

What Democrats need to do at this point, Allan Lichtman says, is to decide who they are and what they believe and to get rid of what he calls poll-driven politics, which do not inspire most voters. Allan Lichtman says Democrats cannot abandon liberalism, but they have to take the liberalism of Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson and redefine it for the 21st century and make it what he calls pre-eminently moral. One of their major problems is that the leadership of the Democratic Party has been almost entirely destroyed. Allan Lichtman suggests that the dominant figure in the Democratic Party over the next four years will be Hillary Clinton, the Senator from New York and former First Lady. He says that’s because she has a southern connection through her husband and she will not need to defeat an incumbent president.

For full audio and the program click on “Press Conference USA” icon on the right hand side.