At the close of the American presidential election, both candidates – Bush & Kerry – appealed for the country to put aside their differences. The phrase “begin the healing” was bandied about, ironic since this was perhaps the most divisive and vicious campaign in recent history.
After the dust had settled, the voting results were stark. The Democrats were eliminated from all but a few Northern and Eastern states and the South, their one-time bastion was solidly Republican.
Post-election analysis has pinpointed arguably the most prominent cause of the Democrat exodus – the Republican focus on virtue. Aided by the newly resurgent ‘evangelical’ religious right (and it is unfair to tar all evangelical/religious individuals with this same brush) the Republicans were able to effectively turn the election into a choice between value systems. Your values vs. those of the Northern liberals – and we know they don’t believe in anything. It was remarkably successful. By turning it into an us vs. them scenario, the country was forced into two unwilling to compromise camps – as if the word negotiation was an anathema.
Interestingly enough, a backlash has started to develop. Note that this link contains a lot of swearing. Having read it, I find the author’s take interesting…but I don’t have corroborating evidence for his claims. In other words, read it with a grain of salt