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The Great Divide
The New Media Myth

The Cynic

Several columns and news pieces, from both the left and the right, have been dedicated to the 'great divide' that this election somehow proves. They show us the red and blue map, and point to you that Bush won this cross section and Gore won this one, and with various numbers and data try to prove to you that we are this close to territorial war or some other alarmist nonsense. It's what happens when the media has too much free time between outbreaks of new chad stories.

I have heard arguments saying that Gore received the "kiddie porn buyers type votes" and Bush receiving the "gun loving Klan type votes," and quite frankly, this is telling me that this election needs to achieve closure and quick. This sicko portion of the population is going to vote for somebody, and who they end up voting for has no bearing on the quality of the candidate.

Once again, the media is trying to find deep spiritual meaning in nothing. Of course, Gore won the big urban areas and Bush won the rural areas. Although they treat as some kind of new phenomena, it is not. This is the typical GOP and Democrat split. There is no deep meaning in this, every Presidential election shows the same type of divide. It is the split on where the base of the parties reside. African Americans, Jewish voters, and the artsy types live predominately in large cities. Farmers, church goers and family values types live in rural areas. Suburbia is the key to Presidential elections. It's always been the key. There is no news here, nothing to see, please move along.

Regardless of what goes on in Washington or the Internet chat rooms, we are not a partisan nation. The population is about one-third conservative, one-third liberal and one-third mushy middle, with very few of us identifying exclusively to one party. Each party has it's base and they will turn out in numbers for the party. The mushy third decides the election. It's been this way for years, the only difference in this election is that the middles in Suburbia spilt, you guessed it, down the middle.

Presidential elections are no longer about ideology, no matter how much we wish they were. Elections are about candidates, and this one featured two particularly weak ones. If this election was between Ronald Reagan vs. Al Gore, Reagan would win in a landslide. If this election was between a pre-scandal Clinton vs. George W. Bush, Clinton would win hands down (post scandal Clinton is debatable).  

Without a national crisis on our hands, Americans were asked to vote in a popularity contest. For as many nonpartisan voters that were charmed by George Bush's folksiness, an equal number were turned off by his command (or lack of it) of the English language. For those who appreciated Al Gore's 27 years of governmental experience, they were offset by those who didn't want a President who talked down to them.

There isn't a new divide among this country, there is an old one. This election wasn't about the conservative rurals vs. the liberal city folks. It was about the suburban families trying to decide for change or status quo. Seems we are still waiting for them to make up their minds.

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© The Cynic, 2000


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View expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Political USA.

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