I'd honestly like to know why half of America voted for George W. Bush in 2000: what their reasoning was.
Please note right off the bat:
I'm not asking this in order to encourage mockery of, or lambaste, those people who voted for George W. Bush in 2000. Quite the contrary: I am actually asking this in order to try to fuel an attempt to get rid
of a mindset that does mock and lambaste them. (2004 was a different matter, as far as people's reasoning was concerned: the terrorist attack introduced the meme, appropriate or not, that Dubya was needed to continue to be tough on terror, that it was patriotic to vote for him, and so on. So that meme was there and can explain among other things the 2004 win.)
But in the 2000 election, patriotism while under attack was not a theme available to Dubya yet. Yet he got a huge part of the country. The precise vote count and the election controversy doesn't matter for this question: he convinced nearly (or over) half the country that he would be a good President.
My question is: why? Is there a way that this question can be modeled where that half of America doesn't come off as looking bad?
A few days ago, in order to write a comment
in a thread (that ended up being deleted), I ended up digging up via the Internet Archive an old web post I wrote the first weekend of December 2000
That made me realize this question was in my mind and had never been answered, and that it was really coloring my opinion of the people who live in this country with me towards the heavy negative. All that evidence was available before the election took place, if I was able to write that essay a few weeks after the election. Why didn't it count in the public eye? There's about ten to twelve good and even media-juicy stories, any one
of which you would think would have sunk his campaign. Why didn't it?
Since the 2000 election, so for eight years now, my answer has been one that paints an extremely nasty picture of HALF
of the country. "Those who voted for Bush in 2000 are fucking dumbasses who didn't bother to research their vote." Complete with the hostile anger implied by "fucking dumbasses."
I imagine some of you are going, "Yeah, that's exactly how I feel, they are dumbasses." But that's not what I want your answer to be! I don't want
this thread to be a pile-on for Bush voters. I don't want
to think that half of America are fucking dumbasses. I have walked around with anger and with cynicism, and while I'm not seeking to swing all the way over to the other pole of things ("Charrrrliiiiieee!
"), I am trying to get a better framework — free of preconceptions made angrily a long time ago — of parts of my worldview. I think the world is filled with a lot more kindness and nobility than I gave it credit for, and I think I need to start thinking better of the world in general.
So in order to do that, I want to figure this out. I want to know why people thought about it and decided to themselves that George W. Bush would be a good President, a better one than Al Gore would. And, moreover, why that decision was made with such evidence as to have that decision repeated in such massive
numbers that the 2000 election was so damn close. I don't want my explanation to be "nation of dumbasses" or "sheep led by media trends" or "neocon manipulation" or other cynical nastiness anymore, so I am trying to get a different perceptual framework of the event.
It doesn't necessarily mean that media trends or neocon manipulation wasn't
at play. But I just want to get a handle on why it would be a understandable
decision for half of America to make back in 2000.