Swopa of Needlenose makes an interesting observation:
3. Apparently, Karl Rove's strategy worked, and Republicans overwhelmed doubts about both Iraq and the economy by bringing out "values" voters to support initiatives banning gay marriage in Ohio, Florida, and other states. But that's a beast that requires constant feeding in future elections -- and from observing California politics for a decade or two, I've seen this strategy backfire.
In two years, they'll have to come up with some other "values" bait -- say, banning homosexual teachers -- and again and again each election. But eventually they'll cross a line that causes independents to turn on them decisively, as happened in California after one too many anti-immigration initiatives intended to fire up the reactionary vote.
The tie between the Republican party and the religious right has been there since at least Reagan's election in 1980. But with the 2004 election it can be said without doubt that the religious right is the only thing keeping the Republican party alive (would Bush have won were it not for the turnout amongst the faith-based voters?) Rove and Bush have firmly tied the fate of their party to the whims of the most extreme elements of their party and, if Swopa is right (and I believe he is), some day in the future the GOP will wake up an realize they are tied inextricably to one mother-f*cking huge anchor.
Not only did Kerry win by an 86-13 margin among self-described liberals, he also won by a 55-45 margin among self-described moderates. So how'd Bush pull it off? He won 84-15 among self-described conservatives, and, more importantly, he made sure conservatives comprised a much bigger chunk of the electorate than they did in 2000. (Conservatives comprised about 34 percent of the electorate yesterday, versus 29 percent in 2000 -- a huge shift, raw numbers-wise.) Anyone anticipating a conciliatory second Bush term should stop and consider how much Bush owes his base.
There you have it. Without the "fuck-the-fags" vote Bush would be sunk today. It's as simple as that.