June 6, 2023

2004 Election – George W. Bush vs. Kerry

Despite a struggling economy, the September 11th terrorist attack, and a mishandled and misguided war in Iraq, President George W. Bush succeeded where his father failed. Through amassing over 50% of the popular vote he won reelection. 

With foreign policy serving as the dominant theme during the campaign, Senator John Kerry from Massachusetts, a Vietnam War vet with three Purple Heart medals, a Silver Star medal, and a Bronze Star medal, appeared to be the likely anecdote for the hapless Democratic Party. Unfortunately, three months before the election a group known as the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, laid out a string of uncorroborated allegations in an attempt to discredit the Senators decorated military record. The term “swift boating” would later become a pejorative in political circles meaning an unfair or untrue attack ad.  For the Democrats though the damage was done. Despite the anger that was brewing on the left side of the political aisle, Kerry was never able to generate the passion needed around his campaign to supplant the incumbent, and was even overshadowed during his own Democratic National Convention by a young charismatic senator from Illinois who four years later would go on to become president.