Article from the Oct 2004 edition, Socialist Voice

John Kerry - "Bush-Lite"

WITH SUCH a popular mood of hatred for George Bush and his administration, you might expect that his Democratic opponent, John Kerry, would have no problem in trouncing him in the upcoming elections. However, his conservative, militaristic image is barely distinguishable from that of Bush, so voters haven't got much to whip up their enthusiasm.

By Daniel Waldron

Polls are showing that the candidates are neck-and-neck in the run up to the election. Events over the next weeks are likely to have a considerable impact on the outcome of the election.

The situation in Iraq is likely to be a deciding factor in the race for the Presidency. Over 1,000 American soldiers have already been killed in Iraq. This has caused concern among large layers of the American population, and now many relatives of the dead are openly calling for an immediate end to the occupation. This mood has hit Bush hard in the approval ratings, despite the fact that the corporate media has actively tried to keep body-bags out of the public eye. This is likely to create support for Kerry, who carefully criticised Bush's approach to the invasion, even though he supported it!

If the situation in Iraq continues to deteriorate and the American public sees an ongoing flow of casualties being brought home, this could have dire consequences for Bush. In the next period, we are likely to see an upsurge in terror attacks in the country, as the Iraqi resistance gathers momentum. Bush realises that Iraq will be central to the election, and that is why he is so desperate to create the illusion of real democracy and change in the country.

The state of the American economy is also likely to be a decisive factor for Bush and Kerry. After Bush's election in 2000, America went into a recessionary period, which saw the economy contract, with the loss of millions of manufacturing jobs as big business switched production to semi-colonial countries like Mexico, in order to decrease production costs and increase profits. Bush stood idly by while this happened, which caused huge discontent and a slump in his already wavering popularity.

Recently, we have seen a mild recovery and a slow growth in the economy. However, it has created few jobs and brought little confidence to the working and middle classes. In Michigan and Ohio, key "battleground" states, there have been particularly heavy job losses, and polls there currently put Kerry ahead by 7%.

However, Kerry's strategy in the campaign could backfire. He has attempted to outflank Bush on national security, which could turn large numbers of people away from supporting the Democratic candidate, essentially handing the election to Bush. This would then open the way for Bush to accelerate his attacks on personal freedoms in a second term.

Also, Kerry has said that he aims to restore "fiscal responsibility" by decreasing the huge national debt that Bush has built up during his four years in office. However, it is obvious that Kerry will try to achieve this by cutting social welfare and public services. This may cause a swing against Kerry as people fear that his Presidency could mean even greater erosion of real living standards than another term with Bush.

Whether it's Bush or Kerry that emerges victorious from the November elections, one thing is sure, it will still be the interests of big business that are represented in the White House for the next four years, and not the interests of the American working class.

US ELECTION: Bush v Kerry - a battle between warmongers



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