Bush victory highlights division, ‘two Americas’

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) may have maintained an optimistic tone in his Nov. 3 concession speech, but the feelings permeating through many of the nation’s “blue” zones — including UCSD — were disaffection and abject defeat.

Voters at UCSD polling places favored Kerry over President George W. Bush by a margin of 76 percent to 23 percent, according to Guardian exit polling. Statewide, voters at UC polling places chose similarly, with 82 percent of UC-placed votes going to Kerry. Elsewhere in the nation, support for Kerry in such metropolitan cities as Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia was in the neighborhood of 80 percent.

Much has been said about the polarization of the nation; what is most amazing though is not the fact that the country is so divided along party lines and key issues, but the incredible degree of political conviction that specific populations exhibit. It is quite apparent that we at UC campuses — and others, especially those who are nonwhite, under 30 years old or make less than $30,000 per year — are largely out of step with much of the country. Or that much of the country is out of step with us.

Granted, Bush won on a variety of issues with anything but a homogenous electorate. Nonetheless, the election lends a new level of credence to Sen. John Edwards’ (D-N.C.) notion of “two Americas,” a national landscape created by a president whose hard-line conservative national agenda has exacerbated economic, social and partisan rifts.

This term, Bush must work with moderates and liberals to prevent these divisions from becoming irreparable. Equally important, liberals must reevaluate the Democratic Party to determine exactly why its values are shared by so many in some places, but so few in others.