National Journal: Conventional wisdom holds that Kerry lost in 2004 because he was “Swift Boated” by Republican tricksters, and Gore’s aloofness was the main factor blamed for holding him back. In reality, they both lost because they abandoned President Clinton’s centrist coalition and ran well to the left of the electorate’s center. At a time of prosperity, Gore played the class-warfare card, advancing the “people versus the powerful” meme echoed in Obama’s current message. Kerry was ranked the most liberal senator in National Journal’s vote ratings, never distanced himself from the party base, and was hampered with his dovish foreign-policy views at a time of war.
Substance Trumps Style
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