As ever, Noam Chomsky has insightful comments on the 2004 election. My favorite passage is this one:
In 2000, “issue awareness” — knowledge of the stands of the candidate-producing organizations on issues — reached an all-time low. Currently available evidence suggests it may have been even lower in 2004. About 10% of voters said their choice would be based on the candidate’s “agendas/ideas/platforms/goals”; 6% for Bush voters, 13% for Kerry voters (Gallup). The rest would vote for what the industry calls “qualities” or “values,” which are the political counterpart to toothpaste ads. The most careful studies (PIPA) found that voters had little idea of the stand of the candidates on matters that concerned them. Bush voters tended to believe that he shared their beliefs, even though the Republican Party rejected them, often explicitly. Investigating the sources used in the studies, we find that the same was largely true of Kerry voters, unless we give highly sympathetic interpretations to vague statements that most voters had probably never heard.
As usual, Chomsky also calls for organization and sustained action. He is optmistic, because he sees more mobilization and awareness of issues now than he saw in the 1960s. Let’s hope he’s correct.