/_____-__ //
Sorry, your browser does not support inline SVG.

election terror attacks

19 May 2004 _ 01h34m45 EDT
related content: ,

~ we posted this set of questions in the forums at comic book resources [w]. we place it here, with a few changes, so our non-comic book collecting readers can ponder these possibilities:

What do y’all think the effect on the election will be when/if there is an incident of terrorism – minor or significant – in the united states within 2 or 3 weeks of the election?

I have heard many conservatives say that Spain was cowed by the terrorists, because they voted out the prime minister, Aznar, who had thrown in his lot with Bush’s agenda and replaced him with someone who had promised to pull the troops from Iraq. I find this to be unfair, for two reasons: first, that many in Spain did not see their troops in Iraq and the war on terrorism as the same issue, and second, fear of terror notwithstanding, a lot of the backlash against Aznar was due to the fact that his government publicly lied and tried to blame the Basque for the attack.

I am not too interested in a conversation about Spain’s election; I just bring it up as part of the context in which our election will be held. Although there are differences, it could be thought of as a test case. If there is an incident here in late October, there will clearly be some rallying around the status quo and fear of change (ie, support for Bush), just as there will be some folks who point out that Bush has not kept us safe after all (ie, support for Kerry), but what do you think will be the majority opinion? Will huge amounts of people change their votes? Will more people think that ‘Bush got us into this’/’We need help from the UN’ and move to Kerry? Will there be a repeat of the post-9/11-unquestioning-support of the Bush administration? As the war in Iraq goes poorly, Kerry does better, but at the end of the campaign, when the war is still going terribly, are people are going to think they need a ‘war president’? Will they keep Bush, even though he caused the problems, because of the belief that Kerry will be too weak to take over? Will the election be called off if there is a dirty bomb in port Newark? If the election is postponed indefinitely, will people sit tight and wait obediently, or will they riot in the streets? I guess the question is, if there is an attack, how much power will fear have over the voters’ decisions?

related content: ,

'john' responds:

i tend to be pessimistic (when held up to my own social plan) about what your scenario would evoke to our own public. i put little faith in the voting public of the us this fall. i think that the movements of bush following the terrorist attacks in 2001 did not appeal to the entirety of the broad splash of folks who rallied their patriotism out of hiding. the people that were convinced that afghanistan was the appropriate track were those that most likely already had bigotry and animosity flowing in their veins (jocks). it seems to me that another pre-election attack (which i believe is inevitable, unfortunately), would not alter the landscape of opinion too dramatically because the sentiments, either for policy or action, are still all too strong from 2001. however, i am curious whether the yahoos who supported afghanistan immediately after the attacks are still on board with the administration through the iraq fiasco. those who fail to tie iraq into their scheme of vengeance may be the ones to be swayed. i have not heard very much attention at all paid to terrorism from jkerry and that worries me somewhat. although i dont think gwb is handling it properly, i do want to believe that our next president will at least have some approach to creating a planet devoid of religion.

public response: