So, it looks very likely that Bush has won, all down to Ohio today. It was 2000 all over again, Democrat win seemed likely early on, then one by one states reporting with no change. I went to sleep at 2:30am and was feeling dimly optimistic, by 6:30 when I woke the writing was on the wall. I do believe in democracy and so, as Bush has won the public vote, he should be the President. The increased turn out at least might see a long term lift in the numbers of people participating in politics, which can only be for the better.
Lucy and I chatted about the outcome this morning and some things we came up with were, as follows
On the plus side, Bush now has to sort out Afghanistan and the mess in Iraq. Also within the next four years, something will have to happen with the prisoners in Guantanimo, at least you'd hope so.
There is also the question of the enormous debt he has run up, by offering tax cuts and fighting expensive wars. The faltering US economy is a key issue for him to address, more of the same will ruin the US, health care provision was a strong issue in the election and perhaps he'll come under pressure to address this. On that note, the huge debt means massive foreign capital is needed to fund it, this means a likely medium term discounted dollar, so the dollar looks set long term to fall 30 percent, so cheaper Canon cameras and Powerbooks...
A Hillary Clinton win is looking likely in 2008, she is a charismatic Senator and if she stood, might well do better than any future Republican candidate, certainly she'd not need to establish a reputation with the American people.
Finally it seems more likely that Europe will unite to respond to a second Bush term, which might lead to a ratified constitution and a stronger future for a coherent Europe.
On the other hand, it is likely to lead to a more insular US, focusing on scaring the life out of its inhabitants and securing its borders, by fighting wars "over there". I think the Artic and Alaskan wilderness is screwed, the climate with Cheney in charge is likely to be more ruined. Kyoto looks like a distant hope now, even with Russia looking likely to ratify it.
Movements to build a collaborative democratic set of world institutions like the International Criminal Court and a revitalised United Nations will have to take a back seat, as Bush is unlikely to want to engage.
A more faith based conservative right in charge will darkens the outlook for gay rights, abortion, immigration. Virtually all the states voted against gay marriage for example.
I'd along with many others like to see a US which will stop wanting to "lead" the world and sit down and collaborate with the rest of the world. All this talk of the world superpower only feeds into this sense of the USA as an aloof different entity. I'm not sure what it will take to make them realise that working with others is better than going it alone. The damage Bush has pent up in the national debt he has largely amassed might change things, he needs other countries money.
Moving more locally, in the UK, it seems likely a third Labour term will happen, a result the other way might have put some pressure on Tony Blair, however it means the party will still have Bush on the Oval office reminding the Labour rebels about the war and making Tony continue to seem George's pet, though that might change in a second term. Some further analysis from BBC News