Meiers, Franz-Josef. (2004) Transatlantic Relations after the U.S. Elections: From Rift to Harmony?. ZEI Discussion Paper C140, 2004. [Discussion Paper]
Many outside the United States, Europeans in particular, reacted with “shock and awe” to the result of the presidential election of 2 November 2004. President Bush, whom an overwhelming majority never liked and many had grown to resent,2 was re-elected by a country that many observers thought they knew and understood. Values had trumped policies, as a God-fearing nation embraced the perceived morality of a Christian president in spite of misgivings about Iraq, unemployment, budget-deficits and even his competence. His consequential, controversial presidency will be extended by four more years, this time with a popular mandate: 59,5 million Americans (51 percent) voted for Bush, 56 million (48 per cent) for his Democratic challenger, Senator John F. Kerry. Bush´s straight-talking likeability, his perceived strong leadership in protecting the country against international terrorism, and his appeal to religious conservatives as defender of a traditional American moral values like the institution of marriage outweighed the appeal of what Americans acknowledged to be Kerry´s superior intellect.
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