Story of the 2004 Presidential Campaign between incumbent President GW Bush and Democratic challenger John F. Kerry which, in the opinion of many political observers, Kerry and the Democratic Party let slip right through their fingers and ended up on the losing end of the vote.
The film follows John Kerry's winning the Democratic Party's nomination for President in Boston in July to his self destruction over the next four months when he blew a double digit lead in the polls against President Bush to end up losing in the November elections by 50.7 % to 48.3 % of the popular vote! Thus legitimizing Bush's 2000 victory in which he won the electoral but lost the popular vote to his Democratic Party opponent for president Al Gore.
Despite Kerry's outstanding, to Bush's non-existent, military record in Vietnam the Republican strategists, headed by Karl Rove, actually used it against him in falsifying it by claiming that all his medals were somehow fraudulent especially Kerry's three Purple Hearts! Kerry reacted to these false charges by mostly ignoring them which lead many voters to feel that they were actually true which they weren't!
This "swift boat" smear campaign by the Republicans had Kerry going on the defensive for the remainder of the Presidential Campaign as his lead in the polls evaporated together with his claims of being a genuine war hero! John Kerry who was a hero in Vietnam now turned out to be a first class wimp, by letting Bush & the Republicans step all over him, when running for the highest office in the land.
On Election Day 2004 it looked like Kerry was going to pull it out and win the Presidency for the Democratic Party with him, for once, leading in a number of key states that he needed to win the White House. The most crucial state being the Buckeye state of Ohio with its 20 electoral votes. It was also Ohio that the Republicans targeted with a massive get out the vote campaign which the Democrats failed to match. The Republicans-who politically controlled the state- also bottled up a number of key Democratic precincts, with disruptive poll watchers and a lack of voting machines. As it turned out the final results in Ohio mirrored the elections total 50 state results with Bush besting Kerry, after being behind in the early voting by as much as 28%, 50.7% to 48.3%.
What the film "So Goes the Nation" made crystal clear is how the Democrats blew an election that they were sure to win by smugly trying to take the high road in winning it. Politics is a dirty business and to win in it you've got to pull out all stops in pounding your opponent into submission just short of ending up, like Richard M. Nixon, breaking the law.
The Republican strategy was to attack Kerry's strong points like his service in Vietnam and have him defend it as if it was detrimental not positive in him getting elected president. The Kerry people let Bush off the hook in defending their candidate's brilliant war record while Bush who did everything to avoid serving in the war ended up getting a free ride.
These attacks on Kerry had the public, especially in Ohio, overlook the downturn in the economy and the disastrous Iraqi War which if brought out by Kerry and the Democratic Party would have easily given Kerry the Presidency! In the end the clueless, in how to win a Presidential Election, Democratic Party proved that famous saying "Good Guys Finish last" which they by trying to be goody two shoes, and letting themselves get kicked all over the place, totally turned the American public against them! All these political miscalculations by Kerry and the Democratic Party had GW Bush voted in for a second term by the majority of the American voters which in retrospect turned out to be against, for most of those who voted for him, their best interest!
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