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Wed, April 24

This election a major turning point for us

President George W. Bush beat Ronald Reagan, scoring higher in the popular vote than the 40th president.

No one will be talking about a "minority" president this time, or about hanging chads, because this is the first election since 1988 when the winner of the presidential contest received a clear majority.

For conservatives, perhaps the sweetest result was the defeat of Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D, who has consistently thwarted legislation and court nominees he didn't like. By adding four Senate seats, Republicans have improved their chances of reforming Social Security, the indecipherable tax code and health care. The Bush administration may also have the opportunity to outperform Reagan (and Bush 41) by naming a number of solid conservatives to the Supreme Court, which would extend this president's influence for decades.

The Democrats lost more than the election. After spending record amounts of money, their numerous "527" groups, their rock stars, their media friends – particularly CBS News and The New York Times, both of which prostituted themselves for the Kerry-Edwards campaign – Democrats will have to rethink their embrace of the far-left wing of the party and find someone in the "moderate" mold of Bill Clinton.

Democrats also lost an important social issue – same-sex marriage. In 11 states where the issue was on the ballot, voters defeated it (even in liberal Oregon) by wide margins, again proving that when the people, and not the courts, get to decide these things, the people have a different view than un-elected federal judges. It appears many of the 4 million evangelical Christians who sat out the 2000 election turned out for this one and mostly voted for President Bush and against same-sex marriage.

Democrats should realize that the McGovern-Mondale-Dukakis-Kerry wing of the Democrat party cannot win. Will they finally wake up, or will they give in to temptation and nominate Hillary Clinton in 2008?

The brain trust at the White House, led by Karl Rove, has a right to celebrate, but they won't gloat, at least in public. This was one of those turning point elections. Now it's up to the president to turn things in order to make his points.

E-mail Cal Thomas at www.calthomas.com

(c) 2004 TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.

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