Does Bush win 2004?

  • Yes, in a landslide

    Votes: 39 66.1%
  • Yes, more than otl

    Votes: 7 11.9%
  • Yes, similar margin to otl

    Votes: 5 8.5%
  • No, close election

    Votes: 5 8.5%
  • No, loses in a landslide

    Votes: 3 5.1%

  • Total voters
    59
As the title says, what if 9/11 happened 3 years later and happened either exactly on September 11th in 2004, or some other time in 2004 before the election. Let's assume this 9/11 goes very similarly to OTL's 9/11. How is the election affected? How does culture change? How are those 3 years affected without 9/11? Is Kerry still the nominee? Does Bush gain a similar boost as he did IOTL? Is he re-elected? Is he blamed? Does he lose in landslide? Does the great recession still happen? Does it happen earlier or later if it happens?

Also, I know it's probably on the verge of ASB for 9/11 to happen 3 years later, but I'm curious what happens. If ASB feel free to move this to ASB.
 
Depends on whether or not My Pet Goat still happens - that's going to kill Dubya's approval rating.

I mean it didn't IOTL. Bush did a lot of bad stuff like the Iraq War obviously, but I never understood why people criticized him for that. He was in front of the media and as President he needed to project calm, plus he had not yet been briefed on the attacks and could not responsibly comment. He finished what he was doing, stayed a few minutes to keep people calm, and then went to work handling it. That seems like the best way he could have handled it. I can't think of a better thing for him to have done.
 
I mean it didn't IOTL. Bush did a lot of bad stuff like the Iraq War obviously, but I never understood why people criticized him for that. He was in front of the media and as President he needed to project calm, plus he had not yet been briefed on the attacks and could not responsibly comment. He finished what he was doing, stayed a few minutes to keep people calm, and then went to work handling it. That seems like the best way he could have handled it. I can't think of a better thing for him to have done.
Honestly this is the first I'm hearing of this criticism. Then again I was two years old during 9/11.

Based on what I remember from what my parent's told me about the Bush era, the nation seemed pretty united, at least initially around the President during the Crisis. His popularity went up. He'd easily win in a landslide if the attacks occurred in 2004.
 
Honestly this is the first I'm hearing of this criticism. Then again I was two years old during 9/11.

Based on what I remember from what my parent's told me about the Bush era, the nation seemed pretty united, at least initially around the President during the Crisis. His popularity went up. He'd easily win in a landslide if the attacks occurred in 2004.

Michael Moore is the one who made that criticism into a thing. It's stupid.

Big time. Even if he just hadn't invaded Iraq, he would have won by ten points.
 
Michael Moore is the one who made that criticism into a thing. It's stupid.

Big time. Even if he just hadn't invaded Iraq, he would have won by ten points.
Thats the big thing imo. I don't know if the us still enters it or not. And I'm also wondering if not, then do we just enter it later?
Based on what my parents and other family told me about that election in 2004, it seemed like Kerry was a pretty weak candidate. Was this true?
I was 2 but my family and friends who were of voting age at the time say the same thing. Democrat, Republican, they all agree Kerry was boring and weak.
 
I was 2 but my family and friends who were of voting age at the time say the same thing. Democrat, Republican, they all agree Kerry was boring and weak.
First off I'd like to say hello fellow Zoomer.

Do you think the Democrats could run someone else more challenging to Bush than Kerry? Would Kerry even seek the nomination in 2004 if 9/11 occurs? I wonder how this would affect the general campaign season.
 
First off I'd like to say hello fellow Zoomer.

Do you think the Democrats could run someone else more challenging to Bush than Kerry? Would Kerry even seek the nomination in 2004 if 9/11 occurs? I wonder how this would affect the general campaign season.
Interesting thought. I don't know why but I think Kerry still gets it. Maybe Gore tries again, but I don't see someone like Hillary getting it that early. Idk. I'm not that well researched in the 2004 democratic primary. I'm just assuming Kerry still gets it. Maybe Edwards does better? But there's still the whole affair thing that could come out. Don't know when it did OTL but its possible.
 
Based on what my parents and other family told me about that election in 2004, it seemed like Kerry was a pretty weak candidate. Was this true?

To be clear, I'm a zoomer too, but I've researched this time period pretty extensively and from what I can see he was. He made a ton of unforced gaffes and errors (the "I was for that before I was against it" being the worst) and totally failed to rebut the Bush campaign's attacks on him. Plus he was pretty much a charisma vacuum.

Thats the big thing imo. I don't know if the us still enters it or not. And I'm also wondering if not, then do we just enter it later?

I was 2 but my family and friends who were of voting age at the time say the same thing. Democrat, Republican, they all agree Kerry was boring and weak.

Nah. Without 9/11, the casus belli isn't there and Bush can't rally support behind it.

My opinion has always been that without the Iraq Invasion, we would have ended up invading Libya. OIF scared the piss out of Qadaffi and made him decide to give up his nuclear weapons program and chemical weapons. Without that, he keeps them and at a certain point ends up in conflict with the West. That guy was too crazy to have those kinds of weapons within striking distance of Europe.

That's still a better outcome than Iraq, though. The casus belli would be legitimate since he actually had WMDs, and the country was much smaller in population than Iraq and 100% Sunni, so it wouldn't have turned into the sectarian clusterfuck that Iraq did. I think there's a good chance an Operation Libyan Freedom could have turned it into OTL Tunisia if there was an organized occupation and rebuilding instead of the civil war and warlords of OTL.
 
It’s not as easy as everyone is making it out to be.

Bush would be struggling a fair bit as he won his Electoral College and lost the popular vote, especially via a court case regarding vote counting being why he won. A delayed 9/11 means earlier scandals, like Enron and so on, come to be the prominent discussion in the forefront and be a defining factor for the time and his presidency.

Come 2004, it’s not looking too good. His tax cuts wouldn’t help the economy and likely be making it worse, the Enron scandal might taint him and it would overall look not too good for him.

Not sure who the Dems would run against him, but it’d have to be on the economy and so on. Gore I’m skeptical, but maybe. Clinton I don’t see and the others I don’t think so.

Polls said economy and healthcare were the big thing in OTL, so going with that, Howard Dean would make a good dark horse candidate and his support for healthcare would give him an edge. Granted, in OTL, he didn’t fare as good compared to the others, but that doesn’t mean it’d happen like OTL. Kerry may not run, all depends.

Then comes 9/11/2004

There is one big difference and that’s Bush in office. Unlike OTL, where he just became president, here, he’s been one for most of it.
That means that with the negative reputation he got, there’s a possibility he could be partially blamed via negligence.

Like, how the hell did they not see it coming? That’d be the question on everyone’s minds at some point when the shock wears off.

It’d all depend if they could trust him to go after Al-Queda and reassure the nation. Honestly, would also depend on Howard Dean and he chose for VP.

I could see Bush getting a large temporary boost, but when the patriotism panic wears off and people begin thinking, it’s gonna begins the backlash. Combined with the Iraq War happening years later and then in top of the Great Recession, it’s gonna be a clusterfuck for the GOP.

I don’t know how well it’d go for Howard Dean, though it would depend on who he would have for VP and his own response. Perhaps Kerry could be his VP and could remained focused on what needs to be done. I don’t think he’d drop out of the race though. They’d have to be tactful too.
 
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It’s not as easy as everyone is making it out to be.

Bush would be struggling a fair bit as he won his Electoral College and most popular vote, especially via a court case regarding vote counting. A delayed 9/11 means earlier scandals, like Enron and so on, come to be the prominent discussion in the forefront and be a defining factor for the time.

Come 2004, it’s not looking too good. His tax cuts wouldn’t help the economy and likely be making it worse, the Enron scandal might taint him and it would overall look not too good for him.

Not sure who the Dems would run against him, but it’d have to be on the economy and so on. Gore I’m skeptical, but maybe. Clinton I don’t see and the others I don’t think so.

Polls said economy and healthcare were the big thing in OTL, so going with that, Howard Dean would make a good dark horse candidate and his support for healthcare would give him an edge.

Then comes 9/11/2004

There is one big difference and that’s Bush in office. Unlike OTL, where he just became president, here, he’s been one for most of it.
That means that with the negative reputation he got, there’s a possibility he could be partially blamed via negligence.

Like, how the hell did they not see it coming? That’d be the question on everyone’s minds at some point when the shock wears off.

It’d all depend if they could trust him to go after Al-Queda and reassure the nation. Honestly, would also depend on Howard Dean and he chose for VP.

I could see Bush getting a large temporary boost, but when the patriotism panic wears off and people begin thinking, it’s gonna begins the backlash. Combined with the Iraq War happening years later and then in top of the Great Recession, it’s gonna be a clusterfuck for the GOP.

I don’t know how well it’d go for Howard Dean, though it would depend on who he would have for VP and his own response. Perhaps Kerry could be his VP and could remained focused on what needs to be done. I don’t think he’d drop out of the race though. They’d have to be tactful too.

Any discussion of anything other than 9/11 is going to be wiped out by thousands of people dying in the terrorist attacks. With the election less than a month after, that will be THE ONLY issue anyone cares about.

They'll trust him. Nobody held not knowing against him IOTL, and his approval ratings went to 90%. Even there being no WMDs in Iraq didn't prevent him from winning in 2004 IOTL. Bush's high-testosterone, cowboy image resonated with people and made them trust him more than the Democrats on security, what happened in our time is proof enough of that. Don't get me wrong, I really wish Al Gore had won. But terrorist attacks are gonna do nothing but benefit Bush's poll numbers.
 
Any discussion of anything other than 9/11 is going to be wiped out by thousands of people dying in the terrorist attacks. With the election less than a month after, that will be THE ONLY issue anyone cares about.

They'll trust him. Nobody held not knowing against him IOTL, and his approval ratings went to 90%. Even there being no WMDs in Iraq didn't prevent him from winning in 2004 IOTL. Bush's high-testosterone, cowboy image resonated with people and made them trust him more than the Democrats on security, what happened in our time is proof enough of that. Don't get me wrong, I really wish Al Gore had won. But terrorist attacks are gonna do nothing but benefit Bush's poll numbers.
Because IOTL only had him be president for less than a year. People really didn’t know him for much outside of the tax cuts and being the son of a former president. Easier to portray that image and build off of it as a first impression.

3 years changes that considerably, especially with whatever actions he takes beyond tax cuts and other matters.

He’d be viewed as more responsible for it, especially if we still have things like Department of Homeland Security made and so on. Like, it’d be surprising if they somehow missed the signs by this point.

And 2004, he did win, though he also benefitted from Kerry being a weak candidate like you mentioned. It’d all depend if people would think Bush be capable of handling it. If things happened in Libya like your suspect, it would be a double-edge sword. It would give Bush more credibility, but there would be more scrutiny on why the hell we were there and not Afghanistan.

Even if he did get support, the backlash would be worse when they realize what happened.
 
Any discussion of anything other than 9/11 is going to be wiped out by thousands of people dying in the terrorist attacks. With the election less than a month after, that will be THE ONLY issue anyone cares about.

They'll trust him. Nobody held not knowing against him IOTL, and his approval ratings went to 90%. Even there being no WMDs in Iraq didn't prevent him from winning in 2004 IOTL. Bush's high-testosterone, cowboy image resonated with people and made them trust him more than the Democrats on security, what happened in our time is proof enough of that. Don't get me wrong, I really wish Al Gore had won. But terrorist attacks are gonna do nothing but benefit Bush's poll numbers.
Got to disagree here. I’m with CountDVB on this one. Assuming 9/11 happens close to the way it did only 3 years later (I find this very unlikely as at the minimum I’d expect Al Qaida to continue attacks similar to the US Embassy attacks in Kenya and Tanzania or the USS Cole, likely provoking a response by the Bush Adminstration that would butterfly away 9/11 in its OTL form), Bush likely focuses on domestic issues as he was originally expected to do. The Bush Adminstration up until 9/11/2004 ends up being a center-right version of the Clinton years, and the early 2000’s essentially function as an extension of the “End of History” era.
Whether he’s in the driver’s seat to win the election is largely dependent on the state of the economy—which he’d take flak for early in his presidency with the Tech Bubble bursting just before his election and scandals like Enron. That said, if the economy is rebounding and foreign policy entanglements are limited to air strikes against Al Qaida camps in Afghanistan following more USS Cole style attacks, he should be in good position to win.
So when the 9/11 attacks happen, Bush likely will get a bump in popularity from the Rally Around the Flag effect as in OTL. However, with the Election looming, expect the Dems to kick the blame game into overdrive as soon as they believe they can get away with it. OTL, the Bush Adminstration took a lot of heat from Democrats after the immediate post-9/11 cross-party unity started to slacken for “dropping the ball” on Al Qaida during the transition from Clinton. I recall there being accusations that Bush’s national security and foreign policy teams did not take advice from Clinton’s and missed/ignored intelligence that might have resulted in the 9/11 plans being disrupted.
I’m not well read up on the intelligence in question to weigh in on whether Bush Adminstration truly botched it OTL or if it was mostly Washington mudslinging; but ITTL, Bush has been president for nearly 4 years and the Adminstration will be unable to defend against accusations of missed intelligence by pointing fingers at the previous administration’s failures and limited responses to Al Qaida aggression.
If the Democrats play their cards right, they can push the blame for 9/11 squarely onto Bush’s shoulders and counter the old “Don’t Change Horses in the Middle of the Stream” argument. But they’d have to act fast (you have a month maybe) and have strong evidence that intelligence blunders occurred. This would not be like the slow sapping of voter confidence in LBJ over Vietnam or in Carter during the Iranian Hostage Crisis—you’d need a Nixon-like confidence collapse.

Frankly, I still think Bush wins, though in a much closer vote than if this alt-9/11 didn’t happen, and the fallout from the blame game hurts his ability to push through policies in his second term. Add in Hurricane Katrina, the inevitable insurgency in Afghanistan, and any distractions caused by Saddam or Qaddafi, and his second term is kneecapped just as badly (maybe more) than OTL.
 
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I could see Bush getting a large temporary boost, but when the patriotism panic wears off and people begin thinking, it’s gonna begins the backlash. Combined with the Iraq War happening years later and then in top of the Great Recession, it’s gonna be a clusterfuck for the GOP.
IOTL, Bush nominated the Cheney-Rumsfeld clique to "finish" what his father started in Iraq; and the Bush Administration contemplated using 9/11 as a casus belli for invading Iraq. Perhaps between late 2001-early 2002, Bush pushes toward invading Iraq? I imagine he has less Blue Dog and international support, but an Authorization of Force passes mainly along partisan lines. Of course, an earlier unpopular Iraq War would blow up in his face later or could it play a part in 'rallying-around-the-flag?'
 
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IOTL, Bush nominated the Cheney-Rumsfeld clique to "finish" what his father started in Iraq; and the Bush Administration contemplated using 9/11 as a casus belli for invading Iraq. Perhaps between late 2001-early 2002, Bush pushes toward invading Iraq? I imagine he has less Blue Dog and international support, but an Authorization of Force passes mainly along partisan lines. Of course, an earlier unpopular Iraq War would blow up in his face later or could it play a part in 'rallying-around-the-flag?'
Even if Bush picked Cheney and Rumsfeld in order to “finish” the Gulf War (I have serious reservations on this concept, given that Bush campaigned largely on domestic issues and foreign policy was not a major emphasis in American public discourse pre-9/11. I’ve always been of the opinion that Cheney/Rumsfeld were largely selected to cement Bush’s foreign policy bonafides with GOP hawks and because they were influential in GHWB’s Adminstration ), there’s still the fact that the Bush Adminstration would need to make the case for toppling Saddam to the American people and to Congress. Enforcing a no-fly zone or putting a couple PGMs on a suspected WMD complex is one thing, a full scale invasion is quite another.
I have no doubt that Rumsfeld and Cheney were happy to have an excuse to knock off Saddam, and Saddam didn’t help himself with his actions over the previous decade—seemed plenty plausible at the time that his regime had successfully hidden chemical or biological weapons from Hans Blix and his UN inspectors. But support for the OTL’s Iraq War, both domestically and within the allied coalition, was predicated and sold on the idea that Saddam had WMDs, that he was actively supporting terrorist groups, and that Iraq was a logical next front on the Global War on Terror.
Only ITTL, there is no Global War on Terror. He doesn’t have the goodwill built up in the wake of 9/11 and the ensuring coalition action in Afghanistan. The situation with Iraq in late 2001-2002 ITTL is still similar to that on the ground in 2000. Bush won’t get the support needed domestically to roll M1A1s across the Iraqi border let alone convince our allies to support it. Best he can hope for if he’s truly hellbent on toppling Saddam is more airstrikes, tighter sanctions (maybe putting pressure on American allies like France to bail on the few remaining oil deals in place), and providing covert weapons/training support to potential opponents to the Saddam (maybe the last remnants of the Shiite militias, definitely the Kurds).
I just don’t see an American invasion of Iraq happening without 9/11 and the declaration of a War on Terror. Politically it’s a dead duck. You’d need Saddam to provoke the US in a major way resulting in dead Americans to push authorization for an invasion through Congress.
 
IOTL, Bush nominated the Cheney-Rumsfeld clique to "finish" what his father started in Iraq; and the Bush Administration contemplated using 9/11 as a casus belli for invading Iraq. Perhaps between late 2001-early 2002, Bush pushes toward invading Iraq? I imagine he has less Blue Dog and international support, but an Authorization of Force passes mainly along partisan lines. Of course, an earlier unpopular Iraq War would blow up in his face later or could it play a part in 'rallying-around-the-flag?'
Without the push of 9/11 in 2001, it would be a large dive in unpopularity and when 9/12 ITTL, it would make Bush appear even more inept since the attack was then all for nothing since we didn’t attack the “real bad guy”
 
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