You Talkin' To Me? - The 2004 Presidential Election

Welcome to You Talkin' To Me? a timeline featuring an alternate 2004 Presidential Election.

A few months after 9/11, Robert De Niro, a patriotic American, was inspired to join the political world after rekindling his relationship with estranged wife Grace Hightower. Spurred by the terrible attack in his city, De Niro wanted to 'do [his] duty to America' and serve his country. After careful deliberation through the first half of the year, De Niro announced he would be forming an exploratory committee to seek the Presidential Nomination of the Democratic Party of the United States in June 2002. In December 2002, he officially announced his intentions to run for Presidency, the earliest to do so.
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April 2003 CNN/Gallup Poll
Who is your preference for the Democratic Presidential nomination?
  • Joseph I. Lieberman (21%)
  • John F. Kerry (18%)
  • Robert A. De Niro Jr. (17%)
  • Richard A. Gephardt (13%)
  • Johnny R. Edwards (11%)
  • Howard B. Dean III (10%)
  • Other (9%)

Following the invasion of Iraq, Robert De Niro cautiously toed the line, not expressing firm opinions on the war. Privately, he denounced it, but it was a popular war. Latest polls had 63% of Americans supporting the effort. Drummed up by Vice President Dick Cheney’s intense propaganda effort, as many as 41% of American’s thought Saddam Hussein was personally responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

De Niro would avoid foreign policy at this early part of his campaign, instead focusing on health care and economic reform. De Niro would attack the 2001 Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act, and he would also advocate for health care reforms leading to the end goal of a single payer system. De Niro’s platform advocated a right to health care for all Americans, and a tax relief for the lower and middle classes.

De Niro had a modest performance in the May 3rd debate in South Carolina, but his campaign would pick up national attention at the end of the month when he viciously attacked President Bush’s second tax cut act, enacted on May 23rd.

“The President lives in a fantasy world, predicated by two decades of Republican economic failure. As his father once said, these are “voodoo economics”. Our first act, when I enter the white house, we’re gonna repeal and replace these tax laws. The wealthiest Americans need to pay their fair share, goddamn it.”

June 2003 Gallup Poll
Who has the best chance of beating Incumbent George W. Bush in the 2004 Presidential Election?
  • Robert A. De Niro Jr. (25%)
  • Howard B. Dean III (23%)
  • John F. Kerry (20%)
  • Joseph I. Lieberman (18%)
  • John Edwards (12%)
  • Other (2%)

Who would win head-to-head in the 2004 Presidential Election?
  • Robert A. De Niro Jr. (48%) vs George W. Bush (47%)
  • John F. Kerry (46%) vs George W. Bush (47%)
  • Howard B. Dean III (45%) vs George W. Bush (51%)
  • Joseph I. Lieberman (41%) vs George W. Bush (55%)
  • John Edwards (36%) vs George W. Bush (57%)
  • Richard A. Gephardt (12%) vs George W. Bush (63%)

June 27, 2003 - Virtual Primary results
346,890 total votes
  • Howard Dean - 36%
  • Robert De Niro - 35%
  • John Kerry - 15%
  • Joseph Lieberman - 9%
  • John Edwards - 3%
  • Richard Gephardt - 2%

Headed into July 2003, Howard Dean gained much momentum through internet advertisements, fundraising, and the virtual primary. Though he failed to reach the 50% required to receive an endorsement from MoveOn, he edged out De Niro by a percentage point, and Kerry's national favor had faltered in the face of the challengers. Most polls around this time had Dean and De Niro neck and neck in anticipation of the next year's Iowa Caucuses.

October however, would be a grim month for De Niro’s campaign, as his campaign manager would announce he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. De Niro’s health was called into question, and facing significant drops nationwide in polling, he strongly considered dropping out of the race. However, with a successful procedure in December, De Niro would be declared cancer-free and bounce back in polling.

How will 2004 go? Time will only tell.
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