While there were many issues that candidates were expected to take a position on, there were none that voters wanted to know more than the Iraq War. Voters wanted to know if the candidates wanted to invade Iraq or stay out, and they were ready to choose which candidate to vote for based on just the candidate's answer...
While both candidates agreed that the president should have the power to wage war, their views on the Iraq war could not have been more different. Bush made it very clear that if he were elected, he would use his power as president to invade Iraq and end Saddam Hussein's regime; which Kerry describes as a fateful step that he would not take.
We need to stay out of Iraq!
We need to invade Iraq!
For some voters, the entire election and who they would vote for came down to one issue: the Iraq War. Many voted based only on the candidates' position on the Iraq War, and some even voted for what would normally be their opposing party just because of the war.
John Kerry has my vote.
Who cares? I'm happy as long as we stay out of the war.
Kerry? I thought you were a Republican!
Just as many voters were voting based purely in favor of one issue or belief, there were also many voted specifically against a candidate or party. Most of the time, these voter didn't know the actual candidates; they just knew they didn't want to vote for the beliefs and policies of one of the parties.
There's no way I will vote for Bush. He's probably a bigot and a racist.
Of course I do! He's a Republican, that's all the proof I need.
How do you know that? Do you have any actual proof?
After months of grueling political campaigning, the votes had been counted and the winner had been decided. The result was...
George W. Bush elected 43rd president of the United States!