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…So Goes the Nation is a political documentary that focuses on the US political processes. It specifically follows the 2004 presidential elections between President George W. Bush and John Kerry. The events that are described in the movie are set in Ohio State that became the political battlefield for the two candidates in their race for the United States presidential seat.
It covers the last events of the Ohio presidential campaign. The movie shows how workers, representatives for both parties, Democrats and Republicans, arrived in Ohio from all over the country to support their parties at the climax of the 2004 elections. The movie demonstrates how one can win or lose an election by following or not following certain political concepts (…So Goes the Nation 2006).
Political activism played a key role in deciding the winning candidate. President George W. Bush charisma and his strong campaign strategy helped him get enough votes from Ohio voters that enabled him to win a hotly contested presidential race (Bond and Smith 182).
This piece of writing presents a review of …So Goes the Nation film. It explains political events that took place in Ohio before 2004 presidential elections. Moreover, it describes political science concepts such as democracy, political freedom, majority rule and political activism incorporated in the movie (Bond and Smith 380). This work concludes with my opinion on the movie and how it relates to my understanding of politics.
Synopsis of the Plot and Main Characters
The political campaign climax for 2004 US presidential elections took place in Ohio State. George W. Bush and his opponent John Kerry realized that Ohio was a neutral State that had a potential to influence the decision of people and define the nation’s president for the next four years. Therefore, the two parties committed their time and resources to convince voters to vote for them.
However, both political leaders and voters had a fear that the controversies of 2000 elections would be repeated. Many people suspected that voter fraud, destruction of ballot boxes, and interference of registration rolls could take place (Bond and Smith 302).
This made the filmmakers, Stern and Del Deo, to camp at Ohio with their cameras to capture the final events before the Election Day. As a result, …So Goes the Nation covers the campaign workers for the Democrats and Republicans as they strived to swing votes in their favor. It examines the possibilities of the behind-the-scene workers interfering with the elections.
However, its main focus is on the campaign styles the contestants made use of. Furthermore, it shows how their unseen campaign staff played their cards to convince voters to give their voices in favor of their candidates (Bond and Smith 210).
John Kerry focused on domestic issues such as health, homosexuality and abortion, security, and economics, while Bush focused on national security and criticized Kerry’s un-seriousness in regards to security issues based on his record in Vietnam (…So Goes the Nation 2006).
It was easy for Kerry to win because everything was in his favor, right from opinion polls to popularity of his political figure. However, when the voting day arrived, surprising trends took place that inclined the voters in favor of the unpopular, but charismatic George Bush.
Aspects of the Movie and Political Concepts
Stern and Del Deo documentary …So Goes the Nation examines the 2004 US elections through microscopic lenses and tries to discuss what went right and wrong for Bush and Kerry. Both candidates focused their campaigns on Ohio because they believed that it would be the ‘deciding State’ in their final campaign (Bond and Smith 67).
The film captures all the events, both small and big, that occurred during the election period. Moreover, it examines voters and their determination and excitement to elect their president. It takes the viewpoint of behind-the-scene campaigners who sought to persuade voters to vote for their candidate (…So Goes the Nation 2006).
The majority of the Americans took keen interest in the 2004 elections. However, large numbers included those who seemed to be fed-up with George Bush administration because they felt that his governance was more of corporate than public interest. The film captures campaign events several months before the actual Election Day.
Political activism is revealed as activists go door-to-door and make phone calls to make sure that their candidate becomes victorious (…So Goes the Nation 2006). These efforts explicitly demonstrate the extent to which individuals can go to ensure that their candidate wins the election. This shows political freedom in a democratic government.
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Grassroots politics is paid a great attention in the film, however, it also detail the efforts made by political strategists and campaign managers of each candidate. Campaign managers and political strategists worked behind-the-scenes and they did a lot in selling their candidate to the public. The movie explains how John Kerry lost an election, despite being the most favorite candidate.
It shows what role the techniques of political persuasion, advertisements and speeches play in determining how a political race will turn out. Moreover, it shows how effective and persistent marketing is, and how the situation can influence the public (Bond and Smith 102).
Concepts of political clarity and confusion are portrayed. Republican volunteers seemed to be consistent as they conducted actual door-to-door search for votes while the Democrats seemed confused and unprepared (Bond and Smith 160). Kerry’s campaign groups concentrated on the city votes and forgot about rural votes, which the Republicans capitalized on.
Smart Republican campaigners did not depend on the swing vote, but recognized Ohio State that upholds Christian principles. Therefore, they campaigned against social issues of homosexuality and abortion supported by the Democrats. This made Christians in Ohio to cross party lines and vote for the Republican candidate.
An interview with a Democrat supporter who finally voted for George Bush shows political freedom that voters enjoy in the democratic America. In a nutshell, the movie examines the 2004 US presidential elections, general public (voters), and the voting process (Bond and Smith 102).
Bond, Jon R. and Kevin Smith. The Promise and Performance of American Democracy. 10th ed. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth, 2011. Print.
…So Goes the Nation. Dir. Stern, James D., and Adam Del Deo. Perf. Paul Begala, Mary Beth Cahill, Thomas (Tad) Devine, Terry McAuliffe, and Matthew Dowd. IFC Films, 2006. DVD.