Transcription – Mark Mellman Interview

Q:                    And who did cultural issues benefit in ’04?

MELLMAN:      Well, I think the cultural issues, at that point, benefited the Republicans more than they benefited us, for two reasons.  First of all, we were at the beginning of a cultural shift — gay marriage, for one example, and again, I’m not one of those that said, “Oh, had the gay marriage thing not been on the ballot, Democrats would have one.”  I don’t think that’s true, but we were at the beginning of a cultural shift, and we were still on the somewhat conservative side of that — of that cultural divide.

Q:                    When you say “on the ballot,” state referendums?

MELLMAN:      Yes, and Ohio was on the ballot, for example.  But — So, I don’t think that issue being on the ballot was decisive, but I do think that, again, the cultural circumstances [01:34:00] tended to favor the Republicans in a way that they don’t, that they favor us, now.  And second, just the demography, which is separate but related issue, also.  I mean, if the electorate had looked in 2004 like it looked in 2012, John Kerry would have won.  But it didn’t, just the fact of the matter.  And that’s not just a function of Obama polling people out; it’s a function of the way the country looks.  And again, that’s separate from but related to that cultural divide as well.

Q:                    Well, thank you so much.

MELLMAN:      Pleasure.

Q:                    This has been enormous — and for somebody who said, you know, he didn’t have a clear memory, you sure…

MELLMAN:      Well, I hope it’s been accurate.

Q:                    Sure brought it back.

Mark Mellman Interview, Center for Presidential History, Southern Methodist University, The Election of 2004 Collective Memory Project, 15 October 2013, accessed at

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