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.
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 http://cphcmp.smu.edu/2004election/mark-mellman-2/.
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