Malibu residents flocked to the polls in what was most likely one of the highest voter turnouts in recent election history.
By Jonathan Friedman, Laura Tate, Lauren Walser and Damien Weaver
Malibu residents lined up at the polls in record numbers Tuesday, casting their hopes for the future. As of 10:30 p.m., exit polls had incumbent President George W. Bush with 269 electoral votes, most likely winning another four years in the 2004 presidential election.
In what has been a highly anticipated election, publicly, Malibu voices have been on the quiet side as to which way they were going to vote. Only one or two letters to the editor have been published voicing their views.
Locals gathered at the temporary Malibu Republican Headquarters next to Spumonis restaurant Tuesday night were upbeat the whole evening, even from the very beginning, when it seemed like no one was sure which way the ball would roll.
Upon learning that Bush had taken Ohio, the room had broken out into a chant, “Four more years.” The crowd broke out into various chants of “Hurrah” and “Go Bush” throughout the evening.
Peter Epes, a grad student at Pepperdine University who voted absentee in Ohio, said of early thoughts on how the election would turn out, “Although it was projected the turnout would lean Democratic, I feel issues of national and international security, and the safety of our families far outweighed the internal issues, like the economy. The heart of Americans spoke out tonight.”
He said he felt if Kerry would have been elected “the direction of the country would lean more to the left of appeasement and misguided tolerance.”
As an outsider, he also said he feels that “California already leans in that direction.”
A Malibu resident, who preferred to remain anonymous because she said she is surrounded by Democrats at work and by Democratic friends, voted for Al Gore in the last presidential election, but voted for Bush this time around. The “safety of our nation” changed her mind she said. “He made me feel safe,” she said of Bush.
If John F. Kerry would have won, she said, “on an international level, we would come off as weak,” and that she would “be fearful for our children.”
As far as the war in Iraq, the resident said, “We need to finish what we started, and Bush is without a doubt, the man to do that.”
Local resident Sam Farag, father of two who would not say which way he voted, voiced an opinion along the same lines, but with a different tone. “He made the mess the first four years, now he needs to fix it. He has to prove to us that he can fix it.”
Malibu Democrats were in despair over the early presidential election results.
Ralph Erickson, president of the Malibu Democratic Club, said, “The people who have elected Bush have no thought for the future of the world, and this is a sad commentary.”
The world will ridicule us for this,” Erickson continued. “We are seen as an inferior populace for supporting him.”
Where Kerry went wrong, Erickson said, is that he “failed to destroy the phony claim of Bush as a strong fighter for America.”
As far as what will happen after another four years, Erickson said, “We have to keep reminding people that it has largely been liberal issues over the past 70 years that have made better lives for Americans.” Erickson gave examples such as Medicare, Social Security and Civil Rights.
The anonymous Malibu resident felt that “Democrats made the mistake in the election of going too far left” and that “if they would have gone as far right as possible, and still be a Democrat, that would have been better.”
Gerry Battey, president of Malibu Republican Women, Federated, said of the entire election, “I think we’re going to have a better showing this year for Republican votes. The Democrats are very entrenched here in California, but we’re trying to change that.”