Some of us were there as representatives
of national organizations. I was representing the American
Muslim Alliance (AMA) and by extension the American Muslim
The long wait gave us a chance
to mingle, chat, and be exposed to various current and undercurrents
in the Democratic Party. Before the night was over, the mood
of the party went from exuberance and certitude to doubt and
apprehension. The “impossible” seemed to be happening again
but somehow it was too early to acknowledge it. Yet, there
was an anticipated sadness in the room.
Conversation started to flow
in all directions as the uncertain outcome of the electionsbecame
It was close to 2A.M, and I
had just finished talking to a reporter from Dubai TV, when
a reporter from London Telegraph came over to ask my opinion
about who would be the winner. Then he asked me about American
Muslims and it astonished me to no end that he knew about
AMT’s “qualified” endorsement of Sen. John Kerry. He knew
immediately what I was talking about.
He did not ask me what is AMT? He knew it stands for American
Muslim Taskforce. Muslim unity was already having its impact
beyond the boundaries of the Unites States. Earlier, I had
talked to Italian newscaster Marco Lancilo of Andrkronos News.
He too had heard about the AMT endorsement. The European press,
it seemed, was also as attentive, if not more than the American
It was close to 2:30 when an
entourage of police officers started pouring in to the Copley
Square. I asked one of them whether that meant Sen. Kerry
was coming out to the stage. I got my answer later, when I
joined my friends in the Westin Hotel.
When it became quite clear that
the outcome of the election depended on who wins the state
of Ohio, and the Ohio vote count will not be known for another
day, Sen. John Edwards emerged on the stage around 2:30 A.M.
and told the rain-drenched nail-biting crowd, “It’s been a
long night, but we’ve waited four years for this victory.
We can wait one more night.” Edwards continued, “John Kerry
and I made a promise to the American people that in this election,
every vote would count and every vote would be counted. Tonight,
we are keeping our word and we will fight for every vote.
You deserve no less.”
It was around 4:30 A.M. when
we got home. The rest is history, but as I told my colleagues,
we were there to witness an important moment.
That night led to an eventful
morning in which, I am afraid, Sen. Kerry’s role will be too
quickly forgotten. Regardless of all other considerations,
we must pause to give due credit to John Kerry for his political
maturity and decisiveness. It is rumored that John Edwards
wanted to contest the Ohio vote count and fight on as long
as it was possible to fight on.
But having made a realistic assessment, John Kerry decided
to save himself and the rest of the county the pain and anguish
of another drawn out legal battle. Kerry had almost single-handedly
restored the respectability of America’s electoral process.
This was his parting gift to his fellow citizens.
After Kerry’s momentous decision,
the whole process was put on fast-forward. By Wednesday afternoon,
Sen. Kerry had conceded and President Bush had asserted the
Republican victory. Karl Rove had proven himself a peerless
strategist by enabling President Bush to score an impressive
victory against a hugely mobilized Democratic Party. Clearly,
Karl Rove had out-strategized, out-organized and out-mobilized
the Democratic Party.
One needs much more time to
fathom all the changes that took place in those 48 hours.
But it is evident that America’s political map was redrawn
and the blue states were relegated to America’s coastlines.
Those 48 hours also marked the (relative) decline of the secular
intelligentsia and the rise of the religious intelligentsia.
In the huge flux of the presidential
election, the American Muslims made their mark again. Preliminary
reports from AMT members (CAIR and AMA) indicated that, in
keeping with the AMT endorsement, 93 % of American-Muslims
voted for Sen. Kerry. The second Muslim bloc vote had become
a reality. It was much larger than the first Muslim bloc vote
in 2004. It was also much more consensual. A bloc vote takes
place when majority of people in a given community together
for a common purpose and in accordance with a negotiated understanding.
This time 93% Muslims had voted together for AMT’s civil rights
The AMT has done for the Muslim
community what Karl Rove has done for the Republican Party.
By connecting its ‘qualified’ support for Kerry with its demands
for restoration of civil liberties, the AMT has once again
placed Muslim voters on America’s political map. While Sen.
Kerry has lost, the American Muslim community has succeeded
in defining a coherent agenda, developing an effective strategy
and maintaining its unity in the voting process.
However, we still need to answer
many questions: Will the American Muslims have any better
luck with the religious intelligentsia than they have had
with the secular intelligentsia? It is too early to tell.
But we should not make the mistake of thinking that the party
is over, and hereafter the Democrats will not be playing any
meaning role. The news of their political death is highly
(Tahir Ali is the author
of the book “The Muslim Vote: Counts and Recounts” published
by Wyndham Hall. This Book is available at Amazon.com (search
under ‘Tahir Ali’ or ‘Muslim Vote’)