John Kerry, the Democrat challenger for the presidency of the United States, has been trying to put a brave face on his bitterly disappointing failure to defeat George W. Bush. Addressing the party faithful in Boston, the Democratic challenger struck a conciliatory tone towards the man who beat him: “Earlier today, I spoke to President Bush and I offered him and Laura our congratulations on their victory. We had a good conversation and we talked about the danger of division in our country and the need, the desperate need for unity, for finding common ground, for coming together.”
He pledged to build on the momentum of the Democratic campaign. “I will also do everything in my power to ensure that my party, a proud Democratic Party, stands true to our best hopes and ideals. I believe that what we started in this campaign will not end here,” he said. As well as losing the presidency, the Democrats lost key Senate and House seats. There will now be much soul-searching, not just over Kerry’s leadership, but also about what issues can broaden the party’s appeal so that it can mount a successful challenge next time.