What will be the biggest story of this election year?

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As 2004 begins, it isn't long until the Iowa caucuses and the start of the election season. With passionate feelings on both sides of the political aisle, this year promises to see many twists and turns before election day, Nov. 2. We enter the year with Howard Dean as the Democratic frontrunner, but with eight other Democratic candidates vying for the nomination to take on a president who is setting records for fundraising, anything could happen. What are your predictions for this political season? What issues and events will take the country by surprise? Will a third party play a role? Send us your predictions.

Some of your responses:

Bush will continue to talk about a war on terrorism whilst he will continue to be clueless on steering the U.S. economy. However due to an already frightened averaged U.S. citizen, who sees the theatrical display of red, yellow or whatever colour as a true indication of an ever-looming terrorist re-attack, Bush will again will the Presidential elections. I will not be puzzled but rather entertained by his comic appearance in the military camouflage, i.e during his campaigns. I love Americans, what a group of skilled entertainers.
Khanyisa Ndzuta
Fort Beaufort, South Africa

Dean will win the Democratic nomination which is the best possible news for Bush. As a resident of Vermont I can assure you that Dean is the least qualified candidate(funny how nobody has asked our opinion...) Bush will win in '04 in a landslide victory for the history books.
Roy Flournoy
Winooski, Vt.

The biggest story of the year will be that for the first time in American politics a large portion of political advertising will be designed by, conducted by, and endorsed by a grass roots movement by MoveOn.org and the Dean campaign, i.e. it will be run by ordinary folks. This is unprecedented since political campaigns on both sides have always been engineered by media advertising experts driven by big money interests.
Manchester, N.H.

Shiites win first Iraqi election by huge margin. Sunnis and Kurds refuse to be part of a Shiite-dominated Iraq, civil war ensues, Iraq is split into 3 countries. Bush blames the Democrats, but loses the election anyway.
Karl Spisak
Covington, Ky.

The biggest story will be the fact that this election will be boring, without spark, and in the end the votes will reflect a coin toss — 50/50. It will no doubt be very close as one candidate attempts to buy more votes than the other with promises that are not only illogical but foolish. A little more than half the American electorate will choose one brand of snake oil while not actually reading their candidate's platform.
Devon Kruggel
Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

George W. Bush will win the 04 Presidental election. The democrats will use every dirty trick and lie against the President they can. It will get UGLY! The American voter that knows America is the best place on earth and understands that we have such a gift of freedom will prove that the majority of voters still believe in President Bush come November.
Sherry Pendley
Nashville, Tenn.

My feeling is that the war in Iraq will be on the forefront of the election agenda. I have two reasons for my opinion. I think as the troops' homecoming is delayed more and more their resolve will continue to deteriorate. The citizens of Iraq will become increasingly impatient and more attacks on our troops will be made. As more of our troops die in Iraq, America's support for the war by November will be almost non-existent.
Dale Himelrick
Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Wesley Clark captures the Democratic nomination after a series of continuing Dean gaffes. In turn, the angered and vengeful Dean breaks from the Democratic Party in a huff and runs independently in the 2004 general election. In his own Bull Moose-like way, Dean manages to split the Democratic vote, allowing G.W. to cruise to a second term. To top it off, Dean refuses to concede and declares his campaign a "Victory for America".
Matthew M. Miller
Pittsburgh, Pa.

I believe it will be the unexpected defeat of George Bush and the failure to capture or kill Bin Laden. I believe he will continue to outsmart this Administration. He's far more intelligent than the Butcher of Baghdad.
Tom Plummer
Bourbon, Mo.

If Bush wins the election, expect Canada's immigration service to suddenly become flooded as people move to a country that still cares about freedom.
Justin Burtard

The biggest story will be a landslide for the Republicans in elections in November and the demise of the Democratic party. America will move right and use its power to follow a right-wing agenda in the world.
Michael O'Reilly
New York

Shortly after Howard Dean and the voters have confounded all the "experts" for the millionth time by soundly defeating the current corporate puppet administration, you will collectively reflect with stunned embarrassment at your futile attempts to impose "conventional wisdom" on a wise electorate and Dean's brilliant, transformative, grassroots campaign, and realize belatedly that it was all quite predictable. Free advice from the real world: Job status and pay is determined by performance evaluations, something TIME might consider implementing soon.
Lance Nottle
Mountain View, Calif.

Hollywood stunned as Bush wins in landslide! Residents vote to secede from the United States to establish their own elite country, believing their perspective better represents typical Americans than meaningless votes.
Alan R. Kemp
Atlanta, Ga.

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