What if Iraqi elections were held before US presidential elections
In fact, if you think of it, Iraqi people just gave a huge vote of confidence to American and Iraqi security forces (trained by Americans)! Somehow I think that if Iraqi people did not feel confident about their security to a reasonable extend they wouldn't have bothered voting. This is not to say that they did not act courgeously in voting. They definitely did. I just wanted to point out that the fact that the Iraqi people enthusiastically voted inspite of threats and actual acts of violence says a lot about their confidence in the security aparatus.
What would have been the impact on the US presidential election if the Iraqi election had taken place before it? At a minimum, John Kerry would have been forced to stop repeating ad-naseum that "invasion" of Iraq was a big mistake. His main position on Iraq, that he would have handled Iraq in a better way, would have fallen completely flat on its face! Successful Iraqi elections would have given lie to his another claim that US is isolated in the World because of unilateral actions of US administration. Most likely Bush would have won the elections by a much more bigger margin. In itself it does not change much, but the margin of victory would have forced the much needed introspection in the Democratic party!
This is not to score points or to speculate how Bush would have made a political capital out of the Iraqi election. The thing I want to stress here is that John Kerry fought the election completely on a negative agenda. He could convince nearly half of the electorate that situation in Iraq was bad only because there was no way to demonstrate that Iraqi people are happier after removal of Saddam Hussein. Only successful Iraqi election could have shown that Iraqi people are eager to participate in a democracy and that all the sacrifices and expenses were worth it. John Kerry and the Democratic party betted on negative outcomes heavily! They stressed negative aspects of the situation in Iraq repeatedly with full co-operation of the MSM. Successful Iraqi election would have exposed the the whole picture in Iraq and voters in US would have been able to judge the campaign rhetoric and judge the two candidate properly. Going by the statement made by John Kerry after the Iraqi election, Iraqi election have not forced introspection in the Democratic party. An electoral loss by a huge margin would have done just that!
Update: The Sun-Times columist Mark Brown, a liberal, asks "What if Bush has been right about Iraq all along?"