Well, the election is over. Barack Obama is still president. Democrats are still in control in the Senate. Republicans are still in control in the House. Essentially nothing has changed. However (and I guess that is more of a big HOWEVER), it seems as though the American people wanted to keep both parties in control, because we are a divided nation ideologically, but want both sides to work together. The 111th and 112th Congresses were both complete failures. There was intra-house and inter-house fighting, along with intransigence toward the president, and it lead to not only low approval ratings, but little-to-no cross-aisle politics. That is not the point of congress, nor does it help improve our country’s economy, which has been languishing over the past 4+ years.
I’m a progressive, and therefore I tend to vote Democrat. And looking back at Obama’s first term, I personally might have a finger to point at some people that I specifically think caused the logjam in congress; but what will I have gained? What will we as a country have gained by pointing fingers? The answer is nothing. Finger-pointing will only lead to further partisanship and blaming. We are where we are, and we need big solutions to the big problems that our country still faces; the economy, international security, tax reform, etc.
Republicans and democrats are not going to magically agree about the solutions to these problems, but if both parties come to the table with an honest desire to work with one another, and to create positive, comprised solutions, I think we’ll all be better off for it. Sure, I’ll probably be frustrated that some of the legislation doesn’t go as far as I think it should (as others will think it goes too far), but that’s the country we live in.
I will say that one thing that has already frustrated me is the reaction by Mitch McConnell to the president’s victory. The same guy who said that the sole purpose of the Republican Party should be to make sure Obama is a one term president, has christened the (hopefully) new era in American politics with a big, wet blanket.
“The voters have not endorsed the failures or excesses of the president's first term, they have simply given him more time to finish the job they asked him to do together with a Congress that restored balance to Washington after two years of one-party control.
Now it's time for the president to propose solutions that actually have a chance of passing the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and a closely divided Senate, step up to the plate on the challenges of the moment, and deliver in a way that he did not in his first four years in office.
To the extent he wants to move to the political center, which is where the work gets done in a divided government, we'll be there to meet him half way."
Mitch McConnell looks like a turtle (and sounds like one), and the Republican’s first order of business should be to remove him as minority leader in the Senate, and replace him with someone that actually wants to get business done.
The country is changing. There was a lower percentage of white people overall that voted. A higher percentage of women. A higher percentage of Latinos. A higher percentage of young people. And black voters came out in numbers commensurate with those in 2008. The electorate in this country is becoming less white-male-centric, and therefore the Republican Party needs to start adapting to those changes if they expect to remain a relevant political party in this country. Hopefully this election will be a wakeup call, helping them realize that they need to drop their social policy evangelism, and start recognizing that abortion, welfare, gay marriage, immigration, etc. are not policies that are going to win them elections. Good ideas that improve people’s lives are going to win elections. I’m not trying to help republicans win, but I just saying that it would help move the country in a better direction if everyone comes around.