The Day After

The election is finally over.  A winner has been announced, and the parties have all ended.  Now we must ask ourselves, “What now?”  The country is still facing some very large issues between now and then end of the year.  These range from taxes, the debt ceiling, and many more things.  The lame-duck Congress, the one that has been one of the least productive in history, is charged with dealing with these topics with President Obama.  It remains to be seen if the two sides can put aside major differences to hammer out a compromise for the good of the nation.

Pundits have already started talking.  Blame and finger pointing has started on the losing end while the winning side basks in the glory of the moment.  But both sides should stop for a moment and remember something.  The electorate is more divided than ever, and we didn’t think it could even get more divided than it already was.  Though President Obama cruised easily to an electoral vote majority (Electoral College) though it was smaller than in 2008, and though Democrats picked up a seat in the Senate and might pick up a few in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, it was the popular vote that gives us the biggest indication of  what the people were thinking… 50% in favor of Obama and 48% in favor of Romney.  (These numbers could change as not all votes are in at the time this is being written.)  As of right now, somewhere close to 3-million votes is what separates the two main candidates.  The Senate is still fairly evenly divided and the House is just a bit moreso.  After all these grueling months, the people decided to leave the country with a divided government… Republicans in control of the House of Representatives and Democrats in control of the Senate and White House.  This means that both sides are going to have to work together come January to face some major issues that are in front of our country.  And the outgoing Congress can’t let the ball drop either.  Even though several members will not be returning, they still must do their job until the end.  The two sides aren’t always going to agree.  We know this, and we expect it.  That’s what divided government is all about.  But the two sides must communicate and work through those differences for the good of the country.  Talking of working together across the aisle is one thing and action is another.  The time for talk has passed, and the people are demanding action.  Divided government is supposed to be more difficult in its design, but it’s not supposed to be an all-out roadblock.

While the Republican Party must figure out where it goes in the future, one thing is absolutely clear.  They must start finding ways to attract minority voters.  Though independent voters mostly swing to Mitt Romney in the election, the Republican party lost even more of the minority vote than it did in 2008.  And the minority vote is quickly on the rise.  The white vote was only at 72%, though it’s hard to judge where that level really is since voter turnout was well below 2008 and even 2004 levels.  As a result, neither party should go around talking of any mandate.  I’ve written about that before. (The New Mandate)  If half of the population isn’t voting, that means 3/4th didn’t vote for you.  So it is nearly impossible to declare a mandate when looking at those numbers.  And with the popular vote so close from those that did vote, it means that we want to be governed from the middle and not from the extreme left or the extreme right.

The dust has now settled, and its long overdo that our government, and its leaders get to work.  There is too much at stake on the future of our country.  This should no longer be about political grandstanding.  The voters have spoken, and they have signaled that they want a little from the left and a little from the right.  They want common sense solutions, and they want you to act like grown-ups. So now get to it.  Show us that work can be done across the aisle and between the two chambers and two of the branches of government on the big issues.  We need you to govern for once, especially in these next two months of the lame-duck Congress.  With the new Congress in January, I hope it works better than the last one.  Show the people that you can rise above partisan bickering to get the job done.


2 Responses to The Day After

  1. Piracetam says:

    Mr. Reid and Senate Democrats are also hoping to vote on a major military bill, already passed by the House, that would authorize the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy requiring gay soldiers to keep their sexual orientation secret. Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, appearing on “Meet the Press” on NBC, reiterated his intention to keep trying to block the repeal language.

    • James S. says:

      “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” has already been repealed by Congress and that repeal has already been implemented by our armed forces. Gay servicemen and women are now allowed to be open about who they are. Are you referring to something along the lines of a repeal of the repeal… thus forcing gay soldiers to keep their sexual orientation secret again? I have not heard anything of this yet, but I will keep my ears open. The repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was lead by Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) and was supported by the Democratic party and by moderate Republicans. I think it would be unlikely that Senator Reid (D-NV) and the Senate Democrats would try to repeal the repeal. Perhaps I am missing something in your phrasing.

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