We had an election yesterday. Whether your candidates or your issues won or lost, life will go on. One of the virtues of the American system is that for all it's messiness, with one exception (1861), we have witnessed a peaceful transfer of power for more than two hundred years. Sometimes we "grin and bear it," as I did during the Bush years, but the process still works. It can be improved, but it still works.
I'm going to do some reflecting on the issue of partisanship later, but now is not the time for that. Last night, you could say that at least nationally, we retained the status quo.
President Barack Obama was re-elected with a sufficient majority of the popular vote and a sizable chunk of the electoral college. His win gives him a certain mandate to lead, and I expect him to do so. It's significant that President Obama won all but one of the so-called swing states. The results may have been tight, but he still won. He also won with large support by persons of color, despite losing the "white vote" by a significant margin. That result will need to be processed by everyone. For me, the Obama win does several things. First, it means that we will now move forward with Health Care Reform. Most of the provisions don't go into effect until 2014 when the state exchanges will be up and running. I expect it will be tweaked, but it's now the law of the land. Second, I think we'll get something done on immigration reform -- at the very least a Dream Act. I'm hopeful we'll get busy on infrastructure work, which the nation seriously needs and will provide important jobs. I also believe you'll see the blossoming of green energy as well.
Democrats retained the Senate and may have even expanded their reach. They don't have a "filibuster proof" majority, but perhaps the filibuster will be laid aside so we can get some work done. Both Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell will have to learn to work together. It's simple as that. If they can, we'll survive the fiscal cliff just fine!
In the House, the coattails didn't emerge. In part this is due to the effect of the 2010 elections that allowed for redistricting efforts that favored Republicans. At least for the foreseeable future, unless laws are changed, I think we'll see the effect of these gerrymandering efforts (I know, both sides do it, but this time around it favors the Republicans). Democrats can compete, but they'll have to figure out how do so in a way that attracts Republican and Independent voters. Regarding gerrymandering, I got to witness the effects last night in my own newly drawn Congressional District that snakes along a narrow corridor to connect Republican strongholds on the West side of South East Michigan into my own community. Thus, we are left with a Congressman who is not fit to serve -- simply because voter registrations allowed him to do so. I was hoping for something different, but it didn't materialize. So the question is -- going forward, can John Boehner rein in the most radical Tea Party folks so something can get done.
Remember there's that fiscal cliff looming. I'm hopeful, even optimistic, that now that the elections are over cool heads will prevail and we'll work something out.
The long night of our electoral season is now over. Let's get to work to purse the common good!