This past Tuesday voters voted turned Nevada and the nation “Red.” What started as a Republican wave, ended as a tsunami. Blue state after blue state turned red as voters handed Republicans a seven-seat swing in the Senate, several governorships and state legislatures. Even deep blue states like Maryland, Massachusetts and Illinois will have new Republican Governors. By the time Alaska and Louisiana results are tabulated, Republicans should hold 54 Senate seats. Fashioning bills so they appeal to a majority in the Senate should allow for many of the 300+ bills languishing on Harry Reid’s desk to reach the floor and pass. Then it will be up to the President to show his hand and either veto or cooperate.
One can easily be discouraged by the naivety and ignorance of many Americans when it comes to the important duty of electing our leaders. However, when it comes to elections, the electorate often sends a message if one looks deeply into the results. This time that message couldn’t be clearer.
There have been fairly strong messages sent in the past several election cycles. In 2008 the electorate said to Republicans, “You strayed too far to the right” and they elected Barack Obama. In 2010 the message was, “We didn’t mean for you to swing so far left” and they handed Republicans the House of Representatives. And this past November 4th the voters told our leaders, “You should have listened last time” and as a result we had a Republican wave election that turned the nation and Nevada “redder” than we have been for a long time.
If one sees the current situation in terms of “us vs. them”, the “them” is no longer just the other party, but it is the people vs. the governing class. The Democrats are just the ones more directly in the line of fire because they have controlled the government since the 2007 recession and have not restored even a basic prosperity. If the now triumphant Republicans do not articulate a credible policy before 2016 they will be facing popular anger as well.
It will be interesting to see how our leaders interpret this latest, stronger message and the results that manifest. If the swinging from far left to far right continues, we will eventually have a constitutional crisis that threatens our Republic or the beginnings of a third party revolution. The key gripe of the voters, as shown by exit polls, is THE ECONOMY. Outside of the super-rich enclaves of Washington, Wall Street and Silicon Valley many voters are basically on a subsistence level, with any unforeseen economic shock throwing them into outright poverty, or worse. They feel cheated and robbed. The key antagonism is not between Right and Left but between the rich and “the rest”. The “gridlock axis” has shifted from the horizontal to the vertical.
Elected Democrats and Republicans would be well-advised to find a way to work together to solve the nation’s problems. We will know rather quickly if both parties got the message and start finding common ground where it exists and build on that.
There is some low-hanging fruit where common ground should be easy to find. The Keystone pipeline comes to mind. If some cooperation and comity can be achieved, we may even look to addressing the electorate’s top priority – JOBS!!! Politicians have been promising jobs and the nation keeps asking for something to be done and yet nothing happens. Here are a couple of ideas that would get results:
- Establish balanced trade as a national objective in a way that’s harmonious with the Fed’s mandate to maintain low inflation and full employment.
- Confront China on currency manipulation.
- Pass tax reform that promotes American jobs.
Will we keep the hope of a self-governing Republic alive by returning to the constitution and the intent of our Founding Fathers? If Republicans don’t over-play their hand and if Democrats, including the President, are willing to cooperate, we may just prove those who believe Democracies have an approximate 200 year shelf life wrong.
If not, start looking for more “independent” candidates like Mr. Orman in Kansas to challenge the two-party system in 2016. Also, expect America to continue its economic and political decline.
As voters, we need to make sure we notice which of our leaders work toward solutions and which ones strive to keep Congress dysfunctional. After all, 2016 isn’t that far away when voters get another opportunity to express themselves.
Frank Shannon served in the U.S. Army, was an engineering/operations manager for AT&T for 27 years, was the owner of a small manufacturing business for 23 years, served as Colorado Chair of the Coalition for a Prosperous America and moved to Mesquite in 2013.