Last night saw the Democrats lose big in the midterm elections. From coast to coast, angry voters showed their disapproval with the party in power, and sent a message to President Obama: We want change.
Although the Democrats held onto the Senate by a slim margin, the G.O.P., fueled by an energized Tea Party contingent, took control of the House of Representatives and several key Governors’ seats.
Newly elected senator, Rand Paul, proclaimed that his victory, and those of other Republicans, were the result of voters reclaiming their country. In his victory speech Mr. Paul said, “We’ve come to take our government back. They say that the U.S. Senate is the world’s most deliberative body. I’m going to ask them to deliberate on this: The American people are unhappy with what’s going on in Washington.”
The news wasn’t all bad for Dems. Democrats held off Tea Party-backed candidates in Delaware and West Virginia. They were also able to hold onto Speaker Harry Reid’s seat in Nevada, despite Reid being drastically outspent by his opponent and being unpopular with his constituents.
Both political parties spared no expense in this election. The New York Times reports that this was “the most expensive midterm election campaign in the nation’s history, with spending that was approaching $4 billion.”
This election, like 2008, was also the epitome of dirty politics. Negative ads that pandered to racial stereotypes and spewed outright lies filled the airwaves. Voters will get a brief reprieve from the onslaught of campaign ads, but don’t get too used to it. Electioneering for the 2012 elections begins . . . now.
With the country increasingly polarized along party lines, President Obama will have a tough time getting his legislative agenda through Congress.
“If we’ve got Republicans in charge,” President Obama said, “they will want to dictate the terms of those compromises. That means their desire to roll back health care reform, which they’ve already announced, or their desire to roll back financial regulatory reform, which they’ve already announced, that’s going to be their agenda. They’re going to try to move that forward” (source).
The past two years have been filled with political gridlock, partisan bickering, angry voters and some of the worst economic conditions since the 1930s. I am hopeful that the newly elected Congress will find a way to work together and seriously deal with the tough issues facing our country. But I won’t hold my breath.
As Maureen Dowd commented in her spot-on New York Times Op-Ed piece, “God help the Republic.”