We are over a week past election day and the results are almost all in. There is no doubt that the Democrats lost control of the Senate and that Republicans gained a larger majority in the house. These are undeniable truths. But what is unclear is what this all means for the next two years. How will it impact on the direction of the country? What policy changes can we expect? How will it change the way Washington works? Compounded with the inevitable impact of the 2016 Presidential campaign, there can be no doubt that we are in for a very interesting and, I believe, tumultuous two years. As I listen to the remarks by both parties, again playing politics with issues urgent to America, it seems that the work of Washington might well be cast aside for the priority of winning 2016. After all, isn’t that what happened immediately after the 2012 election? But that only serves the politicians in Washington and those governors who plan to become a part of the Presidential lottery. It doesn’t answer the most important question, how will this election impact on us, the American people? The GOP is acting as if they have been given a mandate to fight to win the same issues they have been ranting about for the past six years. But there is no doubt they are misreading the election and they in fact are reading a mandate into what is really a faux mandate.
MSNBC Daily reported on November 11th that the participation in this midterm of only 36.4% of eligible voters was the worst participation since the 1942 midterms. If the GOP reads this result as a mandate they are sure to make the mistake of over-reaching. Combined with the GOP advantage inherent in this midterm’s electoral map, it is clear that the low turnout signals a general disgust with both parties and a disgust, as well, with the inability for those who are sent to Washington to serve the needs of their constituents and the country. Additionally it signals a frustration with their refusal to get beyond their own egotistical self-serving political needs. This was not a mandate for GOP, but rather a clear statement that if you want us to participate in this democracy and vote, you, most participate with honor and integrity. You must consider our interests and the interests of the country first, before your narrow and selfish political interests. If the GOP believes that the results of this election were a tacit approval of what they have been selling these past 6 years, they are in for a rude awakening.
However, the Democrats don’t get to walk away as the victim. They ran one of the most ineffectual campaigns in history. They avoided the opportunity to tout the successes of the Obama Administration so much that they had only threats to run on. They could only say that if you don’t vote for us our opponents will do bad things. However, they were so intent on distancing themselves from Obama that they didn’t discuss the good things that they have achieved. What was created was a negative campaign on both sides. The Democrats tried to create fear in the possible election of the Republican, and the Republican tried to create fear in the possible election of the Democrat. Two out of every three voters said” a pox on both of your houses” and sat the election out.
The next two years will be rough ride for all of us. Everything done by both parties will be about 2016. The Democrats will do everything possible to position themselves to win back the senate and keep the White House, while the GOP will do everything possible to hold the senate and win the White House. Are we willing to let them play their little inside game with each other, or are we ready to demand that they consider us as the most important element in their game? The real question for us is, are we willing to fight to hold on to our democracy, or are we willing to allow our system to continue to slide into a plutocracy where money rules? Not only was this a faux mandate for the GOP, it was a faux election. If we want it to be real we must make ourselves heard and felt. It is time for us to take our democracy back.