Archive for November 7, 2012

*Huge sigh of relief*

I am quite satisfied with the results last night in both the general and state elections. Obama was projected to squeak by and that is about what he did. The final electoral college numbers are a little more lopsided (303-203, minus Florida as usual), but the popular vote was significantly closer (within 5 million votes). Overall voter turnout was excellent and the media was able to get its fill of the drama.

First focusing on the primary election, Romney was not the end of the world if he had been elected, but there were a significant number of issues if it had come true. Social politics had fallen to the background in the general election, which was surprising considering the significantly different viewpoints of the two parties. The focus on foreign policy versus the economy actually favored Romney because of his background (not production) in business and the lesser interest in foreign policy of the American public. An Obama administration is one that wants to support equality, access to health care and economic improvement through a multifaceted process involving manufacturing, energy and review of tax policies. Honestly, Romney was hampered by a failure to stick to a specific message, to reach a more diverse population and to know how to include Paul Ryan in the campaign plan. Obama’s challenges to reelection included his misinterpreted record in office, failure to meet the grandiose claims made during the 2008 election and the continued slow economic growth. Regardless of the challenges between both candidates, I am glad that we have a president that has better intentions in mind for the broader range of the American people.

At the state level, Maryland was a state under a watchful eye by many. Gambling has been expanded, which has a potential to be a revenue generator for the state, but it was Question 6 that stole the show. Though the decision was a long one to go through to find the result, Maryland voted to approve gay marriage. I am so excited for the thousands of couples that now have the right to the same benefits and supports that heterosexual couples have. In addition, Maine and Washington followed suit and Minnesota blocked a bill to deny gay marriage in their state.

At the House level, the GOP maintained the balance of power, with little shifting in either direction. There are still a few seats left to determine. On the Senate side, the Democrats maintained a slight control of the power, but the election of Elizabeth Warren, Joe Donnelly, Claire McCaskill and Tammy Baldwin. Donnelly and McCaskill were both losing their races until the weeks leading up to the election when both of their opponents slipped up over the issue of abortion. With outrageous claims about the role of God and legitimate rape, both candidates sealed their fate. Elizabeth Warren took back the seat vacated by Kennedy in Massachusetts and has gained significant support around the nation for her sharp political mind. For Baldwin, the first LGBT senator is a major win for progress. In the end, the Senate now also has the largest number of women representatives that it has ever been able to boast.

Both parties have some soul searching to do though. Democrats had a majority from 2009-2010 and failed to meet the nations expectations. Republicans took a strong move to the right and created a stalemate in Congress. The American people are not at the level of mutiny, but they are frustrated by the little progress that is being made. Strong believers on both sides are unwilling to meet in the middle or even at least listen to their opponents. The concept of “reaching across the aisle” is not even the way we should be thinking. It is going to take a serious ideological change to improve.

For Democrats, the progressive social policies match the way the country continues to evolve, but the attention needs to be focused more on developing an economic plan that a greater portion of the American people can digest. Progress needs to be sped up in a way that gives people belief in the positive power of politics.

For the Republicans, there is much to reconsider. Meghan McCain, one of the rising young stars of the party, has identified that the archaic perspectives have prevented progress of the party’s main messages. She understands that the platform has some potential but is not grounded in a modern American and a global perspective. Extremist views, and even those of the rather large Tea Party supporters, need to move away from being the focus of the greater party. They are divisive, discriminatory and oppressive. On the economy, the middle class does not agree that the tax cuts are improving the economy and the working/poor class continues to get disparately underserved. The idea is not to be giving handouts, but rather to provide space for opportunity and advancement.

I am happy with four more years of president Barack Obama and am hopeful that some real progress can be made. Here’s hoping that politicians at all levels can start to prove that they have the best intentions of all Americans in mind.