Democrats weren’t the only losers this election season. Establishment Republicans also lost many seats during the primaries. In Alaska, election canvassers are still trying to determine whether Republican Lisa Murkowski, who ran as a write-in candidate, will retain her seat in the U.S. Senate. She lost in the Republican primaries to Tea Party favorite Joe Miller.
This is the third election in a row to see massive numbers of seats switch parties. And the lesson is becoming clear: Voters are dissatisfied with Congress. They didn’t vote for Republicans – they voted against the party in power. They also aren’t thrilled with incumbents.
While the election marked a clear rejection of Obama Administration policies, it would be a mistake for Republican winners to over-estimate the desire of the voters. This election wasn’t a referendum on their ideas.
Voters are starting to get angry enough to throw the bums out, so Congressional Republicans shouldn’t assume a long-term stay as the party in control of the U.S. House.
As many Republican pundits are saying, this election might just be the final chance for Republicans to maintain their political party. Without a firm grasp on their stated principles and a willingness to make the tough decisions, the party will go the way of the Whigs.
In addition to candidate and party losses, many citizens lost as well. It was discouraging to learn that less than 50 percent of registered voters in Johnson County found the time to make it to the polls.
This was an important election with long-term consequences. Not only will the next Congress and our next state leadership battle a struggling economy, but they’ll also be tasked with re-apportionment. They will draw the boundary line for Congressional and state districts. Those boundaries will likely have a hand in determining which parties and which officials govern for the next 10 years.
With the advent of the Internet, newspapers, talk radio, and 24-hour cable news, there is no limit to the amount of information a voter can find about candidates and the issues. And with polls opening for advanced voting and mail-in ballots available, time to get to the polls should no longer be a factor.
People died so we would have the rights of suffrage. In other nations, people bleed still for the right to cast a ballot.
That privilege and responsibility shouldn’t be taken for granted.