I have been contemplating the recent election and what the shellacking of Democrats by Republicans “means” if anything.
The first point is that it means it was a mid-term election. I have already pointed this out back in January.
The second point is that the economy is weak and the unemployment rate is high. So the election result can be construed to reflect the voters frustration with that situation. The problem with this is that the election results did not give us a government that is likely to do much, if anything, about the economy. So to say that the voters were voting the economy is to say that the voters voted against their own interest.
There are those who say the voters delivered a mandate to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. But again, the government the voters created is not going to repeal the act (at best the House will have a vote on this), so it makes no sense to claim the electorate wanted repeal when the electorate didn’t come close to voting for a government that could deliver such a thing.
Some voters were voting for fiscal responsibility. Most of those were voting for the party that was less likely to deliver that, but this is not relevant to our discussion.
Sure, there were plenty of individual voters who were voting the economy or voting repeal of health care reform, but I am looking for the meaning of the election result, not the motives of individual voters.
What did the voters give us? They gave (we gave ourselves) a divided government. It sure looks like we will have gridlock for the next two years on everything but the most banal legislation.
Why did the voters give us this? Legislation fatigue. Are we not all (those of us paying any attention at all) just a bit exhausted from the last two years of congress? I was ready for more, but I concede that I could use a break. Now we all have a chance to catch our breath.