The morning after one of the hardest fought elections that I have ever witnessed, I begin to reflect on this election. In many ways, this election was similar to every other election I have witnessed. However, this election has also acted as a message to the Republican Party: change or perish.
Some of what I’ve seen has thrilled me. I have seen people involved in the political process at an unprecedented rate (although voter turnout was lower). Many people have taken to the internet to support their candidates and spread messages against the opposition. I find the involvement of the people in the political process incredible. We will only get stronger as a country if we begin to get all of our citizens informed and involved in the election process.
Unfortunately, the tools that have given us the power to stay informed and make our voices heard are causing shifts to extreme views in politics. As media personalities increase their exposure, they are using extreme claims to gain popularity. This feeds the growing trend of extremism and polarization in our political discussion. As more extremists take power in office, we are seeing less cooperation and bipartisanship. In the last two years, this problem led to very little getting accomplished, as most of the time was spent fighting over bills that should have easily been negotiated and passed.
What I believe this election has done is to show the Republican Party that extremist views, such as those supported by the tea party, will not be tolerated in our government officials. We have already begun to see Republicans distance themselves from the far right candidates. Even Democrats have seen an influx of moderates such as Joe Donnelly, the Democratic Senator elect from Indiana who defeated tea party darling Richard Mourdock. After losing an election that Republicans should have been able to easily win, there will be a lot of restructuring necessary in order for the Republican Party to stay relevant. This will have to take place in the form of a return to moderation.
This morning, I’m hopeful that we won’t see four more years of obstructionism from House Republicans. The best thing that they can do to secure their future, as representatives and as a party, would be to come out and call for all Republicans to stop working against President Obama and Democrats. They need to work together and compromise on the issues that will shape our country for the next four years. Continuing their current strategy of opposition will only solidify their position as an outdated and dying political party.
With the growth of the internet and social media, people will continue to be intimately involved in politics and elections. The days of passing off a poor candidate by hiding the problems that he or she has is over. Every statement made by candidates will be monitored and passed along by media. I am thrilled to see the President pass this test and come out ahead. I am proud to say that President Obama will lead us for another four years. Moreover, I hope that Republicans receive the message sent by the people that we will not tolerate anyone who puts their own interests ahead of the peoples. We are all in this together…for another four years!