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Post Mid-Term Election Recap: Tea Party Reflects Americans' Changing Attitudes

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With “the economy, the economy, the economy,” being chanted by people across the country, many were engaged in the political system during this voting season.  An increasingly sophisticated electorate has now spoken in the 2010 mid-term elections.  Many long-term office holders were re-elected, while Republicans took the most Democratic House since 1938.  Does this signal an acceptance, or rejection, of either party?

The office of the President and the majority in the Senate are controlled by Democrats.  The number of Governors and state legislatures has now flipped to Republican majorities.  The country, split between two major parties and a growing number of registered independents, chose a broader sharing of political power.      

What Is The Voters' Message?

There are many who honestly refrain from eating meat and refer to themselves as vegetarians.  Then, there are some claimed vegetarians who pull a hat over their face, sneak underneath those golden arches, and gobble a burger late at night.  There are former smokers who, having kicked the nicotine habit, refrain from lighting up.  There are also others who wear “the patch”, but sneak a smoke when no one is watching.  In voting it seems like we expect politicians to live by promises made, even though we can't fully claim to have always done the same.

The ballyhooed Tea Party revealed discontent within the Republican party.  Basically the movement is attempting to cleanse ideologies seen as counterproductive.  Despite the choice of selected candidates, many in this movement were demanding a return to Reagan-style roots.  Those who benefited from this group's emergence will now have to find ways to meet their expectations.

Democrat's won full-power in Washington two years ago and many within the party understandably supported a particular legislative agenda.  Some are no longer all in.  Continuing economic challenges have stirred emotions against those who have been part of this particular majority.  Similar atmospheres have often existed for members of whichever party has been in charge during tough times.

The Name Game

Soon-to-be familiar faces, like Florida's Marco Rubio, emerged on election day.  This Cuban-American Senator-elect has the potential to be on one of the Presidential Marco Rubiocampaign tickets during this decade.  Yes, it could be that soon.  He has the intangibles to help refresh the image of the GOP and broaden it's future base.

Rubio could face Hillary Clinton in 2016.  She has the brand name, credentials, and continuing strong support.  Another run for the White House would seem logical.  But, political prognosticating is always a deep guess.

Vice President Joe Biden's old Senate seat was won by Chris Coons in Delaware.  The seat is currently occupied by Ted Kaufman, who replaced Biden.  All three of those men are Democrats, so the loss by Christine O'Donnell was hardly a surprise.  That race focused on personality, more than issues, with O'Donnell not adequately refuting characterizations made about her.  Coons was politically smart in being far less visible than she was, which helped place a black bulb into her spotlight's socket.

Former Presidential candidate Ron Paul's son, Rand Paul, won the Kentucky Senate race after calling all Tea Party hands on deck.  He spoke out against both Democratic and Republican actions.  His enthusiastic supporters will now expect tangible results from his triumph.

On the West Coast, Democrat Jerry Brown regained his old position as California's Governor.  On the East Coast, Tom Corbett became Pennsylvania's new Republican Governor.  When last in office, Jerry Brown refused to live in the Governor's mansion out of economic principal.  But, Corbett and his fellow GOP brethren have gained the majority of Gubernatorial residences if they so choose to live in them.   

Accomplished Democratic stalwarts like:  Nevada Senate leader Harry Reid, Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank, and California Senator Barbara Boxer won re-election.  Tough politicians are resilient, regardless of the challenge, revealing an element to their character that opponents don't often mention.

Political Opinions Are Like Phones - Everyone Has One Now

Some television commentators, claiming to be non-partisan, appeared to still be wearing their Halloween masks as the election returns poured in.  These masks, portraying neutral journalists, concealed their feelings about the voters.  Media mouths who stated that election results were the result of voter anger, or who spit out sound bites about unfair campaign tactics, seemed to reveal their personal beliefs about election outcomes.   

Were the voter's angry in 2006 and in 2008 when Democrat's won, or in 1994 when Republican's won?  Tough campaigners show voters they can stand strong, right?   How can analysts, including this author, have that much deeper insight than anyone else?  We don't. 

They show no respect for candidates and less for their audience.  People are smart enough to determine if a candidate is appealing, without having to be told what to election 2010think.    

The Next Cycle

It does seem like our political problems should have clear solutions.  But, most of us will never hold office and be in the position to actually put our ideas into play.  Consider how hard it must be for someone to get their name on a primary ballot, win that primary, and then win a general election.  People holding any political office are effective achievers who have convinced a large group of strangers to believe in them.  How many of us know that we could get ourselves elected and then be effective in office?  

We have now elected and re-elected many different types of people across our country.  The impact of our choices is already being felt.  Democracy needs the relentless participation of its citizens to be most effective.    

 Contact Sean O'Brien at seanboru68@yahoo.com


Comments


1:05 AM
Thu Nov 4 2010
Kaz, Thank you for reading

Kaz,

Thank you for reading this article and for your comments.  It was a balancing to write about political analysts as I was politically analyzing the election myself.  :-)   One of the many great things about an interactive site, like philly2philly.com, is the ability readers have to add to the story, thus giving the deserved opportunity you noted.

Regarding Washington - term limits, for a variety of reasons, have not taken root as a movement.  Or maybe, that topic has not been allowed to take root.  The electoral college would make a great article topic someday!  You raise a very solid point. 

Your comments show a detailed understanding of how our system works.  Voters that share your depth of knowledge help to form a smart electorate.