Election Day’s Over, so What’s Next?


Matt Brownsword


It’s finally over.

Election season has raged (yes, raged—is far too mild a word to describe it) for eleven months, starting with the first Republican primary in Iowa to the nomination of one W. Millard Romney to finally the re-election of Barack Obama.

It’s finally over.

After being flooded with campaign ads, battleground states can finally watch their televisions without being hit—and then struck repeatedly—with somber narrators detailing how each candidate, in their own way, would be terrible for America. There are no more pointless debates, no more ridiculous speeches, no more campaigning.

It’s finally over.

Back to business. Hopefully not business as usual, because the business has to change. The President will not be up for re-election again, so it’s time for Republicans and Democrats to halt this ridiculous partisan bickering and to fix the problems facing America. Even Romney said in his concession speech that it is no time for bipartisan bickering, because the country is facing massive problems, and compromise is the only way that these problems will be solved.

It’s certainly not all on the shoulders of the president; in fact, most of the change needs to come from Congress, whose approval rating has hit an all-time low of  8%. Two prominent Republicans, Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, seemed to promote this, new, bipartisan compromise—albeit, reluctantly—with respect to the first challenge that the government will have to take on—the fiscal cliff.

The fiscal cliff, aptly named, is a dangerous precipice that America will fall into on the eve of 2013, triggering the end of the Bush tax cuts and the beginning of a smaller federal budget. Since neither party seems to want to watch America drive itself of the fiscal cliff—Republicans would be violating their Grover Norquist pledge not to raise taxes and the cuts to Medicare would directly contradict Democratic policies—compromise has to happen. This deadline may actually bring out the bipartisan spirit within the two parties, as the impending nature of the cliff should force each party to negotiate in order to avoid massive, unwanted change.

Nothing’s actually changed. Democrats may have picked up a few seats in the Senate—who knows where the independent from Maine, Agnus Kaine, will caucus—but they still do not have the supermajority needed to transcend Republican attempts to fillibuster. Republicans have retained majority in the House of Representatives and the Democrats control the presidency. Change has to come within the ‘old guard’. America needs compromise to push the country forward.

So while the campaign is finally over, the time for substantive American change has really only just begun.