Americans demonstrated why our form of democracy is about as good as it gets.
In a triumph for moderation, the constitution, and civil society control of the House AND Senate may have changed parties. In only a few hours after tens of millions of citizens turned out for a midterm election, and the spending of $2.6 Billion on campaigns, voters peacefully and efficiently changed the direction of the richest, most complex, and most powerful nation on the planet. A majority of Americans seem to agree that the country is going in the wrong direction and the president needs more checks and balances.
The feedback from this election is almost too much to digest at one sitting:
– The Dems didn’t win as much as the GOP lost the trust of independents.
– The politics of playing only to a party’s base hopefully has become obsolete.
– The value of courting the independent voters may have been enhanced.
– Negative campaigning does work.
– Dems had the sense to recruit moderate candidates.
– Lieberman may inspire an increasing role and opportunity for independents.
– Conservatives sometimes go too far: South Dakotans rejected a law that would have banned virtually all abortions, Arizona became the first state to defeat an amendment to ban gay marriage and Missouri approved a measure backing stem cell research.
– The Country is socially modest: Most gay marriage bans passed.
– Most Smoking Bans passed. The Public sees this more of a health issue than a freedom of choice issue.
– The Democrat team in Congress is now more Centrist and the Republican team is now relatively more extreme.
I hope both parties get the message to move to the center, compromise and make incremental progress and address its own organizational weaknesses by reforming: Lobbying, Redistricting, Elections, Earmarks, and the transparency of its own operations.