Four out of the last five elections -2006, 2008, 2010 and now 2014- were "wave" elections. One party won a sweeping victory. Americans first elect a president from one party and then two years later almost inevitably give the other party a huge victory at the midterm election.
Do Americans want change or what?
OK, a country of 319 million can't have a singular will and only about 40% of eligible voters show up for midterm elections. So, it's not like the whole of America wanted the political elite that we have, but we do end up with them nonetheless, and to a large extent those people determine how we live our lives.
We've established many times that the public is fed up with a Congress incapable of getting anything done. Despite that voters delivered a result that almost guarantees more gridlock. Republican candidates promised voters that they'd stand in Obama's way, and also promised that they'd get things done. This contradictory message was at the heart of Republican Senate campaigns across the country. And Americans voted for them.
It's one thing to vote Republican because it's the party that reflects your beliefs. But if you're voting Republican because you want to see Congress become more conciliatory and productive, you really should have been paying closer attention these past six years.
Obstructionism wasn't an accident, it was a strategy. Republican leaders made a decision to oppose everything he proposed. Four years ago Mitch McConnell explained how important it was to present a unified front of opposition to President Obama's proposals, because then the public would dismiss the debate as just partisan bickering.
The simple fact is that the President gets credit when Washington works and blame when it doesn't, whether he deserves it or not … in either case. So Republicans are free to foul the air as much as they want and watch Obama suffer for it. And it worked! The result of six years of unprecedented filibusters, debt ceiling crises, a government shutdown, 50 futile Affordable Care Act repeal votes, endless theorizing about conspiracies and a dramatic increase in general buffoonery is that Republicans took back the House and the Senate. Voters rewarded their misdeeds by returning them to power.
They elect Democrats who try to accomplish complex policy goals, then turn around and elect Republicans when things don't work perfectly. They say they hate gridlock but then elect people who will give them more of it.
So Americans, what is it you really want?
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