Even Massachusetts elected a Republican, Charlie Baker, as its governor. Though the bluest of blue states retained a 100% Democrat congressional delegation that will have little influence in the 114th Congress.
The election showed the fallacy of straight line projections that predict the end of one party or the other based on present trends. Shifts in political sentiment are not permanent. Demographic changes do not inevitably and permanently accrue to one party. Humans and organizations adapt. Circumstance, environment, and technology disrupt trends and patterns.
A great deal of speculation by experts and non-experts about the reason for the overwhelming repudiation of Democrats will fill the next few days - the President’s policies and competence among them. But the truly important question is the response to the election: Will the Republicans take the opportunity to move legislation that will improve the lives of Americans and expand their support? Will the President face the repudiation and learn to work with the legislative branch as Bill Clinton did, or will he double down and go it alone through contentious executive action?
The opportunity is great for the Republicans to demonstrate leadership, competence, and effectiveness, and President Obama to secure a positive historical legacy by working with the legislative branch for the benefit of all Americans. Let us hope that both recognize the opportunity and seize it.
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