Initial Election Recap
To begin with, my heart is broken. Not because Mitt Romney lost, but because 7.7 million less voters turned out than in 2008. While Romney lost 860,000 votes off of John McCain’s showing in 2008, Barack Obama lost 6.9 million votes off of his own total from four years ago. In fact, President Obama gained only 576,000 more votes above President Bush’s 2004 victory!
Even with 6% less voters exercising one of the most important rights a free citizen of a democracy can and the majority lost from the Democrat side, we ended up with a status quo election that leaned slightly Democrat. The House remained Republican with Democrats gaining 5 seats. The Senate remained Democrat-controlled with a gain of 2 seats. As recently as February, the Republicans were looking at the possibility of winning the 4 seats necessary to take back control of the Senate so that 6 seat swing is significant and will be discussed in future posts.
For right now, there’s a lot of data to look at from what happened last Tuesday. I am actually optimistic about the lame duck session debate over the fiscal cliff. House Majority Leader John Boehner said all of the right things in his speech asking the President to lead and if it’s as simple as President Obama says it is, the Republicans should extend the Bush tax cuts for those making under $250,000 soon. This would allow the Republicans to say the Bush tax cuts have been extended so they can begin to loosen the meme that they were strictly tax cuts for the wealthy. From There the Democrats can begin a debate with how we should handle taxation. There are numbers between the Bush rate of 35% for the wealthiest Americans and the Clinton rate of 39.6%. And the Republicans can always debate that the small businesses taxed at that individual rate of 35% can be exempt from the increase by rewriting the tax code.
Let’s hope they work together because if the Democrats go in this direction with a litany of things that aren’t in the top 5 of voters’ minds, then we really are looking at the 4th term of George W. Bush.