After almost $6 billion were spent on presidential and congressional races in 2012, where do we find ourselves the day after the elections? Largely exactly where we were before the elections with a country that is deeply divided.
Republicans still control the House of Representatives, Democrats still control the Senate, and the same President we have had for the last four years. The popular vote is a reflection of this divide with roughly 50 percent Democratic vote vs. 48 percent Republican vote in the Presidential election as of early this morning.
Additionally, partisanship seems to be very much alive and well in our country. However, I’m not talking about the partisanship of our politicians. I’m talking about the partisanship of the voters. We need to take a good look in the mirror. It seems to me that our politicians are doing exactly what we have elected them to do, show extreme partisanship whether it be with a liberal or conservative bias.
As an example, I point to two Congressional races that are perfect examples of voter partisanship. Republican Scott DesJarlais defeats Democrat Eric Stewart and Democrat Jesse Jackson, Jr. defeats Republican Brian Woodworth in Illinois. If you have followed either of these elections, then you know that by any reasonable measure, neither of these men deserve to represent the people of their districts. The people in these districts sold out their vote to these men simply because they had an “R” or a “D” in front of their name, which makes them either an enemy or a friend. And so it was for the rest of the country.
Today, I was hoping that we could start a new chapter for our country. One where we could get past the partisan issues and work on the large and very real problems this country faces. Sadly, I awoke to find that we are most likely still stuck in the muck with largely the same people who have been unable to do much of anything to help move this country toward a brighter future.
The only true winners of the 2012 election are the media outlets with pockets flush with advertising cash.
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Hamilton County had a lot of attack ads run against Scott Desjarlais and very few if any ads telling you who Eric Stewart is. To answer why Desjarlais won you have to look at when Eric Stewart won an election in Franklin County and Franklin County knows Eric Stewart. Eric did not represent the county, only himself, consistently pushing for things that hurt the county but made himself richer.
In Congress, Desjarlais voted like the people wanted him to rather than what was necessarily in his own interest. Was Desjarlais the best person for the job, probably not. Was he the best choice available, when compared to Eric Stewart the answer is a resounding yes. It is not that the people of Franklin County voted for Scott Desjarlais, its that they voted against Eric Stewart and his record.