I decided a long time ago that I’m neither a Republican nor a Democrat. In fact, I don’t like being labeled “an anything” politically. In my career in journalism, I’ve interviewed and found favor with politicians on both sides of the aisle—and a few in between. And I’ve voted for many candidates accordingly.
Still, I was somewhat shocked and surprised by the results of last week’s presidential election. Whether you supported Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, if you had read or seen all the polls showing her slightly ahead, you probably expected a Clinton election as I did. And in fact, she did win the majority of the popular vote, which doesn’t mean anything thanks to the Electoral College. More on that another time.
What I do know is that now, the Republican Party is in the driver’s seat. With a president and both houses of Congress held by Republicans, the GOP finally has a chance to do something it has bellyached about for years—breaking the gridlock in Washington and getting things done.
None of us know for sure what “getting things done” means. Will the ultra-conservative faction of the electorate see its wishes come true with regard to Supreme Court appointees, immigration issues, LGBT rights and tax reform? Will the now terrorized liberals realize their greatest fears of a Trump Wall of Fame along the border with Mexico, the reversing of government-mandated health care and destruction of the environment? Both sides have best/worse case scenarios. Both sides are, in my view, probably a bit more optimistic/pessimistic about what a Trump presidency will mean.
But to my earlier point, now it’s up to the Republicans to see what they can do. No Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid roadblocks. No Barack Obama veto pen or executive orders. You’ve campaigned for years with the message that you can do it better with majority rule. It’s your move.
This isn’t the first time in recent history that the American voters have cast ballots for change. Remember the Tea Party—not the original one that actually did bring about change, but the right wing political group that came on board in 2009 after the recession? They called for change, they pledged that if elected they’d make things happen. Well, they didn’t. Ask Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio why their presidential campaigns failed this year. As Rubio himself said when he dropped out of the race, “We were swept into office six years ago because we ran on the platform of change, and nothing did.”
So whether you were happy or distressed with the results of last week’s elections, remember that not much lasts forever. What Americans will be watching over the months ahead is whether this latest collection of Washington politicos can end the gridlock, and truly make the country come together, improve and grow. If not, the midterm elections of 2018 aren’t that far off. Time is ticking, and GOP—you’re on the clock.