The election results are nearly complete. As usual, Intrade was a most accurate election predictor.
President Obama has been re-elected. Congress is probably divided with a liberal Senate and conservative House. (Moreover, as xkcd illustrates, Congress is at its most ideologically extreme divide since 1820.)
Perhaps the presidential election is less significant
than whether Congress is divided: any president's potential to effect
legislation is small compared to whether Congress is churning out new laws or suffering stalemate.
But the presidential race is better blogging material, so here I go.
I've written before about how living in Oregon prevents me from caring too much about the presidential race. My state's electoral college votes are very predictable.
Yet I can still talk about the big issues. (It will be interested to re-read this blog post years from now, when time will tell whether these are the big issues.)
Normally the most important long-term implication of any presidential election is the potential Supreme Court nominations. For this issue a Mitt Romney win would have been nice. The next president will probably appoint two or three new justices. President Obama has already appointed one or two justices who believe axiomatically that impartial laws do not exist. If four years from now the majority of the court holds this view it will change our county incredibly.
The other huge issue for this election is the Affordable Care Act, and for this issue I am happy President Obama was re-elected. The PPACA It is an ungainly and horrendous bulk of legislation. But it is the lesser of two evils. Our country is hurt more by having health insurance tied to employment (as opposed to being part of the market like automobile insurance or home owner's insurance). Because half of employed people are, by definition, getting a better than average deal on insurance through their employment, and many retired people still benefit after ending employment, Americans will never vote away the current system unless our country passes through a time of national health coverage. (I just pray the Affordable Care Act allows removing the link between employment and insurance before the economy is really hit by the Entitlement Crisis and the Federal government runs out of money.)
Regarding the other, smaller issues President Obama's re-election provides many unknowns because so many of his first term accomplishments have delayed implementation.
Personally, I will enjoy a break from reading Instapundit, a blog that has succumbed to frustration. Today Glenn Reynolds wrote, "If Romney loses this thing, it’ll only be because of fraud," and later he wrote "They [the mainstream media] must be neutralized in coming years." I normally enjoy Glenn's hobby of pointing out media bias, but I do not enjoy reading someone who feels bitter and combative.
The most interest response to the election I have read so far was from Sarah Hoyt, who wrote, "We’re not a country of land or blood. We’re a country of beliefs. If
we’ve lost that, who are we? Who am I? And where do I go?" My reply was that we are a country of stories, not a country of beliefs. Contrary to what pundits proclaim, I do not believe that today's election could save or doom the country or its economy. The next four years will provide plenty of stories, and from these we will draw our identities, values, hopes, fears, and dreams.