The election cost $5.8 billion and years of furor and trauma, only to leave us with what we had already: President Obama, a Democratic Senate, and a Republican House of Representatives. Does that mean we’ll have another four years of the status quo, that the election won’t really mean anything? I don’t think so.
As President Obama told the Russians, after he has won re-election, he will have much more “flexibility.” That is to say, he won’t have to worry about alienating voters, so he will be free to do more of what he wants. Conversely, Republicans won’t have as their priority, as Mitch McDonnell said, ensuring that he does not get elected to a second term. So expect, for better or worse, more co-operation between the parties. Already some Republican leaders in the House have said that if Obama gets re-elected, they will consider that Americans support his economic program and want more taxes; therefore, they will be willing to compromise on “raising revenues.” So expect taxes to go up.
Also, the election clears the way for Obamacare. If that health care program falls short of taking over the entire medical sector, it at least is a government take over of the medical insurance industry, which amounts to much the same thing. To this day, no one knows what Obamacare will do, as it’s gradually implemented through 2014. Already there are hints that at least some businesses will keep their number of employees below 50 and hire workers part-time rather than full-time to escape the required insurance expenses. What procedures will be paid for and how much will be paid will be up to government regulators. Church ministries and pro-lifers may well be forced to pay for contraceptives and abortifacient drugs, a direct assault on religious liberty that the administration is unlikely to compromise on, given the success of its “war on women” rhetoric during the election. Perhaps a court will block that and other provisions, but we can’t count on it.
The popular vote was close, but the size of Obama’s electoral victory (300+ to 200, three-fifths, 60%) will allow Democrats to claim a mandate. Americans voted for the Democratic proposals, so that’s what we all are going to get.
Can you think of other likely results of this election?