Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Election Postmortem

2016, the year that British voters did something incredibly stupid, and then the United States electorate went and topped it. Brexit may end up being only the second-worst thing to happen in politics this year. You're welcome, Great Britain.
In January, there's going to be a President Trump. I'm unhappy for all the reasons I stated back in March, but nonetheless I have it pretty good. As a white, male, straight, Christian, upper-middle-class US citizen, most of what Trump has been saying he'll do won't negatively affect me (at least not directly). The unhappiness comes from caring about what happens to people who don't share those same attributes.

I checked the election results as posted on Michigan Radio and the Kent County website. Not counting the unopposed races, all but one person that I voted for lost their race. (That one was Lisa Posthumus Lyons, for County Clerk. I know she has lots of government experience since she was my state representative until recently, which I'd rather have than ideological agreement when it comes to a Clerk position.) The presidential result was a surprise since Michigan almost always votes Democrat in state-wide races, but everything else was pretty much as I expected.

Nevertheless, after each election it's a good idea to be optimistic, no matter who won. So, some good things about yesterday's results:

  • Both houses of Congress and the President will be controlled by the same party for the first time since 2010. While I'm not naive enough to think that will end Congressional gridlock (especially since Republicans don't have 60 Senate seats), I do have hope that at least it'll be easier to get something done.
  • We'll get a ninth Supreme Court Justice again. I know, that would have happened no matter who won, but I think it's worth mentioning. Being in a sort of judicial limbo while the Senate refused to even consider a new justice isn't sustainable. I can practically guarantee that I won't agree with whoever President Trump nominates, but at least the system will be moving again.
  • Mike Pence is likely to have more power than many vice presidents, perhaps even to the level of Dick Cheney. Donald Trump likes to promise big things, and be the face of his organization, but then let his staff do the work to deliver. Now, I don't agree with many of Pence's positions, but I do think that he knows how to do the job of a chief executive, as he did in Indiana. I think it's likely that Pence will keep the executive-branch machine running even if President Trump tosses a lot of wrenches into the works.
  • We're probably going to see the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. I've supported the ACA because it was better than doing nothing for the uninsured, but that doesn't make it good. What we really need is a health care system that minimizes the profit motive, and the ACA did nothing on that front. That won't happen with the Republicans in power, I know, but the failure of the ACA is a first step. I'm hopeful that it will lead to a better chance for real change the next time health care reform is attempted, instead of just trying to build on the broken system.
  • I'm glad Justin Amash was re-elected as my representative in the House of Representatives, even if I didn't actually vote for him. We don't share a lot in the way of policy positions, but I respect the way he executes his position.
  • At the local level, both the John Ball Zoo and the Kent County 9-1-1 system upgrade proposals passed. Good news for local safety and culture.
Yeah, I know, that's not exactly a lot of positives, but I'll take what I can get. Yesterday I said that I was voting for Clinton in hopes that she would "not do any major damage to international relations or the economy." Now I'll have to hope that Congress slows down President Trump's crazier ideas to limit the damage.

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