The Democrats suffered a political slaughter in their loss in the midterm elections, at least by conventional metrics. The Republicans gained seven seats in the Senate, a number in the House, and four governorships. The Democrats managed to pull off only one upset in the state of Pennsylvania. Never before, since the state began allowing two gubernatorial terms, has a sitting governor lost a challenge. A veritable political bloodbath.
Tea Partiers lost too. The conservative faction is viewing the Establishment Republican victories as a threat to its bargaining abilities. Tea Party members are concerned with newly elected Republicans voicing intentions to find common ground with Democrats. Tea Party members believe that actions such as the wildly unpopular government shutdown in October of 2013 was an effective bargaining tool. The American electorate seems to feel differently.
In addition to voting in bucketfuls of new right wing blood, Americans also approved a whole slew of very liberal left wing ballot initiatives. Increased minimum wage legislation was approved in Nebraska, Arkansas, Alaska, and South Dakota (Illinois approved an advisory measure), Oregon, Washington D.C., and Alaska voted to decriminalize recreational marijuana (the Florida voters did so as well, but fell three percentage points short of the necessary level to approve the measure getting only 57 per cent or the required 60), Colorado defeated a controversial personhood amendment that not only threatened legal abortion, but contained language that could have had negative implications for many types of fertility treatments, conventional birth control, and could potentially criminalize miscarriages.
American voters — the ones that bothered to turn out for the elections — made a few things pretty clear. They’re tired of the party infighting. They’re tired of Democrat and Republican extremes. They’re tired of being held hostage by politicians who aren’t actually representing their wants and needs. The odd combination of Democratic policies and Republican politicians that were approved in this last election shows that Americans aren’t defined by two parties and the ideals encompassed by those parties. They are not black or white, but shades of grey, and need to be represented as such. Was it the Democrats who lost? Or the American people speaking in the limited voice allowed them by a two party system? It seems as though the populace of the United States is tired of party rhetoric, and is seeking a middle ground. It may be that the time is ripe to introduce a third party, one that is interested in representing the people, not collecting political gains like so many trophies.