The Dominant Message of the 2010 Midterm Election Results: Change Course

At both the federal and state level in the U.S. 2010 Midterm Election, we experienced a political tsunami as Republicans won races at a historic level. The American people have spoken and they have rejected the failed policies of President Obama. Republicans, however, should not be tremendously happy because the American people were not simply voting for them; they were voting to make a statement about their  unhappiness with incumbents. It is not like they are so happy to vote Republicans back in either. Let’s be honest, however, it is not just the struggling economy that resulted in historic gains for Republicans, but it was also a repudiation of the failed policies of President Obama.

President Obama is going to have to recognize that the people did not just vote Democrats out because of the economy—they voted them out because of his policies. I was glad to see him accept a significant amount of the blame for this too, but what I want him to acknowledge is he must change course from the failed policies that have significantly decreased his popularity. Obama is losing his appeal as a different type of politician. Each day it seems that he is becoming more and more like all of the other politicians he claims he is not like. He needs to find a way to work with Republicans to get things done for the American people. Republicans also will need to be willing to work with President Obama to get things done. The American people did not vote to give Republicans all of the power to do everything they want to do. If that would have happened, then they would have won the U.S. House and Senate and more state races too.

People are really exhausted with Democrats and Republicans. They want these politicians they elect to do real things that are going to significantly ameliorate their lives. I really think that by 2012 people are really going to be looking more toward true Independents at all levels, including for the President of the United States of America. If you are a Republican, I want you to feel happy about the fact that your party won historic gains at all levels, but you cannot allow your party to simply do more of the same. You must demand more from your party leaders. Democrats, you must demand more from your party leaders. We need a new awakening to spread across the land that communicates that we will no longer accept the status quo, business as usual politics. People are hurting and we need elected politicians to help them to be healed.

If President Obama wants to be re-elected in 2012, he will need to show a serious willingness to listen more to the American people, and some of that listening means being willing to support more things that the Republicans support. President Obama will really need to take a chapter from former President Bill Clinton’s book if he wants to have a better remaining two years of his presidency than his previous two. Republicans will also need to understand that America is not so in love with you all either. It was many of the policies that you all created that contributed to the problems we face today. President Obama, however, cannot continue to keep using this as an excuse—he must lead.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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