Where do we go from here?

Published: November 6, 2014

By Jim Lichtman
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As election results came in late last night, it became clear that the Republicans would indeed take control of the Senate, but the night was not without many surprises in the governor’s races around the country. Among them: Republican governors will become chief executives in three states, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Illinois long held by Democrats.

Now, that the results clearly favor Republicans, what does it mean and where do we go from here? Republican strategist and pollster Frank Luntz probably had the best take on the outcome.

“This was not an election about Barack Obama,” Luntz said,  “…it wasn’t even an election about Washington. It’s a complete rejection, frankly, of those who want to do more in government; that no matter where you look, the public is saying, ‘enough is enough: do less and do it better.’ ”

In exit-polling Luntz points out that the number one reason people went to the polls to vote was for “change in Washington,” by 30 percent. “Second and I think this is dramatic,” Luntz says, “42 percent voted against the candidate for Senate. Four out of ten voters said that it’s not that they voted for someone, it’s that they voted against someone. And the third, the American people generally want Washington and government to work together and compromise. And the message,” Luntz said, “is clear: not that you won, start to govern, start to lead and start to get things done.”

The Each American Dream/Luntz Global poll also asked “Which strategy to you want Republicans to pursue?” 50 percent of those polled said they want Republicans to “work with the President”; 30 percent want “compromise”; and only 18 percent said, “Fight the President’s agenda.”

“The number one attribute, according to the Each American Dream Survey,” Luntz said, “is frustration. So, they don’t want someone to be saying on election night, ‘No.’ There are no absolutes from today forward. And this goes for Blue states, Purple states and for Red states. It was a universal standing-up and saying: ‘No’ to what is happening, ‘No’ to the status quo.

“What they are looking for is a government that is more efficient, more effective and spends less. This is overwhelming; the top two priorities. It’s actually not changing Obamacare. It’s not ISIS. It’s not Ebola. Make government more efficient and effective, and Washington should spend less. That will give Americans faith in the economy for the future.”

Sounds like common sense to me, but only if both sides heed that message and act responsibly.

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