Print Edition: November 14, 2012
Fresh from their trip to America, Sean and Nick tackle to results of last week’s U.S. election. Obama won the top office in the land, but Republicans still control the House of Representatives. Does this mean four more years of legislative gridlock? Without a second term to worry about, will Obama take the gloves off? How will the re-elected president work to become leader of the whole country again, rather than just the folks who voted for him? Stay tuned. AmPol starts . . . right now.
Nick: Four more years! Four more years!
Sean: Of what?! Of what?! Of what?! All joking aside, I am mildly relieved Romney didn’t win, albeit more disappointed that there was much less drama than we had hoped for (ie. NASCAR explosions).
Nick: So much for our apocalyptically-entertaining split ticket result.
Sean: Too bad. Although, the popular vote was fairly close, as it always is. This brings to mind the fact that historically there were no candidates for vice-president. The runner-up in the election was given the vice-presidency. For example, in the very first presidential election, George Washington won the election quite handily, while the crotchety John Adams came in a distant second (which, unsurprisingly, got Mr. Adams into a sour mood). So, Adams was the first Vice-President – a position that he despised.
In any case, it would make some degree of sense to have the person that 49 per cent of the nation believes to be the best choice for president, be somehow involved in the leadership of the country. Obviously this would be difficult in the current political environment, but it was difficult in the political environment of George Washington’s day, too. American politics have always been somewhat polarized. Perhaps America would be greatly served if leadership from both sides of the political spectrum could learn to work together. Perhaps some degree of moderation would take place. Thoughts?
Nick: It might lend some civility to the proceedings if each candidate were reasonably sure he or she would be working with their primary opponent once the campaign was said and done. Yet I get the feeling this would make for a very tense, if not outright antagonistic relationship between the president and the VP. There would always be a certain amount of trust and good faith missing between the president and what should be his or her closest advisor.
But returning to the results, it really seemed like we were in for a much closer battle than the way things actually transpired on November 6. Once the western states started revealing the results, it was over faster than you can say, “the electoral college is a fraudulent and outdated way of selecting a president.” Luckily, Obama also won the popular vote, much to Donald Trump’s chagrin, by nearly three million votes once California’s numbers came pouring in. Still, there hasn’t been this much outcry against the electoral college system since Gore won the popular vote but lost the presidency to Bush in 2000. Do you think we’ll see a reform of the way presidents are elected before 2016?
Sean: No. I think it will take some sort of disastrous election in which no winner can be determined for months (think tie, or multiple recounts in multiple states) before the brutally-outdated system is replaced or reformed.
Nick: Abandoning the electoral college system is something I think will be met with a lot of resistance from at least some states. If each vote is to be counted at the same value, there will have to be more regulation of presidential elections on the part of the national government.
Sean: I think that what is most disappointing about these results is that we are likely to see two more years (until the next congressional elections) of more of the same. We came out with the same results as we had going in: Democrat administration, Republican-controlled House of Representatives and a Democrat-controlled Senate. I think we could draw the comparison to a minority government in Canada. Unlike Stephen Harper, Barack Obama has not been given a free hand to do what he wants – compromise will be necessary.
Check in next week as Sean and Nick discuss some of the challenges that those elected last week will face in the coming years.