Tuesday’s midterm election results were both exciting and historic for conservative Americans across the nation. With wins that included: gaining control of the US Senate, increasing the House majority to 243, growing Republican governorships to 31, and flipping 7 state legislative chambers to have control in 66 of the 99, the GOP has much to celebrate. That said, what do these results mean given the low approval ratings of government officials, a marginally low voter turnout rate and a still deeply divided government?
It means opportunities, but not certainties.
Now is not the time for the GOP to sit back and simply congratulate themselves. Now is the time to assess what worked and where improvements can be made for the future. It may seem premature to look to the 2016 campaign season, but it will be here before we know it and everything done between now and that first primary lays the foundation for success or failure. Most Americans are extremely frustrated and sick of the politics played by Washington, and are eager for real policy change. Conservative policies of fiscal responsibility, limited government, and personal liberty obviously resonate with Americans otherwise Republicans would not have won in traditionally liberal states. The challenge now is to both implement those policies and maintain a message that Americans both hear and understand. Not an easy task in a society driven by sound bites, and with a President that made it clear he would use Vetoes and Executive Orders when Congress passed anything he felt was not appropriate. Those individuals returning to or taking office for the first time in January have a responsibility to work for change, not just talk about it. It is past time to stand up and stand out.
While the bulk of the challenge lies with those elected to office, we as citizens still have work to do as well. We have both the privilege and responsibility of holding our elected officials responsible for the jobs they were hired to complete. Voting is great, but civic participation does not end there; it actually begins. Now comes the time where you have to take the effort to follow up on what your elected officials are actually doing. Are they keeping their promises? Are they working in the best interest of their constituency? Do their policy initiatives make sense? When they do great! When they don’t, take the time to let them know. While calling or writing a letter takes a few minutes, most elected officials have actively monitored social media accounts where you can quickly send a post or tweet. If you are not one to actively follow political news find a friend who is and they will be happy to help you stay informed.
The opportunities that Tuesday’s results opened are ones that party leaders, elected officials, and we as citizens share. If anyone of us drops the ball a door could potentially close, but if we all do our part and work together the opportunities for America’s future are boundless.