A very important point to keep in mind is we are not fighting an enemy, we are competing with opponents. The Republicans are not evil, they don’t hate America, and they are not out to destroy the middle class. They have a different approach on fundamental questions, but that is why we have elections, to let the voters pick which approach they think will work best.
Some will claim that the Republicans won because they lied, and Cory Gardner in particular did lay out some whoppers. But we dems happily elected Bill Clinton twice and he is a congenital liar. We dems were fine with the “you can keep your insurance” lie as it got the insurance bill passed (and anyone who understood the bill knew at the time that was a lie). Yes politicians lie. On both sides. Always have, always will. That is not what won the election.
We have some fundamental differences. Everyone has an opinion of when a fetus becomes a human being. I think all of us would view aborting a healthy 8-1/2 month fetus to be tantamount to murder. We all have a judgment as to what point in the pregnancy that fetus becomes a person. And there is no science or other means to declare a clear point because it’s fundamentally a personal choice. By that measure, someone who views personhood as occurring at the point of conception has a view as valid as any other. And if you hold that belief, then voting for the person who will stop abortion, regardless of their other beliefs, is a logical choice.
Our culture believes that our country was built almost solely on free enterprise. (It wasn’t, government has been a large part of our success from land grants for railroads to the Internet.) We all see the jobs and growth that come from the private side from a single independent coffee shop to Exxon (Walmart may be mostly part-time minimum wage jobs, but Exxon provides a large number of very well paid jobs.) A booming private sector is the best way, and the only long term sustainable way, to grow the economy. This approach has some major structural issues, those issues also are not fully proven. So taking the view that taxes (and services) should be reduced to leave the private sphere with additional income is again, a reasonable and logical choice.
Our K-12 educational system is a mess, and the money poured in has increased at about double the rate of inflation for the past 30 years. With no measurable increase in outcomes. The educrats have a million rationalizations, some of which are valid. But for many people, when the choice is continue with an approach that clearly does not work and try something else. They will vote to try something else. And again, while the proposals put forward by the right are, in my opinion, unlikely to work better, that doesn’t mean I’m right. I think in this case many voters aren’t in favor of the specifics proposed by the right, but they’re willing to take a chance because they know stay the course will not work. As we don’t know what will happen with these changes, again, it’s a reasonable point of view.
And then we have the giant hit faith in the government has taken. We’ve had 14 years of rank mis-management from the White House. From “heck of a job” Brownie to General “you want to see a doctor now?” Shinseki. An intruder makes it halfway through the white house and we’re supposed to believe the Obama Administration can do anything well? Yes there is great distrust by most voters in the ability of the government to do anything competently. That’s a reasonable conclusion based on what we have seen. Many of us look at the parts that run well (or at least they’ve got their problems well hidden) and are hopeful that the government can effectively address issues. We’re the glass is 1/3 full optimists. But the glass is 2/3 full pessimists have an equally valid viewpoint. And so when they vote for the person who says let’s get government less involved because all it does is fuck things up, that’s a very legitimate point of view.
Then there’s the economy. All the news stories, and the Democratic speeches talk up how we’ve fully recovered. Except we haven’t. The total numbers look good. But the economy has become much more unequal and so for the 98% out there who didn’t gain in the great rebalancing of the economy, things are worse. When people hear that “baby we’re back” and they see that it’s worse for them, for their kids, for their friends, then they see a system that has abandoned them. The Democrats in Washington have spent the last 4 years with a policy of minimize the changes (damage) from Republican proposals. A system that isn’t working for people, and politicians running on a platform of minimal change – again voting for a different approach is a reasonable and logical decision.
This administrative ineptitude and lack of a compelling alternative for the economy is also why, in my opinion, the voters wanted to vote against Obama. Every way they could with every vote they cast. Because not only do we have these problems, he’s not trying to fix them (an occasional speech isn’t trying) and if he did get substantial legislation passed, they don’t believe he could implement it competently or quickly. This is not logical. Mark Udall is not Barak Obama. But it is understandable. It is human nature.
The bottom line is that people who voted for Republicans have a reasonable difference of opinion on what the best approach to our problems is. The Republicans elected will propose solutions we disagree with. That doesn’t mean they’re evil and doesn’t even mean they’re wrong (statistically some of their proposals will work). It means we have a difference of opinion on these issues. And that means they’re an opponent of our ideas, but not an enemy.