Almost right after the results were in at the start of this month for the US midterm elections, the commentators were delving right into the data, and trying to create a narrative about what kind of message the American public had sent to politicians in Washington.
Looking back over the last few weeks, the “settled” media consensus is that Americans have voted, expecting Republicans to lead. They want them to put their difference with Democrats in the House and Senate aside in order to achieve more. But is that right?
I can’t see how it is. Republicans are almost certainly as unpopular as Democrats (if not more so) right now. And their recent history has been to block, complain and create gridlock.
My take? Americans are happy for that to continue. They’re not big fans of Republicans all of a sudden, that’s not where this swing has come from. With a Democrat in the Oval Office and Republicans in the Hill, a combination of presidential vetoes and progress-stopping legislative debate could be what we see more of moving forward. And Americans are fine with that.
It’s not that Americans are fed up with Democrats doing things, and now want Republicans to do other stuff: they don’t want politicians doing anywhere near as much as they used to, full stop. Gridlock is probably the best way to ensure that continues.
No one specifically votes for the gridlock. But I suspect most Americans will be perfectly happy if that gridlock means the government is doing less when it comes to interfering with social and economic matters.