In the election on Nov. 2, the citizens of the United States provided that they wanted a change. The state of Pennsylvania was a perfect example of the attitude the voters had all across the country. Of the four candidates that were on the campus ticket, no Democrat won. It did not matter whether they had 25 years or no years of experiences. It did not matter if the candidate was a decorated member of the Navy or someone who was recognized for his contributions to the Pittsburgh area.
The candidates that won on Tuesday were the new Governor Tom Corbett, new Senator Pat Toomey, new Congressmen and former Mayor of Hazelton Lou Bartletta, and State Representative David Millard. Throughout almost all the elections, the results were considered a blowout. The only election that went into the late night was Pat Toomey and Joe Sestak for Senator. The election ended in a 51% to 49% split, showing that even in the close elections, the Democrats could lose. The Republicans were thought to be done after the beating that they suffered in 2008 and completely turned it around for this past election.
The brightness in the election was the movement of the Tea Party falling behind and not winning many seats. Christine O’Donnell was running for Delaware Senate seat and lost. She was criticized for appearing on Bill Maher’s show and talking of dabbling in witchcraft. She also took some flack in a debate where she began arguing about separation of church and state. She continued to argue that there was no separation between government and religion. While it said no where the words “separation of church and state,” it does however say in the Constitution, under the Establishment Clause, that the government will not have a state religion. The candidate that did win that many people have problems with is Ran Paul because of his harsh criticism of the President on wanting to dismantle agencies of the government.
What I have noticed from the attitude on campus is that either many students did not care about the election or did not even know that there was an election. Throughout the day, while I was campaigning for all the Democratic candidates, I would frequently stop in to see the how many people voted. With eight hours of standing outside and the polls being open for thirteen hours, only about 400 students got out and voted. A number that was substantially lower then that of the 2008 election.
The reasons that I think that many students on campus did not think to vote were fairly sad. Students that I approached gave me reasons for not voting like I did not register in time. In fairness to the students, there was not as much as an effort to get people register but there were enough places around campus and online to register. The next excuse that students gave to me was that they live somewhere other then Pennsylvania. Even with that being said, that person could still send in an absentee ballot or register in Pennsylvania and vote here. Students do not think about how long or the effects that the local government will have on their time here.
The worst excuse that I heard from students was that they did not know anything about the candidates. I do not expect for people to be experts about politics, but even a little knowledge is important. A student could find out which candidate that they can most relate to and make a decision based off of the information. There are many different websites that they can find concrete information about their voting records, views on issues, and plans to better improve the country.
The reason that the country is angry about politics is because this country is very reactionary. With the people that voted, they were angry that they did not see a different America. They expected after President Obama was elected, things would instantly change. While there was a sense of change that took over the country, I figured things were going to still be bad. President Obama took office with a 6.7% unemployment rate and it is now at 9.8%. The housing market has collapsed and we are still fighting a war in Afghanistan. Through eight years of a Republican president, the country sent a message to the President that they want something different. That something different was the same thing that America got rid of two years ago.
The gleaming point that I can pull from this past elections was when President Obama was elected, he brought this idea that he can work from both sides of the aisle. If that means that Republicans take the credit for restoring the country, then I would be pleased. What can be seen is that there is a hole in the system that both parties need to work together to fix.
Image Credit: http://www.politico.com/2010/maps/