Ryan Hendrickson, Staff Writer
State and national government elections were held on November 4. With the leadership of the U.S. Senate, the House of Representatives and the New York State legislature at stake, the results of Tuesday’s elections will define the path that the country and each state will take for the next two years. When the voting stations closed and the votes were counted, the Republican Party proved victorious across the whole nation.
Republicans command a majority in both houses of the national government as well as the State Senate. Many believe Democrats and Republicans will continue to refuse to work together. With the executive branch and the legislative branch divided, doubts are beginning to arise as to whether this new government will be able to address any of the problems confronting the nation.
In New York State, the election results were a mixed victory for the Republicans and Democrats. Andrew Cuomo was able to handily defeat Republican challenger Rob Astorino and maintain his position as governor. However, many are wary of Governor Cuomo because of his refusal to ban fracking. Citizens are also concerned by an ongoing investigation by the Attorney General regarding accusations of corruption in the Governor’s Office.
In another victory for the Democrats, the State Assembly remains a Democratic stronghold, while the Republicans gained complete control of the State Senate.
At the national level, Republicans have been able to call the election results a definitive victory. The Republicans have complete control of the Senate while retaining control of the House of Representatives. This shift indicates growing dissatisfaction with the Obama presidency, as well as increasing frustration with the federal government in general. This is made evident by the much-advertised fact that the most recent Congress has been the least productive in U.S. history, leading to the lowest Congressional approval ratings in history at just 14 percent. However, with the presidency in the hands of the Democrats, it is unlikely that the productivity of Congress will increase dramatically.
Despite the victories of Republican politicians across the country, there were some resounding policy successes in regards to initiatives often associated with the Democrats. In Washington D.C. and Oregon, voters approved measures that will lead to the legalization of small amounts of marijuana for personal use. In Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota, bills were passed that will raise the statewide minimum wage. And finally, Colorado and North Dakota voted down policies that would have made it nearly impossible for women to have access to abortion clinics.
Although the Republican Party was able to declare Tuesday’s election a victory, the people’s support is likely attributed to frustration with the government rather than the desire to end progressive policies. With that being said, the fact remains that new politicians must find a way to overcome partisanship so the government can effectively address the numerous issues that concern the people, including climate change, fracking and immigration. If politicians are to take anything away from these election results, it will hopefully be that the people are tired of their lack of efficiency and effectiveness.