8 August 2018

Note From Norm: The Consequences of Elections in America

Elections have consequences.

They always have in America.

From local elections all the way up to the election for President of the United States of America, who we vote for and elect to public office impacts the direction of our nation.

Americans know this.

So, too, do our enemies.  Which is why the efforts of the Russians, and others who despise Democracy, are so pernicious to the very integrity of our electoral processes.

While much is focused on what happens in Washington, D.C., the fact is, there is much more at stake in this year’s November election than who controls Congress.

According to www.governing.com there are 36 governors’ races this year.

Republicans will be defending 26 of them.

Democrats will defend nine.

And, there is one independent governor in Alaska.

Depending on who you believe there are essentially 7 toss-up seats, in mostly states where there is a Republican incumbent, or an Open seat previously occupied by a Republican.

At a state legislative level, the consequences of elections will be even more profound as those who control the State Legislature control the 2022 redistricting maps in their states after the results of the 2020 U.S. Census.

According to www.ballotpedia.org Eighty-seven of the 99 state legislative chambers in the United States are holding general elections in 2018. Heading into the 2018 elections, Republicans control 32 of the country’s 50 state legislatures, Democrats control 14, and four legislatures are split between the parties.”

And, the same website states the following with respect to municipal elections:

“Elections are being held in 49 of the 100 largest cities by population in 2018. This includes elections for 26 mayoral offices and 47 city council seats, as well as elections for county officials whose jurisdictions overlap with those cities.

In June 2018, Democrats held the mayorships in 63 of the country’s largest 100 cities, including all five of the nation’s top cities. That number of Democratic-led cities was unchanged from the end of 2017. In 2016, Democratic mayors oversaw 67 of the 100 cities.”

As a Republican I obviously have a dog in the hunt when it comes to who I believe should wield the levers of power in American government.

I think it makes a clear difference who is in charge of local, state and national government when it comes to taxes, the economy, public safety and our focus on protecting and preserving the basic freedoms and liberties we have as Americans.

Yet, policy prescriptions and holding the same values and beliefs in common are decidedly not the same.

I have no doubt that my Democratic friends believe passionately in the freedoms, liberties and ideals of America and our Democracy.

I do not challenge their passion for building a better America for all Americans.

In fact, while it is cliché and somewhat gratuitous, I readily admit that some of my best friends are Democrats.

Where my disagreement comes with my Democratic friends is not in the level of intensity of their love for America.

It has to do with the policies they support to achieve the aims that all Americans seek to achieve.

Which is why elections have consequences.

When Barack Obama and Democrats were elected to control the levels of the national government they enthusiastically moved forwarded in expanding the size and scope of the federal government in unprecedented ways.

When Donald Trump and Republicans were elected to control the levels of the national government they enthusiastically moved forward in reducing the size and scope of the federal government in unprecedented ways.

The same impact can be made at all levels of government in America – and perhaps in much more intimate and immediate ways.

The actions of Governors and State Legislatures influence so many different areas of our life it is nearly impossible to completely appreciate them.

On the other hand, the actions of City Councils, School Boards, County Boards and Mayors have a direct and immediate impact on the day-to-day life of all Americans.

Whether it is deciding how garbage will be picked up, when roads will be plowed or how resources will be allocated to public safety, public education and a host of other similar services, those local units of government have an impact that we can literally see in our daily lives.

Which is why elections have consequences.

My political leanings are well-known.  But, what is more important to me than where I stand politically is ensuring that every American – Democrat or Republican – Liberal or Conservative – or anywhere on the ideological or partisan spectrum – knows that they have a direct role in determining the direction of their country.

All of us, in every election, at every level, vote based upon our values and beliefs and by doing so will determine which direction our nation will go.

This is a uniquely American – uniquely democratic – system of governance that millions have fought and died for since the birth of our nation.

Elections have consequences.

They always have in America.

And, this year’s election, like every election before it, is the most important election in the history of our country for the future of America.