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Editorial: Voters offer answers, raise new questions

Published 9:21am Monday, November 12, 2012

Election results serve both as the last answer to one test and the first question on the next test. Election Day 2012 is no different.

On the federal level, America’s cumulative answer to the past four years equates to support for divided government.

Yes, Democratic President Obama won re-election despite a weak economy, huge debt issues and partisan gridlock. Similarly, though, Republicans are on track to retain control of the House, and Democrats held the Senate — despite a weak economy, huge debt issues and partisan gridlock.

This divided government already knows the first test: Deciding how (or even if) they should work together to navigate the looming federal “fiscal cliff,” a budgetary combination of $400 billion in higher taxes and $100 billion in automatic cuts in military and domestic spending set to hit in January.

It must be noted that this same divided government created this cliff because of its partisan politics and budgetary ineptitude. Cliff or not, the questions and challenges only get more difficult for all of them heading toward 2014.

Minnesota voters provided several answers Tuesday that speak loudly about impatience and distaste for legislators and legislation driven largely by partisan politics.

Just look at the Legislature. Voters tossed Republican majorities in the House and Senate after two years of GOP leadership hallmarked by shuttering government and pushing constitutional amendments with no bipartisan support.

But before DFL leaders get too excited about running the legislative spending table, they must remember they lost legislative control in 2010 in large part because of that mentality.

— St. Cloud Times, Nov. 7