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Divided America Produces Divided Election Results

It was a historic election in many respects -- razor thin margins in the House and Senate, a presidential contest still too close to call the morning after the election, and the potential for a split result between the popular vote and the Electoral College.

But what the 2000 election confirmed is what we have known for several years -- America is closely divided between Republican and Democratic visions. The tightness of the presidential, House, and Senate results shows neither party has a mandate for decisive action. Men, whites, country-dwellers, and those making over $100,000 tilted toward Bush and Republicans across the country, while women, minorities, and those with modest incomes leaned in favor of Gore and Democrats.

The lesson for politicians should be clear. End the partisan wrangling in Washington. Work on bipartisan solutions to our country's problems. Don't waste our time on side issues that aren't very important. Regardless of whether Bush or Gore emerges as our next president, voters should not expect dramatic actions. The history of situations where there was a split verdict between the Electoral College and popular vote, and where the parties are evenly balanced in Congress is one of weak leadership and incremental change.

If the election aftermath degenerates into partisan bickering over the election count and possible lawsuits contesting the end result, there will be even fewer opportunities for a clear resolution of our pressing problems. Even if Republicans end up in control of the presidency, House, and Senate, it will be difficult for them to make more progress unless they decide to work cooperatively with Democrats.
Copyright 2000Karen Martin Media Services