By ROB W. ANDERSON
Though some of the furor over Tuesday night’s General Election has died down, local Democrats and Republicans remain at odds over how President Barack Obama should advance his second term.
Obama captured not only the Electoral College vote, but the popular vote as well. But that’s a nationwide tally; in Cherokee County, as in the rest of Oklahoma, Republican Mitt Romney won by a wide margin.
As of press time, final results posted by the Washington Post show Obama with 303 electoral votes, compared to challenger Mitt Romney’s 206, but the popular vote totals show the country is harshly divided. Obama tallied 50.4 percent of the popular ballots, with Romney close behind at 48. The difference separating the two candidates is 2,885,761 votes.
Romney won both Cherokee County and Oklahoma, and Cherokee County Republican Party Chairman Gary Gore is proud of that.
“Oklahoma got it right, and the nation didn’t,” said Gore. “They gave up a decent man in Romney to choose socialism.”
Gore pointed out how the country is basically divided, and that the popular vote was close. While many in the Republican Party may be reviewing strategy for the future, Gore believes it’s important to remain true to basic party principals.
“I want us to stick to our conservative principals,” said Gore. “You’ll hear a lot in the coming weeks about how the party needs to rename itself, or that maybe we need a third party to break the gridlock because neither party is going to do what needs to be done. It happens when you’ve worked really hard and you don’t win, but if we don’t stick to our principles, we’re not going to make it.”
Sen. Jim Wilson, D-Tahlequah, has fought for years for affordable health care for Oklahomans. He’s relieved the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will remain intact.
“I’m really pleased the national election went the way it did,” said Wilson. “One of my biggest concerns is health care. We’ve been trying to get health care for everyone in this country for 100 years, and by re-electing Obama and the [Democratic] majority in the Senate, we’ll get two more solid years of the Affordable Care Act. [Once it’s phased in,] that will make it as popular as Medicare. That’s what the elections are going to buy us nationally, and is most likely the reason people went ahead and voted Democrat.”
Wilson said another reason Obama’s re-election is important to him, and the Democratic Party, is the potential for U.S. Supreme Court appointments.
“There are going to be some Supreme Court appointments,” said Wilson. “I would much rather see Obama have that [responsibility] than a conservative. What we saw in the election was a real backlash on the abortion issue, which is constitutionally protected for now. What’s happened is, there’s a theme within the entire Republican Party of trying to circumvent the Constitution, disregarding women completely, and the women picked up on that, and in doing so, voted Democratic. The Republicans recognize that now, that they’re going to have to quit kicking Hispanics and women around or they won’t be re-elected.”
Wilson sbelieves Obama is in a position now to take a harder line on the budget and other issues, and said Republicans will have to make a stronger effort at bipartisanship.
“This is a good thing overall,” said Wilson. “The Republicans no longer have to try to embarrass [Obama], because he doesn’t have to run again. This is what’s wonderful about the whole thing: We don’t have a guy who can be intimidated. He can make decisions that are unpopular, because he’s working on his legacy. He can get to work on budget issues. I think he’s in good shape. [Speaker of the House John] Boehner has no choice but to work with him, and we actually increased Democrats in the House. Boehner could be obstructionist, but it will be obvious, and the people will punish him for it.”
Daily Press Facebook “friends” weighed in on the election outcome, and a couple of people indicated they wish the political divisiveness would end.
“We are the United [emphasis added] States of America, and sadly that has not been true for some time,” said Tahlequah resident Cathy Cott.
“If N.Y. Gov. Chris Christie [a Republican] and President Barack Obama can set aside their considerable differences to help the people of New Jersey, then we should expect the same from all of our elected officials – all of them. We must work together for the future of our children’s United States of America. Divisiveness and bitterness are getting us nowhere.”
Jim Lee Masters Jr. said it’s time people come together to discuss issues, rather than partisan politics.
“I don’t think this election was a come-together moment,” said Masters. “Both the left and the right have issues that do not reflect the true feelings of the everyday person. There is a need for open discussion and dimming of the partisan divide. A look at the blue state, red state map is disturbing. I sincerely hope we can work out our differences in a civil and sane action, and not have the violence we see abroad.”
Gayle Factor, a Tahlequah resident originally from Denison, Texas, was disappointed in the election outcome, and suggested red states form a new union.
“I was born and raised a Democrat,” said Factor. “With the election four ears ago, I made the decision to vote for whom I felt would do the best job. I listened carefully to all the debates and speeches that I could, and therefore chose to vote Republican. After four years, I still feel this was the right decision. Personally, I feel that Oklahoma, Texas, and all the surrounding states that voted [Republican] should form their own union; we have the resources to survive without assistance.”
Area resident Andrea Henson said she was disappointed in the statewide voter turnout for the Democrats.
“Since there are more registered Democrats than Republicans in Oklahoma, I blame laziness for ruining our state,” said Henson.
“We had the opportunity to make real change here, and we didn’t. It seems that most Democrats in Oklahoma are content to sit at home on their butts and complain about what goes on in our state, but they don’t show up at the polls to make the changes necessary for a progressive state. [I] guess it’s back to the 1950s for us for a few more years.”
Area resident Joe Brownell is concerned about what the election outcome means for the country.
“If America is truly so far gone as to re-elect the man who defies our laws and Constitution and is spending the nation into poverty, then they deserve what they get,” said Brownell. “And it won’t be more of the same. [Obama] has no future election to lose, so it will be no holds barred.”
Tahlequah resident Jennifer Russell is pleased with the outcome, saying she, too, hopes to see more unity over the next four years.
“Democrats ran a tight race that has focused on everyone: all races, all sexes, all religions, all incomes,” said Russell.
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