As I write this the day after the midterm elections, there’s a sense of relief to be able to turn on the radio or the local television station and not be bombarded with political ads. Each election cycle it seems the political ads cannot get much lower, but two years later a new low is found. I am sure you are as glad as I am that we will have relief from those political ads for a while.
If you did not get a chance to read the comments in the Nov. 5 issue of the Western Livestock Journal by Pete Crow, I would encourage you to go back to that issue and do so. Pete’s comments, titled “Dysfunctional democracy,” did a good job of laying out the current political atmosphere and the emotions felt by those in agriculture. I agree with Pete that we get to work with some of the greatest people in the world in the American agriculture sector. However, our urban cousins dramatically outnumber us and have a lot of pull when it comes to elections
Right or wrong, it’s a fact.
The 2018 election was definitely one for the books. The dust is still settling on some of the results, but so far House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats are declaring victory for taking control of the House of Representatives. President Donald Trump is declaring victory for widening the margin of control that the Republicans have in the Senate.
I do not feel confident in saying that any political party was a true victor following Tuesday night’s results. The one thing I do know is that it is all our responsibility to keep our elected officials’ feet to the fire to ensure that the campaign promises are kept and that they are working for the people of this great country; not their political party.
A lot of the races were closely contested. Some incumbents who seemed to be destined for reelection just a few short weeks ago were defeated. Some of the incumbents who seemed like they would be easy to beat pulled off victories. Despite the unique scenarios, many races throughout the country were close and show how divided our country is on the political spectrum.
In my home state of Montana, two close races highlighted this. It was no secret that our president was not a fan of the incumbent Sen. John Tester (D). The president made a record-setting four visits to Montana this past year to campaign for the Republican challenger Matt Rosendale. Another close race was in the House seat and the campaign ads on each side were nasty. As the votes came in, the lead went back and forth until late Wednesday when the races were called for the incumbents. Democratic Sen. Tester will remain at his post as well Rep. Greg Gianforte.
While listening to the victory speeches by those who won in Montana, as well as the soon-to-be Speaker of the House, Pelosi, I had some real problems with the statements made by those who won by narrow margins. A sentence that seemed to be spoken by each winner was that the “voters sent a clear message.” When races are won by mere percentage points, I don’t think that is a fair statement. I think the only thing that was clear is that people are not pleased with the career politicians who toe the party line on votes and are not taking the best interest of their constituents to heart.
One final observation from watching the election come to a close: There were numerous initiatives in each state or district that were on the ballots. Many of these would have increased taxes or resulted in more government regulation. I found it interesting that many voters leaned to the conservative side, voting down these initiatives, whether it be higher taxes for tobacco or stricter government regulations for oil and gas. At the same time, many of the same voters elected liberal candidates. In my opinion these actions seemed to contradict themselves.
To close—it’s another round of elections that has come and gone. There will be politicians, political groups, special interests, etc. who claim victory. With the way the House and the Senate shook out, the only thing for certain is that there will be more positioning and headbutting happening in D.C. for the next two years. I hope those newly elected or those who won reelection will look hard at those of us they represent and work diligently to improve our great nation. — DEVIN MURNIN