Aftermath: Who won, who lost, why, and what do we do now?by Phil Picardi, Minnesota Public Radio,
Hart Van Denburg, Minnesota Public Radio
Today on the MPR News Update, DFLers elect new leaders of their now-in-the-majority state House and Senate caucuses. The battle over same-sex marriage may just be beginning. Hennepin County talks about what went wrong with some voting machines. And Minnesota job seekers, employers and health reformers talk about the impact of Tuesday's vote.
POLL POSITION: Voters across Minnesota turned out in record numbers on Election Day -- more than 2.9 million people. For the most part, the voting process worked fine. But in Minneapolis, there were long lines and balky ballot-counting machines that city officials say they're going to upgrade.
MORE WORK: The theme of the "United for Our Future" post-election rally in St. Paul yesterday was gratitude for Minnesotans who voted to defeat a state constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage. Speakers there said the results show society is changing, but cautioned that there is still more work to do for gay-rights activists.
CHANGING MINDS: For weeks, Bud Johnston, of Pipestone, waffled between his belief that voters should provide government identification at the polls and his question about whether altering the state's constitution permanently in that regard was a good idea. Like many others, he eventually voted against the voter ID ballot question. Here's why.
NO REPEAL:This week's election eliminated the possibility of a Mitt Romney-led repeal of the Affordable Care Act. And staunch Republican opponents of the law, who refused to work on an insurance exchange, no longer control the Minnesota Legislature. The DFLers now in charge will likely remove GOP roadblocks to completing a cornerstone of the law, a state-managed marketplace for private insurers. But it won't be such smooth sailing in other states.
STILL JITTERY: We heard a lot before Election Day about how businesses were reluctant to ramp up activity, despite the recovering economy, because they were unsure about the political direction of the country. So with the election over and Democrats in control of the Minnesota Legislature and the White House, the business community is ready to forge ahead, right? Well - it's complicated.
BUZZ KILL: Wall Street reacted to President Obama's decisive win with a sell-off. Markets closed down more than 2 percent, with the Dow plunging more than 300 points. The president's re-election wasn't responsible for all the turmoil today, but Wall Street was definitely rooting for Romney. Marketplace reports that his donations from finance, insurance and real estate nearly tripled President Obama's.
FISCAL CLIFF In his victory speech Tuesday night in Chicago, Obama signaled his desire to find a compromise over the looming 'fiscal cliff' budget battle. He said the priorities for his second term include deficit reduction. Eighteen hours later at the Capitol, House Speaker John Boehner offered the president a tentative olive branch.
STAYING FOCUSED: Regardless of the Wall Street support disparities, Obama won re-election exactly the way his campaign had predicted: running up big margins with women and minorities, mobilizing a sophisticated registration and get-out-the-vote operation, and focusing narrowly on the battleground states that would determine the election. It wasn't always exciting. But it worked.
DEMOGRAPHIC GAP: According to initial exit polls, Romney, who backed hard-line immigration measures, came away with 27 percent Hispanic support, less than any presidential candidate in 16 years and a sharp drop from the 44 percent claimed by President George W. Bush in 2004 after he embraced immigration reform. Now, the GOP's continued relevancy hinges on whether it can figure out a way to win some of those voters.
DIVIDED NATION: After the most ideologically polarized election in years, Obama's assertion Wednesday morning that America is "more than a collection of red states and blue states" was more of an aspiration than a snapshot of where the country stands.
MNGOP LESSONS: Marty Seifert, a former Republican state representative, minority leader in the Minnesota House and one-time candidate for governor talked about the lessons the party should learn from the election with Morning Edition host Cathy Wurzer.
OPEN DOOR: Anyone looking for a real winner from Tuesday's legislative elections in Minnesota need only look to the administration of Gov. Mark Dayton, which for two years has called for new taxes on the state's highest earners without much success. DFL control of the Legislature opens the door to Dayton's agenda.
WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS: Soon, we will have to return to our lives, start speaking to our neighbors again, and go back to posting cat videos on the Internet. The sweating and shakes and dry heaves you may be experiencing are normal. Still hitting F5 at fivethirtyeight.com? Fight through it! It takes time and this process cannot be rushed. It's dangerous to come to the surface quickly.
Trouble is, when you extricate yourself from the election's grasp, there's this:
DYING MUSIC: Management of the Minnesota Orchestra today cancelled all concerts through Dec. 23. In a release Orchestra Board Chair Jon Campbell cited lack of progress in contract negotiations with musicians who management locked out on October 1st. Management cancelled all concerts through Thanksgiving at that time.
But then, there's this:
SOCIALLY SAVED: Last week, a Reddit user posted a comic she made, after a male friend took a home-pregnancy test and it turned up positive. Funny stuff, indeed. That's when some other Reddit users -- including medical students -- told her that her friend should get checked for testicular cancer. He did. It was. She drew another comic (language warning).
Phil Picardi is a newscaster for MPR News, and occasionally fills in as Morning Edition host when Cathy Wurzer is away.