Staff Editorial: Elections over, but effects still to come

Recent elections reveal more of the same in California and some surprises nationwide, but voters’ duties are not over.

Chimes Staff, Writer

After the usual pre-election tumult, American voters were heard Tuesday night as polls closed across the nation and results of the midterm elections trickled in. But while at least 10 states replaced their Democratic governors and senators with Republicans, California stood firmly against the red tide.

California elects democrats to key offices

Democratic candidate Jerry Brown was welcomed back to office for his third non-consecutive term thanks in large part to the Latino vote and some blunders in the Whitman camp. Nearly 60% of Brown’s lead came from his decisive 31 point victory in Los Angeles County, home to 25% of the state's voters.

The senate race was not so clean-cut. Republican Senate candidate Carly Fiorina looked poised for a possible upset over incumbent Barbara Boxer, but California again stuck with the familiar. The only non-incumbent who managed to get elected in the state was new lieutenant-governor and Bay Area Democrat Gavin Newsom. Newsom replaces a Republican in his seat as a popular rising star in the left-wing. It is clear that California is still on the “left” coast.

Not so fast, one might say. California just failed to legalize marijuana, and in the election two years ago, banned homosexual marriage outright. Sure sounds like a conservative state.

But while California voted in Democrats, much of the rest of the nation was experiencing massive upheaval, ousting Democrat after Democrat and putting the “GOP” decisively in control of the House and just two seats shy of a 50-50 Senate. Had the relatively close races in Colorado and California gone red rather than blue, the Democrats would’ve lost an impressive eight senate seats.

Americans vote for change in Congress

Americans have sent a clear message to Congress which even President Obama had to acknowledge, calling the massive turnover a “shellacking.” Republican John Boehner, the new House minority leader, has promised that the new majority will be the voice of the American people.

Other states have shuffled people around. After its courts legalized gay marriage, Iowa just voted all three of its state supreme court judges off the bench who were up for reelection. Russ Feingold — Democratic Wisconsin senator since 1992 — lost his first ever re-election bid. The rest of the country is fading quickly to the political right.

So why has California stayed true blue? Take a look at their selections. California, for all its cultural moving and shaking, doesn’t want fresh faces in government.

California prefers familiar candidates in office

Barbara Boxer has been warming her senate seat since “E. T: The Extraterrestrial” was originally in theaters (1982), and Jerry Brown already sat in California’s gubernatorial seat way back when Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” first aired on the radio (1974). Brown, in his first term, was California’s youngest governor to date— and at 72 will be its oldest when he takes office Jan. 3, 2011.

Meanwhile, California’s cost of living, taxation rates and utility costs all remain among the highest in the country, and public school performance and public safety numbers are lacking as well. The same politicians over and over again have not been working.

History remains key for this generation of voters

But as long as people remain ignorant of history’s lessons, change for California looks unlikely. An upcoming generation of voters finds the glut of available information bewildering. The truth can be hard to find, especially without the lens of history to filter patterns. Many students, even at Biola’s own campus, choose not to vote because they don’t have time to do their research— even though most agree that voting is essential, and Christians must not abandon their role in civil government.

So while politics remains a convoluted, often discouraging topic, this generation must not give up on them easily. Don’t believe all the ads on TV. Do your own research and know that politics haven’t ended because this year’s elections are over. They have really only begun. Watch what the candidates start to do in office. Learn as much as you can about the past. Think critically about the issues. This is our future. California needs its youth to look to the past before dictating its present.

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