Election Day has come and gone, but commentary and postmortem analysis continues to pour in. With America teetering on a fiscal cliff and many social reform issues being debated, political analysts are chewing over not just how the election was won and lost, but also where the nation, the president and the Republican Party are headed in the coming months and years.
Much has been said about partisan gridlock in Washington, but in a column for the New York Times, Jonathan Haidt suggests that humans are generally good at uniting against whatever threat is most imposing. But as Thomas Friedman says in his column, it seems that during the last four years the most pressing threat was the opposite political party.
Haidt suggests four concerns that should unite political parties against issues rather than parties, including rising entitlements, rising temperatures, rising inequality and rising births to unmarried women. Similarly, Friedman reminds us that the "country is starved for practical, bipartisan cooperation, and it will reward politicians who deliver it and punish those who don't."
But second terms have a history of being unkind to American presidents, according to L.A. Times writer Doyle McManus.
The real question for McManus is, "Can Barack Obama escape this trend?" and he is not optimistic.
On the other hand, however, an article by Washington Post columnist David Ignatius explains that by thinking big and finding "strategies and pressure points that can break the gridlock in Congress," Obama can boldly guide America through the next four years.
Many Republicans are questioning the GOP's campaign strategy, with much of the post-Election Day discussion centering on why Mitt Romney lost. Given the high unemployment rates and the poor American economy, many analysts are surprised Romney couldn't pull off a victory.
Jacob Weisberg, in an article for Slate, explains that it was Romney's inability to "separate himself from the Republican Party's growing extremism" that lost the election.
Joel Kotkin, executive editor of NewGeography.com, provides his own commentary that sweeps away the gesticulations and dives into the heart of why Romney lost the election a failure to appeal to Hispanics and Millennials and what the Republican Party will need to do differently in 2016.
In an interview on NPR, Michael Gerson of the Washington Post claims that the GOP couldn't "drive up the white vote high enough" and dismissed minority sentiment and some key demographics, specifically with Hispanics.
Still, New York Times columnist Ross Douthat goes on to say that the GOP's "failure can be blamed on their standard-bearer, Mitt Romney, who mostly ran as a kind of vanilla Republican instead of showing the imagination necessary to reinvent his party for a new era."
National Review Online writer Jonah Goldberg told NPR that the Republican Party's close scrutiny and "internal incrimination" will force necessary discussion about what adjustments need to be made to GOP ideology for 2016.