Voters have spoken, and the nation once again has chosen its leaders for the next few years. The continuation of the great American experiment in self-government continues, and that is worth celebrating.
As author and academic Anne Applebaum wrote recently in The Atlantic, “In truth, the argument about who gets to rule is never over, particularly in an era when people have rejected aristocracy, and no longer believe that leadership is inherited at birth or that the ruling class is endorsed by God.”
But whether that leadership becomes enduring is up to those in whom the voters have placed their trust.
We congratulate Mitt Romney, Rob Bishop, Chris Stewart and John Curtis for their victories Tuesday night, earning the right to represent Utahns in various capacities in Washington. We likewise congratulate the winner in the state’s 4th Congressional District, whose identity was not clear at press time, as well as winners in all races, local and state, that were on Tuesday’s ballots.
The question now for these folks is, what will your term in office bring?
It’s a question many Americans may be asking as the excitement of Election Day transitions quickly into the stark reality of Wednesday morning.
The New York Times published a piece Tuesday in which voters of all political stripes were interviewed and asked about their feelings as Election Day approached. The one word virtually all of them had in common was “anxious.”
Indeed, the nation has been in an anxious mood seemingly for years now, with the level of anxiety growing only stronger since 2016. The anxiety exists on both sides of the immigration debate, health care, taxes, foreign policy, the environment and — especially important for Utahns — the management of public lands. The list seems never-ending.
That anxiety may be an outgrowth of the winner-take-all attitude of so many partisans and interest groups. The tug-of-war of leadership in the House and Senate seems to hover precipitously on one side or another of Republican or Democratic majorities, but too many Americans seem to view slim majorities as battering rams for precious policy victories that are all too easily reversed when the other side regains the advantage.
It seems as if only when a leader is seriously ill or serving his last term, as was the case with the late Sen. John McCain or outgoing Sen. Jeff Flake, two Arizona Republicans, do Americans see efforts toward bipartisanship or compromise on major issues.
We believe many average Americans are not part of the purely partisan divisions that define modern politics. They long for compromise solutions, greater comity and statesmanship in Washington. Others would be happy to uncock their partisan weapons if their favorite politicians led the way.17 comments on this story
The question, then, for Utah’s victorious candidates is what happens now? Will you work toward and support compromise solutions to major issues, even if that means not achieving every plank of your party’s platform? Will you listen to what your political opponents have to say and seriously consider whether any part of it has merit?
Politicians should never compromise on key principles or abandon core philosophies. We expect Utah’s leaders to work hard toward the good of the state. But good governance often requires compromise, and it always should encompass good graces and temperate behavior.
We hope this week’s winners help make the United States a little less anxious by the time their terms end.