Column: Election trends moving forward

(Lafayette) Journal and Courier

Last week’s election will reverberate for a long time. Here’s a look at national trends.

  • The experts say the president and Congress will work things out because Republicans won’t be so focused on getting the president out of office and the fear of impending damage that can be done by the fiscal cliff. But how much will that sway the just-say-no crowd, including our own congressman, Todd Rokita? And has Bill Clinton taught Obama how to be schmoozer-in-chief? Can he at least call or associate more and pay proper due to his own party? Will he feel more comfortable in his second term leading on key issues instead of sitting back and letting it all be fleshed out by others?
  • A big battle is looming in the Republican Party. Some will say the party needs to be even more conservative. But the changes in demographics say that may not be a winning formula. Can Republicans become the conservative, pay-as-you-go party on fiscal matters and not push the social issues to their detriment? When Gov. Mitch Daniels floated that idea, some conservatives were not happy.
  • We are a divided nation. Not just North and South, conservative and liberal, white and minority. The other divide is between younger and older people on some big social issues. Young people are overwhelmingly more supportive of gay marriage and, to some degree, the legalization of marijuana. That was evident in this year’s election results across the country. This is momentum that will only grow in years to come. It is a matter of when, not if.
  • The other segments that will continue to grow in power are minority blocs, especially Latinos. Expect immigration reform to be a major issue and some Latino candidates on the 2016 presidential tickets.
  • As Republicans are asked to compromise on tax increases, will the president compromise on Wall Street reform and the push for green energy that Republicans think have gone too far, too fast? Will the Keystone XL Pipeline get another serious look? How will recent storms and climate change be weighed against becoming ene rgy independent?
  • President Obama would be smart to pay his first visit as president to Israel, if for nothing else but symbolism. And speaking of symbolism, he would be smart to send uber-political genius David Axelrod off to the private sector or the talk show circuit with James Carville. It is time to govern; Obama has been in his last election.
  • Finally, what’s the over/under date for the first filing to run for president in 2016? Eww, that just gave us the shivers.

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