We are a nation of swingers. In the last 16 years, each party has had a presidential victory and taken control of Congress in what was heralded as a realignment of American politics. Now it’s happened again. House Republicans got the car keys back, to borrow Barack Obama’s overused metaphor. But it wasn’t a victory. The exit polls suggested the country threw them at the GOP in disgust: Here, you drive. Polls don’t show much affection for the new co-leaders of American politics. According to exit polls, 41 percent of voters have an favorable view of the Republican Party, four points less than President Obama. Even Tea Party members said the GOP was on “probation.” Yes, this was an election fueled by a bad economy, but American politics is also in a dizzying cycle. Now the debate changes. With the election over, we will now move on from the argument of how you should vote and start the argument over why you voted the way you did. The post-election debate matters because it will shape the motivations of lawmakers of both parties and the expectations of voters, who want them to do something but have no faith that they can do anything. In exit polls, almost 90 percent of voters said they were worried about the future.
more from John Dickerson at Slate here.