Election aftermath: split decision ensures more of the same

Election Day has come and gone and we’re thrilled to see the extraordinary interest in the Ely area - where turnout was through the roof - and across the state and nation.
But those looking for some clarity, and a break from the political divide that exists seemingly everywhere, figure to be in for disappointment.
Voters delivered what at best could be called a split verdict Tuesday night.
Across the nation, Democrats took over the U.S. House as expected but Republicans gained seats in the U.S. Senate.
The House losses were typical for a president’s party during his first midterm and clearly not at a level suffered by recent presidents including Obama (2010) and Clinton (1994).
In Minnesota, it was more of a victory for Democrats as the party continued their winning streak in statewide elections, with crushing victories in both the governor and two U.S. Senate races, and a sweep that puts the DFL in charge of the State House.
Yet the State Senate remains in GOP hands and Republicans won a pair of close U.S. House contests, including right here in northeastern Minnesota with Pete Stauber’s win over Joe Radinovich. For only the second time in three quarters of a century, a Republican will represent our area in Congress after an odd race in which each candidate lost - and lost badly - on their home turf.2
The best evidence that the divide will continue rests in the reaction we’ve seen in political circles.
Area Republicans, while happy with the Stauber win, were slammed by the size and depth of the DFL’s Minnesota wins - which included Keith Ellison’s narrow triumph in the Attorney General’s race.
The last time a Republican has won a statewide contest was a razor-thin victory for former Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Way back in 2006. Since then, the closest anyone has come was Trump - who nearly pulled off an upset here in the last presidential election. Clearly, the GOP has some work to do, and big inroads to make in the Twin Cities and the suburbs, to ever have a chance in a statewide election.
Many Democrats, while making gains this week, seem less than giddy.
They didn’t get the “Blue Wave” that would have resulted in huge gains in the U.S. House and control of the Senate, and they lost Minnesota’s Eighth - which seems now to have a Red tint.
Nationally, they still face an uphill battle with the GOP controlling the White House, the Senate and inching toward enhancing a conservative Supreme Court majority.
What does it all mean? If you’re tired of politics, you may want to think about disconnecting.
The copper-nickel mining debate isn’t going away any time soon. While PolyMet has its permit to mine, the project is certain to face lawsuits and other obstacles, and it remains to be seen what role a new governor will play.
Twin Metals Minnesota is following right behind and Democrats beyond the Iron Range, and more than a few in our own backyard, seem poised to do what they can to stop it in its tracks or put up as many roadblocks as they can.
But the divide goes far beyond mining, as evidenced by the national debates over health care, immigration policy, guns and domestic spending.
The election didn’t really settle much of anything and we should all be ready for more of the same.
We probably won’t have our YouTube videos interrupted by as many political commercials, and the TV ads will stop and the campaign signs come down, but not for long.
The 2020 presidential campaign will start soon and odds are Minnesota’s own Amy Klobuchar will be in the fray. The U.S. Senator with Ely family roots campaigned at times in Iowa, home of the first presidential caucus, rather than her home state during the last several weeks. She’s one of many Democrats who could line up to unseat President Trump.
And before Stauber even takes office in Washington, he’ll have to look ahead to 2020.
Don’t be surprised if by as early as June, there are Democrats announcing their plans to run against him.
Perhaps it’s because of technology, social media and the 24-hour news cycle, but the political season seems to have no end.
By turning out in great numbers, even during a midterm election, voters showed they are interested and engaged.
They’ll have many chances to stay involved or even take further interest in their respective issues and causes because if this week’s results showed anything, they showed an electorate that remains very much divided.