The election is over. Obama has been re-elected by a comfortable margin, and Congress has largely stayed the same. As I've said in previous posts, there will certainly be more analysis than anyone truly cares about coming out of this one. For one thing, the demographics that went for or against the POTUS were not surprising except for how much they helped him.
Anyway, I don't want to get into too much polling analysis on here. We'll all be sick of it by the time it's over. What I want to say now is that, even though nothing has really changed in Washington, everything's changed.
Back in 2010, when the GOP took control of the House in a big way (which they've retained, despite losing a few seats), Mitch McConnell spoke his infamous words about their priority being to deny Obama a 2nd term. We now know that they failed in this. It may not be enough to jumpstart our Congress, but it should give Republicans pause. No doubt they'll be poring over the results to see where they messed up, and how they can do better next time.
The status quo was maintained, for better or worse. I think for the better. There is no 2nd term to worry about for Obama. He can get tougher with Republicans and his poll numbers don't matter as much. Republicans, on the other hand, still have to contend with their constituents, and apparently need to make themselves more appealing to more voters. In their effort to appeal to a wider bloc of voters, they may see fit to start doing a good job in Congress. They may decide that cooperating and compromise for the good of the nation looks better on a resume for re-election than "we stuck to our guns and the whole ship sank, but we stuck to our guns just the same."
On the other hand, things could go a different way. Many of the most conservative, especially those in the Tea Party, have been expressing their belief that they failed in this election because they were not conservative enough with their ticket. This is a belief that seems to have come out of a lack of enthusiasm for the candidate and a feeling that the establishment GOP was selling out to the moderates, whom the TP despise.
So, nothing changed, but everything is different. A 2nd term Obama has nothing to lose and a whole lot to gain. Republicans in the House still have reputations to protect, and are looking at the 2014 senate races and 2016 generals as a way of taking back control of government. I think, and hope, that they realize what hyper-partisan has cost them, and I hope that they are willing and able to reconcile with their extremes and come back to the bargaining table. It will be a benefit to our nation, and to our world, to have them working together again. Time will tell.