It may appear that the toughest task facing the winner of Tuesday’s Presidential election would be solving our economic crisis, or lowering the unemployment rate, or even finding a way to solve the situation in Iran.
However, all of those tasks pale in comparison to the very most difficult facing the next President of the United States.
The hardest job facing Tuesday’s winner is bringing together the electorate of the United States, of which 49% will have voted against him. And not only will have they voted against the winner, most of those voters have little to no trust that the man who wins on Tuesday will do anything positive for the future of the United States.
This may not seem like an important job to some people. It may be okay to many voters that as long as the man they voted for wins, reaching out to the voters that voted for the “wrong guy” simply doesn’t matter.
However, the legacy of whoever wins Tuesday rests upon how he leaves the entire country after he is done, not just the half that voted for him.
Beyond legacy, it is also a practical matter since the great political machine that is our system of government will go on and continue long past this election. The next President of the United States must help his party try to keep the White House, or be re-elected in 2016. In order to do that, he must create a record that can be used to influence more than 51% of the electorate.
That’s not an easy job in today’s political environment. But after jobs and helping the economy, voters often cite a deep desire for the government to actually make some progress in doing something, and that progress is dependent upon real compromise.
The growing fringes of both parties hate the idea of any compromise but neither wing will see any of their agenda achieved without it. No one will win on Tuesday with a super majority of support, even if Congress unifies under one party.
There is also a practical purpose to working to unify the American electorate. An attitude of “being the President for everyone, not just who voted for me” helps to diffuse the inevitable build up in 2014 that is usually difficult for the President’s party when it comes to Congressional and Senate seats up for election. If the President works to unify voters of all stripes, the energy against him and his party two years later should lighten.
Beyond the practical and political reasons to unify the electorate, there is a very basic reason that the next President should consider this his very first job.
The key to the success of this grand experiment that we call democracy is that no matter how bitter the battles are between candidates and parties, we all come together after the fights are done.
It’s how democracies stay strong and don’t become countries with far worse systems of government. It’s not always easy, nor is it always pretty, but we must come back together, even after the most partisan of campaigns.
It makes political and practical sense, and at the end of the day, our democracy depends upon it.
About The Blogger
– Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti also produces the Emmy winning Colorado Inside Out, hosted by Raj Chohan, on Colorado Public Television.