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U.S. Presidential Election: Gridlock as Usual?

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U.S. Presidential Election: Gridlock as Usual?

The nationwide vote revealed the divide between liberals and conservatives in America has never been greater.

Learn the why behind the headlines.

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Democratic President Barack Obama was re-elected during one of the most hotly debated races in the history of the United States. The fierce multibillion-dollar campaigns full of scare tactics, name-calling and in-your-face ads concluded with Republican challenger Mitt Romney making a concession speech at 12:55 a.m., after almost all votes had been counted.

Approximately an hour later, Mr. Obama appeared in front of thousands of cheering spectators, many wearing T-shirts bearing his image or waving supportive placards.

“A long campaign is over,” he stated in his acceptance speech.

The relentless battle between the two candidates’ themes of “Moving Forward” and “Getting America Back on Track” may have concluded, but there is a problem—the divide between these two mindsets has never been greater.

This was evidenced through the popular vote. By the end of the night when ballots had been tallied, The Associated Press reported that 62,285,005 had come in for Mr. Obama and 58,907,640 for Mr. Romney—meaning that the president-elect gained 50.6 percent of the popular vote and his opponent gained 47.9 percent.

“Not in the past century has the country gone so long without giving a firm hold on power to one party,” USA Today reported in the article “A nation moving further apart.”

“Consider the narrow margins in the presidential race. Since 1920, when women got to vote, there hadn’t been more than three elections in a row without a candidate winning the White House by more than 10 [percentage] points. But in the seven elections since 1984, not a single candidate managed to win by double digits.

“Tuesday’s election was likely to be the third time in the past four elections that the race was decided by fewer than four points. Before that, only four elections in the past 100 years had been decided by such a narrow edge.

“The House and Senate also have been more closely divided over the past two decades than at any point since 1920. In eight of the past nine elections, the minority party was able to garner at least 190 seats in the 435-seat House. In the previous 40 elections, that sort of strong standing for the opposition was the exception, occurring only 13 times.”

Votes from women and minorities were a deciding factor. The women’s vote was considered one of the most important target segments for each campaign. Stump speeches and debates geared toward females were designed to activate this demographic. As a result of the push, an overwhelming 55 percent of women voted for Mr. Obama and 44 percent for Mr. Romney, according to MSNBC exit polls.

Across the country, 93 percent of blacks, 71 percent of Hispanics, and 60 percent of those 18 to 29 voted for Mr. Obama.

Strikingly, the poll numbers revealed a deep chasm between modern ideals and traditional values. Among unmarried women, 67 percent voted for Mr. Obama, with 53 percent of married women voting for Mr. Romney. For those who identified themselves as “gay, lesbian or bisexual,” 76 percent voted for the incumbent and 22 percent for the challenger. Among those who attend religious services once a week, including conservative Catholics and evangelical Christians, 58 percent chose Mr. Romney and 41 percent Mr. Obama.

An editorial in The Atlanta-Journal Constitution showed that hot-button social issues passed across the nation, stating that “voters in Maine and Maryland approved measures legalizing gay marriage. In Washington, a measure to legalize gay marriage also appears to have passed. In Minnesota, voters rejected a measure that would ban gay marriage. In Wisconsin, voters elected the nation’s first openly gay person to the Senate. And in Colorado and Washington, voters easily approved the recreational use of marijuana.”

Yet the nation elected more conservative governors and kept the Republican majority for the House of Representatives.

Despite the near 50/50 split between the two sides of the country, President Obama confidently stated in his acceptance speech that such differences would be overcome.

“I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America.”

Mr. Romney feels similarly, as he stated in his concession speech: “…we look to Democrats and Republicans in government at all levels to put the people before the politics. I believe in America. I believe in the people of America.”

Before the election, the United States desperately hoped that it could achieve true unity—and rally citizens behind one vision for the future. Instead of a decisive victory for either side, however, the vote only brought a continuation of America’s divisive political landscape.

Nation of Disagreement

With all ballots counted, a pattern emerged. Reuters stated: “Americans chose to preserve the status quo of divided government in Washington. Obama’s fellow Democrats retained control of the Senate and Republicans kept their majority in the House of Representatives, giving them power to curb the president’s legislative ambitions on everything from taxes to immigration reform.”

The Washington Post wrote: “The irony is that the most expensive election in American history produced a status-quo outcome. Now the question is whether it will change the status quo that has governed Washington not just during Obama’s presidency but for most of the past decade.

“Obama will confront a daunting agenda, from an economy that is still far less robust than he had promised it would be to the looming problem of debt, deficits and the growth of federal entitlement programs that produced an ugly battle during his first term. The ‘fiscal cliff’ looms in December, which either will force action and agreement or define a new landscape of disagreement.”

A Christian Science Monitor headline read, “Obama wins, but has anything changed?”

The same problems trouble the nation: economic woes, high unemployment rates, terrorism threats, and immigration concerns, among others.

In the past, when the United States faced such monumental challenges, it faced them together. World War II is the perfect example. Citizens united, living on rationed supplies of sugar, butter and meat—even saving bacon grease to be used in munitions factories. In addition, the nation bought about $2.35 trillion (in today’s dollars) worth of bonds to support the war effort!

This is the kind of unity sorely lacking today.

Inside Out

The United States must take a long hard look at itself in the mirror—both liberals and conservatives.

Before becoming the 16th president, Abraham Lincoln warned that the kind of partisanship thinking from within being witnessed today can start a nation down a path of becoming weakened to the point of total collapse.

In a lecture in Springfield, Illinois, in 1838 he stated, “All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.

“At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide” (Abraham Lincoln: His Speeches and Writings).

Summed up, Lincoln said the only way such a superpower as America with democratic ideals and processes could be destroyed was if it happened by those inside the nation—by its own citizens.

During Lincoln’s time, this almost occurred. Today, his words echo the need for Americans to once again realize the dangerous territory they are entering. After the election, 72,441 signed a petition to, “Peacefully grant the State of Texas to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government.” Just a week later, the total number of states with citizens who had signed similar petitions for secession totaled 19.

Examining current trends reveals a United States on the decline, confronting an overextension of its waning military, a weakening of its foreign influence, and the worst economic downturn in almost a century—in part because of its own inability to work together and turn to the only Source who would have provided them with the prosperity they desire.

As a result, the country’s future and that of its people are at a crossroads.

Yet while the election cannot bring both sides of the country together, a roadmap to true unity for Americans—and a path to regain national prominence—is found within the pages of the Bible.

For a clear and thorough explanation of what God’s Word says about the future of the United States—including how the country can obtain true unity—request a free copy of David C. Pack’s eye-opening and inspiring book America and Britain in Prophecy.

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