As one of the minority of Val Verde residents that votes; not just in the presidential election but also in primaries, primary runoffs, municipal and bond elections AND tries to convince others that voting matters it doesn’t seem like a very effective use of time and energy. The voting percentage or turnout jumped from 50.1% in 2016 to 50.3% of registered voters in 2020. Those are just of the registered voters so when you add in those that refuse to even register and are eligible, the non voters actually won in November.
Whether you think they matter or not, Elections DO have consequences. Even though Texas is still Red (Republican) and strong gains were made by Trump voters in the traditionally Blue (Democrat) border counties. The Dem party’s focus on urban centers to turn Texas Blue just didn’t work out and we are in for another Republican dominated legislative session in Austin. Val Verde is represented by two Democrats in Rep. Eddie Morales of Eagle Pass and Sen. Roland Gutierrez of San Antonio but they will be in the minority and will have to rely on skill and compromise to move their goals and agendas forward.
In Austin with a GOP lead house and senate we are in for another round of redistricting that will have consequences for the next decade along with court cases that will probably last as long if 2010 taught us anything. The budget will be tight due to the pandemic so priorities will really show through as we go through a lean two years before the leg meets again in 2023.
The biggest consequence of elections is of course at the national level. The state of Georgia was in the national spotlight as a runoff election put two Democrats in the senate for a 50/50 tie and the winning Vice President who presides over the Senate as the tie breaking vote. Along with a democratic house, President Biden will have two precious years to push though some key legislation.
Looking back to 2008 we were in a similar situation with Biden as the vice president and the decision was made to push through the Affordable Care Act without any Republican support. This was landmark legislation that many citizens are now grateful for but it had a huge impact on the 2010 elections where Obama lost support in congress and was essentially blocked for the next six years. If you want details, he wrote a 768 page book that explains it all in excruciating detail. Likewise we need to keep our eye on the 2022 elections and how they will impact the next two to six years.
We can continue to be as polarized as we have been in a long time or we can strive for the days of Viva Reagan when you could still find Pro Choice Republicans and 2nd Amendment Democrats and nobody got canceled for it. Our discussions resemble more what I think Protestant and Catholics had in the 17th century instead of a civil discourse where we can agree to disagree but still respect the person that holds those beliefs. The religious wars of the 1600’s lasted 30 years, hopefully we can learn from our mistakes a little quicker. Although I would be curious what those memes would be like if Facebook was around back then.