If we try, sometimes we just might find we get what we need

The American public has entrusted the White House to Democratic Party candidate Joe Biden.

It appears that the Republicans will at least be favored to retain a slim Senate majority. Republicans gained an estimated 8-13 seats in the House, which will retain a Democratic majority.

The turnout rate was the highest since 1900, meaning that President-elect Biden received the largest number of votes in American history. Voters, however, obviously engaged in a great deal of ticket-splitting.

Biden, for instance, walloped President Trump in Maine, but Republican Sen. Susan Collins cruised to an easy reelection. Biden prevailed comfortably in New Hampshire, but the incumbent Republican governor won reelection by 30 points and Republicans gained legislative majorities.

Partisans of both parties have plenty of things to lament.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t have anything against hyper-partisans. Some of my best friends are hyper-partisans of one party or the other.

The Founders, however, wisely foresaw the danger of faction and created a system of separation of powers and checks and balances.

The American public collectively decided to move on from the Trump administration, but through ticket-splitting decided against turning the entire power of the federal government over to a single party. The people have spoken, and their voice is imperial. Now, on to our very pressing concerns.

The pandemic continues, but thankfully, our medical professionals have become far more adept at treating the disease. We had huge problems before COVID-19 and many of them have been worsened by the pandemic, including but hardly limited to K-12 education.

Evidence regarding the academic harm of the shutdowns continues to trickle in, and the news is very bad. What many of us want is a decisive and crushing victory in our political forever war, but you can’t always get what you want.

What we need are creative solutions. For these, we need to look to the state and local leaders. Washington, D.C., to put things mildly, is not a font of productive policy innovation and has a terrible tendency to do more harm than good.

If we were to get a viable vaccine and successfully gridlock induced benign neglect out of Washington over the next few years, we would have cause for great thankfulness. When our state leaders manage to begin updating antiquated public policies for the needs of the 21st century, we will have cause for celebration.

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BY Matthew Ladner

Matthew Ladner is executive editor of NextSteps. He has written numerous studies on school choice, charter schools and special education reform, and his articles have appeared in Education Next; the Catholic Education: A Journal of Inquiry and Practice; and the British Journal of Political Science. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and received a master's degree and a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Houston. He lives in Phoenix with his wife and three children.