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The election morning-after: Now what?

November 7, 2018

Its the morning after election night. Now what?

Our government is divided and our electorate is divided and the 2018 attack ads and robocalls are still ringing in our ears.

Minnesotas new governor-elect, Tim Walz, struck a hopeful note after his race was called. Maybe, just maybe, he suggested, the next two years wont be the same partisan clown-car wreck the past two have been for America.

Walz took time out from his victory speech to thank his Republican opponent, Jeff Johnson someone he said loves this state dearly ... he was simply putting out a different vision.

We can bridge those gaps to create one Minnesota, Walz told a cheering crowd in St. Paul Tuesday night. We know there are challenges ahead of us. There have been challenges since the first people who were here, the Anishinaabe and the Dakota and the immigrant farmers and the lumberjacks and the miners and everyone else who came after them. But Minnesota has always risen to the occasion.

Seven blissfully peaceful, bipartisan hours passed between his remarks and the first presidential tweets of Wednesday morning. Followed by the first speculative news stories about whether U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar will mount a 2020 presidential run against Donald Trump.

The ballot was more than a ballot, Klobuchar said after cruising to re-election Tuesday night. It appears to me that Minnesotans voted our dreams and not our fears. We voted for common sense and not blistering words. We voted for getting things done and not gamesmanship and we voted for substance instead sub-tweets.

Democrats will control the U.S. House and the Minnesota House while Republicans held on to their Senate majorities. So maybe whats next is gridlock and government shutdowns and endless congressional investigations. Then again, the federal government shut down three times in the past year so maybe gridlock and shutdowns and endless congressional investigations are the one thing that wont change.

What comes next is going to be interesting.

Americans turned out to vote in record numbers for a midterm election, and in some races, every single one of those votes tipped the balance.

Theyre still counting ballots down in the First Congressional District in southern Minnesota, trying to figure out a winner. The Hennepin County Sheriffs race was decided by a tenth of a percentage point. Wisconsin booted its governor. Ted Cruz still has a job.

Minneapolis is sending a refugee a Muslim woman in a hijab to Congress. The Iron Range chose a Republican. The Second Congressional District elected Minnesotas first openly gay member of Congress.

Growing up, I never saw someone who looked like me in a position of leadership, Lt. Gov.-elect Peggy Flanagan, a member of the White Earth band of Ojibwe, said Tuesday night. My hope is that tonights victory shows young Native people across the state ... that anything is possible.

Thats the beauty and terror of American elections. On election night, anything is possible.

Former U.S. Sen. David Durenberger, who broke with the GOP to endorse Democrats in the 2018 cycle, watched the election results roll in with a worried eye. This year, he said, it seemed like every vote was a referendum on something more than just the names on the ballot.

I dont recall an election when I felt that every persons vote counted for something bigger than a preferred candidate. Even when it was me or an opponent, he wrote in an e-mail. Its not about who wins but about what it means to me and people I care about. Right here, in our country and the world.

Good people won their races Tuesday night. Good people lost. The good people of Minnesota are waiting to see what happens next.

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