Today, the most passionate voters are either elated and beaming or distraught and anxious, perhaps even angry. The election has settled, but the dust certainly has not. The specter of competition still hangs in the air. We are sure there are some voters who woke up feeling a mix of disappointment and dread today. Whether the candidates you voted for won their race or not, you should feel proud that you cast a ballot. Most importantly, you should bear in mind that these results are not the end of the road for your cherished political causes. We urge our readers to stay vigilant, informed and engaged and to stay empathetic to their fellow Americans. This cannot be the winner’s moment to gloat and relish in victory. Our civic culture and common American bond depend on it.
Do you remember how you felt the morning of Nov. 9, 2016? Here’s a refresher: That was the morning after President Donald Trump was elected. Many people saw the news and buried their heads in their hands. The stakes were high in that election. The White House was up for grabs. The fate of the next four years hung in the balance. To some, Trump was a disaster candidate — toxic to our political system and sense of decency.To others he was a welcome break from the monotony of the establishment.
We remind you of that fateful day two years ago to put the results of today’s heavily divisive race into context. Andrew Gillum and Ron DeSantis were characterized as extremists by pundits and by each other. Gillum accused DeSantis of moderating a “xenophobic, racist Facebook page.” DeSantis called Gillum “what local corruption looks like.”
The stakes for this election were even higher. The office of Florida governor will likely affect your everyday life to the same degree, if not more so, than the U.S. presidency. But despite this, we cannot come out of this election in the same polarized, ‘screw you, I got mine’ posture that we did after the 2016 election. Part of the work left is to repair broken bonds among neighbors and to neutralize caustic, acerbic political discourse.
Even if you feel cheated and disillusioned by the election, we cannot use the results as an excuse to retreat further into partisan bickering. We cannot be pitted against one another, fighting from election to election in a destructive series of offensive charges. The result will be trench warfare — neither side will gain much ground when they dig in and fortify. Despite the competitive nature of politics, we know this tendency is unsustainable. If the trend continues, America will be a place where political affiliation will be binary and immutable.
We have plenty of reason to worry about this problem, as political polarization is getting worse. The divide between urban and rural voters in the United States is growing deeper too. Each group feels like the other hates and looks down on them.
We remind our readers that the results of the election are not the end of the battle. Aside from repairing bonds, there is still more work to be done. You can make your voice heard by writing to or calling the offices of your representatives and senators. You can still take your political issues up with the governor no matter what party he belongs to. Now that the election is over, you will have to. The only path to take after the air clears is one of working together. We must make sure our elected officials pull through on the most important campaign promises — the ones that will benefit all Floridians. Regardless of political affiliation, we will still fight when the current administration does not do enough to protect our students, safeguard the environment or bring in as much federal money as possible to improve infrastructure. These tangible areas have not disappeared under a temporary cloak of political victory. Once the dust settles, we must take the officeholder to task regardless of party.
Let’s get to work.