The exit polls told the tale of a fed up nation. We don’t approve of our president, our Congress or its leaders. We’re not terribly happy with the incumbents or the challengers, the Republicans or the Democrats, Washington or Albany.
We have just seen an election in which the majority of votes seemed to have been cast against an idea or person the voters despised, rather than for ones they admired.
So where are we now?
Gov. Andrew Cuomo easily earned a second term Tuesday. So did New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
Behind Cuomo lie a successful four years that saw him bring competence, discipline, increased civil liberties and balanced budgets to the state. Before him lie significant challenges.
The infrastructure of New York is crumbling, and fixing it will cost a fortune. Adding new projects will cost even more. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority can come up with only about half of the $32 billion it needs for the next five years of major, crucial projects such as the Second Avenue Subway and modernization of the signal systems. To find the rest of the money, Cuomo wants to introduce public-private partnerships and entrepreneurial leadership to the old-dog agency.
Meanwhile, city schools remain a work in progress and Cuomo promises to stand strong on holding teachers accountable. He also has promised to pass the Dream Act to make college tuition assistance funds available to noncitizens brought to the United States at an early age. But who controls the State Senate will determine whether those promises are kept.
In Washington, the challenge remains the same: Can Congress and President Barack Obama work together? Both parties must prove they can govern if they want to make a case for claiming the White House in 2016.
The people have spoken. They are exhausted and depressed. In Albany and Washington, for Democrats and Republicans, it’s time for the winners to do the jobs voters have given them.