Much will be made of the 2012 gerrymandering scandal—which saw the Republicans comfortably retain control of the House of Representatives even though Democratic candidates collectively received more votes. Is this small-d democracy? shrill voices will cry. But cooler heads will prevail. Turn every district into a swing district and the House would be dangerously destabilized, they will argue. There would be no senior leadership. We would drive off the legislative giants who are elected when young and then accrue power unchallenged for the next 24 years. Sizable majorities in both parties will be persuaded.
"In Chicago we live in something more like a dictatorship than a democracy," said Wade, who served on her local school council before becoming involved with the Occupy movement and MoveOn. "We have no votes for the school board, no votes for the park board . . . "
On the issue of representation Wade wasn't alone: an advisory measure in favor of an elected as opposed to a mayorally appointed school board drew 86 percent of the vote in the 327 precincts where it ran on last week's ballot. Now some Chicago aldermen are pushing for a citywide referendum on the issue, a move that was earlier blocked by a parliamentary maneuver that had certain people crying foul.
Not to say that Obama did a terrible job (health care!), but Guantanamo is still open, financial regulation is probably not what it could be, and there are these things called Predator drone missile strikes. I'd guess that the hope among Obama's supporters is that the "change" we heard so much about during the first campaign is more apparent the second time around—but hey, that's why I preface that statement by saying "I'd guess." If there's anything I learned during this election, it's that everyone feels differently.
That's why, for this week's Variations on a Theme, Reader staff will be writing about what they imagine the next four years under Obama will look like. Whether it's new Supreme Court justices, new taxes, or just anything new that's not more of the same, everyone has a different wish in mind for what's on the horizon in the next almost-half decade. And in case you missed last week's Variations on a Theme, Dread Week, check out what people were thinking just before and just after a decision was made.