Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012 | 2 a.m.
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- Now that the election is over, what does Congress get to fight about?
- Highest unemployment, spiraling foreclosures, taxes: New lawmakers will have full hands
- Blood, sweat and ideals: Young Las Vegans reflect on their first campaign in the trenches
- School District’s capital improvements initiative awaits voters’ decision
- Las Vegans vote for local, state and higher education officials
- Nevada comes into its own as presidential swing state
- More political news
Now that politicians across the country are done spending some $6 billion telling us how to vote, the voters Tuesday had a few things to tell the politicians.
For starters, what’s with spending all that money, just so we could fill our recycle bins, hit the delete button on our voicemails and fast forward through our DVRs?
Second, we got so tired of the political noise, the spinning, the name calling and the negativity that most of us stopped listening to you weeks — even months — ago. The last flurry of advertising? Wasted money!
And how can we expect you to launch a new Congress bridled with the spirit of bipartisanship when you’ve spent the past year throwing mud on each other and calling each other liars? Really?
This was the mood of voters Tuesday in Nevada, from Boulder City to the north, as they cast ballots, exhaled and wondered: What now?
They expressed cynicism toward politics, were upset that the campaigns had divided the country and remained anxious about where the country was headed, no matter who won. Was there any hope the congressional logjam would break free?
They were happy, at least, that the campaigning — the longest running and most expensive in the nation’s history — was finally over.
“It’s such a sad state of affairs, everyone slamming everyone else,” said the Rev. David Simpson, a minister at Green Valley Baptist Church in Henderson. “I’m so happy it’s finally over.”
Congress now has to boost the economy, he said.
“But the issue is so divisive, it’s going to be a mess fixing it," he said. "I’m not very optimistic at all.”
He and his wife voted for Republican Mitt Romney, largely because of Romney’s anti-abortion position. But if President Barack Obama emerged victorious, Annette Simpson said, “we won’t fall apart. God will still take care of us.”
At polling stations throughout Nevada, voters took the opportunity Tuesday to vent their spleens. Nary a word was heard offering kudos to the candidates for good, clean races focused strictly on the issues and a positive give-and-take with opponents.
Tom Wilson, a 47-year-old lawyer in Reno, was among many voters who groused that candidates avoided serious discussion about the issues. Instead, he said, they went “city to city and doing rallies and talking to the media, but that’s not campaigning. That’s talking to reporters. The issues were not addressed.”
And then there was all that money from unknown sources.
“You can’t trust that the candidates will be who they say they’ll be once they’re in office because they got there using someone else’s money. They’re at the mercy of the super PACs,” James Lampier, 40, who with his wife owns a medical management company, said after voting for a Democratic slate in Henderson.
Carson City small business owner Frank Marcin, a Republican, echoed the complaint about money driving politics: “The super PACs — no one knows where the money is coming from. No one can be held accountable. That has got to change.”
Democrat Carol Hilder, 77, took the complaint one step further: “I wish there was more equality in this whole process. I think there could have been good candidates if it wasn’t for all the money. Who’s going to go against Mitt with all that money? Who can afford to?”
Dirty politics prompted Dale Napier to switch parties, from Democrat to Republican.
“One of the things that pushed me out of the party was the vast amount of hate that I saw and people who were no longer willing to have civil discourse to discuss issues, even with friends,” Napier, 58, said.
With the election over, the focus turns to bringing the country together again. And that challenge, voters said, will be the hardest task of all.
“If I knew the answer to that, I’d feel like I should run for president,” Coronado High School gym and dance instructor Therese Bybee said.
Cab driver Eric Siegmund, 42, who voted for Obama, said, “It’s all about riding out the storm right now. It’s going to take time.”
For Republican Jeffrey Dalby, 55, of Boulder City, who owns a telecom business, the answer for moving forward should be simple: “Each side needs to look at what’s good about the other side’s ideas and come to agreement on two or three of them. They need to leave their party platforms at the door and focus on what’s best for the country.”
A Democrat, Frieda Ahigian, 75, said she didn’t think the country would progress until “we get some new blood on Capitol Hill and get rid of the old farts.”
Kevin Terrance, 40, an independent who voted Republican in Henderson, said there needs to be a genuine effort to strike bipartisanship.
“That’s what I thought after voting for Obama four years ago," he said. "But it’s not his fault. I blame both parties.”
The key to moving forward, small business owner and Republican Lance Hibbert, 54, said, is for the president to “reach across the table and engage the country and take us in a direction we need to go. That’s a president’s job, to overcome obstacles for the betterment of the country and the people. I don’t envy the president or his job.”
Douglas Cooper, a 42-year-old writer who supported Obama, offered this suggestion: “Whoever the losing party is, if they take a strong leadership role and say we need to move forward, that will help. The losing side needs to be strong leaders and set the example for the rest of the country.”
Doug Fraser, a 57-year-old Boulder City carpenter, talked passionately of how he voted for Romney on Tuesday.
But the mere act of voting transcended his support of Romney, he said.
“The thing I love about this country is that we all get to vote," he said. "If Obama wins, I’ll live with it. Half the people will be happy, half will be (angry). Well, that’s the election process. I’m just grateful we live in America, where we have this chance.”
Contributing to this story were Sun staff members Ric Anderson, Anjeanette Damon, Andrea Domanick, William D’Urso, Tom Gorman, Kyle Hansen, Brian Nordli, David McGrath Schwartz, Conor Shine, Ron Sylvester, Paul Takahashi, David Toplikar, Pashtana Usufzy and Jackie Valley.