If one party or another had seen a real shift in power, you could argue that the American people accepted their approach and rejected the other's. But that didn't happen.
Instead President Obama was re-elected by a comfortable margin and the House remained comfortably Republican. How do we process this?
There are a certain number of people in this country who will vote for whatever Democrat/Republican is on the ballot. The parties spend a good amount of energy trying to get these people to actually go vote, but their choice is pretty predictable.
Then there's that last 20% or so who go back and forth. They make up their minds based on how they feel about their situation and the candidates in question. If they feel secure, they tend to vote for the status quo. If they don't feel secure, they vote for the candidate who scares them the least.
I think these "moderates" voted for the status quo:
The economy has sloooowly gotten a little better. Unemployment is down a little. The price of gas is down from recent highs. Did Mr. Obama's economic policy cause this? Maybe, maybe not. But it didn't screw things up too badly. Would Romney's policies do better? Maybe, maybe not. But if what's going on right now isn't that bad, why take a chance?If that's the case, what does that say about the future? I don't think anyone was voting for gridlock, per se. But since one side ran on tax increases and the other on tax cuts, neither side can really claim a mandate for their policy. They're going to be expected to meet in the middle.
The same applies to the GOP in the House. Whatever you may think about them, they haven't burned the place down, so why stir up trouble?
So what happens in four years? If people feel they're doing ok, they may vote the status quo again. President Biden? Yikes!