Suncoast residents react to Tuesday's election

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Posted: Wednesday, November 7, 2012 9:21 pm

SARASOTA - Tuesday's election set the course of the country for the next two years, at least. So how do people on the Suncoast feel about where we are -- and where we're going -- as a nation?

Although Suncoast counties tend to favor Republicans -- and mostly did so on election night -- the close margin of victory for the president, both in Florida and across the nation, appears to show how divided people are about what our direction should be. And time spent Wednesday on Sarasota’s Main Street echoes that.

“We're not as divided as our politics suggest. We're not as cynical as the pundits believe," said President Obama Tuesday night. They’re lofty words from the newly re-elected president in Chicago.

“I'm so depressed. I wonder what's going to happen now, because we're right back in gridlock,” says Bob Philpott. More grounded thoughts from a man in Sarasota, who disagrees.

Main Street might not make a representative sample of Suncoast voters, but people in some locally-owned businesses do give us a sense of what people think the effects of the tightly-contested election will be.

“It continues to show that the country is deeply divided, and makes very little motion one way or the other,” says Harold Miller.

The same election that returns President Obama to the White House also sends Suncoast congressman Vern Buchanan and a Republican majority back to the U.S. House of Representatives. "We've got to find a way to work together," said Buchanan.

"Tonight, you voted for action, not politics as usual," said Obama.

But what action did we vote for?

At Bookstore One in Sarasota, two people we met strongly support the president's agenda. “Let me tell you that the world is evolving, and the Republican Party has to find its center, and that's what's going to evolve,” says Elsie Souza.

The electorate does seem to be changing. Philpott, a self-described “old white guy” who wished Mitt Romney had won, agrees that the Republican Party has not kept up with the demographic times. “Frankly I don't think the Republicans paid enough attention to the mix in the population, particularly the Hispanic population.”

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