The democratic machinery may be a little overrated to take us out of the many-decades-in-the-making slump. Somehow, the voters are still to figure this out, for this being one among the few dramatic swings, which otherwise would take several electoral cycles to happen, which shows that people still think they control the machinery by playing with a fake knob. Not to forget the enlightened skeptics, who may or may not vote, they think not much can be done anyway since the system is complex, as in don't bother to learn anything about it with the idea of improving. They hope, yet pass it for thinking, that somehow whatever it is they have been doing would keep them in their positions, while the world turns upside down round them. Of course, you recognize their ivory towers as skewers for the meat and vegetables exposed to the flame.
To return to major political/electoral swings, the one before was when we thought Obama and Democratic majorities would go for change. I guess, the 2010 swing is to appease the folk on the right, whereas the one before, in 2008, was to appease the left after 8 too many years of aggravation under Bush the lesser.
That we are going for a gamble has become obvious. It is not so clear how things will go from here. Internally, everybody is going to take a hit on everything they hold in cash--see the $600Bn as fuel for inflation eroding cash and confidence. Another way change will be effected internally is by virtue of the recommendations of the Obama's bipartisan debt-reduction commission.
"Cap revenue at or below 21% of G.D.P.”
“Reduce the Deficit”
I read these to mean, status qvo on taxes and cut spending! The conservative approach towards taxes is to keep the elites happy, cutting the federal budget to size is to say 'swim or sink!' to the rest. The risk here is for the most people to perceive that budget cuts are somewhat unjust. If the twin issue of taxes & budget splits the electorate along the same line, I am afraid, it's time we reckon a Lincoln or Roosevelt moment in our nation.
But then again, we may also have war. No, it's not about Bush's open wars. For one, it could be economic war. The other countries are probably running through their options after the recent G20 in Seoul. Nobody wants to give up an inch, make it centimeter, or at least not in the open. If the Chinese-American relation gets rebalanced anew round an exchange rate, chances are that conflict is postponed. Otherwise, it's maybe wise to stock up on some trinkets; of course, I'm joking.
For another variant on the last point, brush up on your pre-1914 history. A good place to start may be here: Is globalization enough carrot...