Split ticket voting was evident and factored heavily in the midterm election tally.

There are a lot of takeaways from the election at local, state and federal levels.

Of course, pundits — depending on their ideology — have a lot of differing views about what exactly the electorate was and was not saying.

At the federal level, both Republicans and Democrats are claiming victory.

Of course they are.

Republicans are touting gains and likely control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Democrats are saying that those GOP gains are modest from a historical perspective and with the one exception of George W. Bush in the aftermath of 9/11, it was the best outcome for the party of a sitting president in recent history.

Of course, what the election once again demonstrated is how divided our nation is, but even more than that how evenly divided the nation is.

Neither party has a mandate despite the wacky claims of crazed conspiracy theorist Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who is not only out of step with rational Republicans and the nation as a whole, but out of step with reality.

The GOP cannot claim because of the few seats the party picked up in Congress that America has spoken loudly and endorsed its agenda.

Neither can the DNC claim that because losses were not as dire as predicted that means the nation is fully behind progressive policies.

America is split.

That’s why the split ticket voting is so interesting and, at the risk of sounding too aspirational, hopeful.

At least some voters said principle matters more to them than party.

They put policy over politics.

While trying to read the election tea leaves, lawmakers should pay very close attention to this portion of the electorate.

It is possible to vote, and to govern, without myopia.

It is possible to see the good in others, the value of debate and the education that comes from honestly and fairly considering opposing points of view.

It is possible to tamp down the rhetoric, rise above the vitriol and employ the power of compromise.

You do not have to compromise your values to compromise on a piece of legislation.

Wouldn’t it be great if the split ticket voting in this election is a sign we can be just a little less angry, a little more respectful to one another and see the value in people who do not look like us, talk like us and vote like us?

OK, maybe that is way too aspirational but it is certainly pleasant to think about for a moment.

Hundreds of thousands of voters across the nation were bipartisan when they cast their ballots setting a strong example for everyone they helped elect to office.

Jim Zachary is the editor of The Valdosta Daily Times, CNHI’s director of newsroom training and development and president emeritus of the Georgia First Amendment Foundation.

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