NORMAN — The country will be stronger after the recent presidential election, PBS news anchorwoman Judy Woodruff told a crowd at the University of Oklahoma on Monday night.
The reason is simple, Woodruff said — the country is nearly always stronger after presidential elections, no matter who wins.
A presidential election is a “giant political earthquake,” Woodruff said. Elections give the electorate a chance to voice their opinions, and they give policymakers a better idea of how the public thinks on certain issues. In that regard, she said, they can be clarifying events.
The country has been plagued by partisan rancor for the past several years, Woodruff said, but she expects to see lawmakers become more willing to find solutions that are acceptable to both sides.
“The country will survive after the election,” she said. “I do believe that we will work together as a country.”
Woodruff, a senior correspondent and anchorwoman for “PBS NewsHour,” discussed the impact of President Barack Obama's re-election on the country's future Monday at a President's Associates dinner at OU.
During the speech, Woodruff said she expects to see real tax reform. Exit polls showed 68 percent of Americans favored raising income taxes on all taxpayers to shore up the nation's fiscal situation, she said. That sentiment among the electorate will give lawmakers an incentive to get things done.
Woodruff said she expects to see real progress in the area of immigration reform and more states legalize gay marriage in the next few years. She also expects to see the unemployment rate continue to drop.
“This is really going out on a limb,” she said.
Lawmakers will find a solution to avoid taking the country over the so-called “fiscal cliff” — a combination of expiring tax cuts and deep spending cuts that experts say could have devastating effects on the economy.
Whatever solution lawmakers reach is likely to include both spending cuts and tax increases for at least some Americans, Woodruff said.
Mostly, Woodruff said, she hopes to see Democrats and Republicans begin to work together for the good of the country. The country faces dire fiscal and social problems in the weeks and months ahead, she said, and political posturing and inflexibility don't solve any of them.
“I don't know that they ever did,” she said. “But that's been the coin of the realm for the past several years.”