This week's election results reflect a nation, and a state, split.
Once all the votes are counted in Minnesota, the Legislature is likely to remain bisected. Some seats flipped in individual districts, but the overall outcome will likely echo the current configuration: A Republican-majority Senate and a Democrat-controlled House, with two years remaining on DFL Gov. Tim Walz's term.
That's the same array of forces Minnesota has had the last two years, and the acrimony that has marked that time frame was apparent in the tepid policymaking results, save for a much-delayed bonding bill that recently became law.
And all that came during a relatively flush time of budget surplus. Now Minnesota, like most states, stares down a coronavirus-caused fiscal deficit that must be erased. With the pandemic that contracted the economy more virulent than ever, Walz will rightly need to continue to lead a state response to save lives, despite irrational pushback by Republican legislators.
On top of these key imperatives, lawmakers will need to continue working to respond to social-justice issues, as well as such prosaic, yet profound, responsibilities as education, from pre-K to postgraduate.
Oh, and the 2020 census will trigger redistricting, and thus all the same seats in the Senate and House will be up for election again in two years, at the same time as a gubernatorial race, perhaps involving some legislative leaders.
Just like this year's election, that contest will be hard fought, with major implications for the future of the state. So here's a suggestion for those in this year's legislative lineup who hope to return in 2022: Make bipartisan governing — which will have to include honest compromise, not campaign (or talk radio) rhetoric — your proof point to voters. Because Minnesota can't afford divisions (economically or socially) that devolve into paralysis.