October 1, 2013 the Federal government shut down and the main provisions of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, went into effect. This is a continuation of the stalemate created by the 2012 election. President Obama’s reelection ensured that his health reform, the most significant (indeed the only) piece of social legislation since the Great Society measures of the 1960s, would go into effect. At the same time, Republicans’ continued control over the House of Representatives means that Obama has no possibility of enacting significant legislation of any sort.
Indeed we can project ahead. Republicans’ success in winning control of many state legislatures in 2010 meant that they controlled the decennial redistricting process, creating enough gerrymandered seats to ensure Republican control over the House for the rest of this decade, barring an electoral cataclysm. However, Republican extremism also makes it unlikely that their presidential candidate will have a realistic chance to win in 2016, meaning that split government will continue.