Millions and millions of dollars spent. Two years of non-stop campaigning. A frustrated electorate.

And after Tuesday's election, little has changed.

But we are upbeat. We have voted, and now we must demand that our leaders tear down the partisan maze that has kept us from finding the route to better times.

Locally, we've elected some outstanding county officials and school board members. We expect them to continue the good work we've come to expect.

At the state level, Mike Pence takes over the governor's seat. He's an experienced politician who will serve the state well.

Joe Donnelly is headed to the senate after defeating Richard Mourdock who self-imploded on the way to what might have been a victory.

But for now, most eyes will be on Washington.

President Barack Obama's victory means that everything he campaigned upon is alive and about to drive the political conversation with his adversaries.

Obama cannot end gridlock himself. He needs cooperation from both sides of the aisle. If not, his second term will be reduced to veto threats, empty promises and end runs around Congress.

We can expect Obama to push for higher taxes on the wealthy as a way to shrinking a choking debt and to steer money toward the programs he wants. He will try to land a massive financial deficit-cutting deal with Congress in the coming months and then move on to an immigration overhaul, tax reform and other bipartisan dreams.

One worry the president won't have is that his health care law will be repealed, or that his Wall Street reforms will be gutted, or that his name will be consigned to the list of one-term presidents who got fired before they could finish. Voters stuck with him because they trusted him more to solve the struggles of their lifetime.

What's different this time around is that America doesn't seem to be filled with unbridled hope. In fact, we the voters put back most of the political players who have made the capital dysfunctional to the point of nearly sending the nation into default.

So the burden falls on the president to find compromise, not just demand it from the other side.

For now, Obama can revel in knowing what he pulled off.

He won despite an economy that sucked away much of the nation's spirit. He won with the highest unemployment rate for any incumbent since the Great Depression. He won even though voters said they thought Romney would be the better choice to end stalemate in Washington.

He won even though a huge majority of voters said they were not better off than they were four years ago - a huge test of survival for a president.

Now, let us move forward together so that our children and grandchildren will know what it means to live in the greatest nation on earth.

The Associated Press contributed

information for this editorial