Essential reporting in volatile times.

Click here to stay informed and subscribe to The Charleston Gazette-Mail.

Click #isupportlocal for more information on supporting our local journalists.

Learn more about HD Media

Whatever happened to having a “stiff upper lip?” One of the most unfortunate effects of this hyper-partisan age we live in is the hyper-emotional drama so many on both sides of the political aisle exhibit.

At the state level, handwringing has begun about the Republican legislators having supermajorities for the first time in memory.

At the federal level, Republicans are intensely worried now that Democrats have the White House and the House of Representatives, and could add the Senate after the Georgia runoffs.

But wait a minute. Don’t we have midterm elections coming up in a mere two years? 2022 will be here in no time.

If the Republican state legislators or the Democrats’ congressional representatives go too far, voters can send a strong message about their erring policies.

The Founders at the federal level and the early West Virginia statehood leaders gave us constitutions that already contemplated tough political times like these.

While we might complain about seemingly being in constant political campaign mode, such frequent elections give everyone a chance to right the ship of state and to blow off steam.

That’s how we have always done it, all without the current level of anxiety, fear and loathing of the other side.

No party likes to lose a national election. But Democrats and Republicans of yesteryear knew that voting was the ultimate statement, not constantly, bitterly complaining about their loss.

For one thing, that just makes the other party’s members gleeful to know how they’ve got your goat. Much better to fall silent and to recruit some appealing candidates for the next election.

Showing one’s wounds is for soap operas.

Meanwhile, independents are the underrated group of voters at the state and federal levels now. With a shrinking political center, independents across the ideological spectrum now hold the key in many races across the country.

Some independents are disaffected Republicans and Democrats — no longer comfortable in their former political party yet not persuaded to join the other one.

The candidates in either party who can keep most of their political base happy, while interpreting their issues well to independents, have a chance at something every politician craves: longevity in office.

Those who barely scrape by with only their base are bound to have serious challenges and quite possibly get bumped at the next close election.

While that would be a tough day for any officeholder, it should bring a smile to all those sad voters who think the end of the world is upon us when an election fails to go their way.

Again, the next election is right around the corner. Anything can happen.

Stephen N. Reed is former deputy secretary of state.