The Post-Election Myth of the Non-Mandate
Now that the media can’t talk any longer about how the presidential race is “tied” and “too close to call” —something it nattered about long after an avalanche of evidence contradicted them, there’s a new myth floating around out there.
It's being pushed by Republicans as well as some "wise pundits." They're saying that the public did not actually say it was fed up with Republican ideas and policies and that the president and Democrats have no mandate for their policies because the election didn't change the balance of power in Washington. The president was reelected, the Senate stayed in Democratic hands, and the House stayed in Republican hands. So the people clearly were speaking for fearful, penurious “centrism,” right?
In fact, voters were speaking pretty loudly. In reelecting the president in difficult economic times, they were saying they didn’t trust any of the Republicans’ vague proposals on the economy, which mainly consisted of ginning up false panic about the national debt and the deficit and demanding that the wealthy not sacrifice to pay for it.
The electorate said, that’s bullshit.
And after all the talk about how President Obama might get an electoral college majority but lose the popular vote (you could practically see the media salivating over the possibility of this controversial scenario), he won decisively.
The Democrats also increased their majority in the Senate to an effective 55-45. If you think picking up two seats is fairly routine, then you didn’t know the map. 2012 was long anticipated with anxiety by those interested in electing Democrats to the Senate because Democrats would be defending twice as many seats as Republicans, leading to fewer pick-up opportunities and more energy and resources spent on defense.
Then the teabaggers roared.
In state after state, Republican primary voter dumped a sane candidate in favor of one deeply dipped in The Crazy. It started in 2010 when the Republicans squandered opportunities by favoring comedy candidates like Sharon Angle in Nevada and Christine “I’m not a witch” O’Donnell in Delaware. They continued that non-winning approach this year when their candidates for the Senate in conservative Missouri and Indiana openly brayed their contempt for women with demeaning comments about rape. Both were defeated in landslides. Voters clearly said they were sick of blantant misogyny of so much of the GOP (Unfortunately, Ohio's legislature isn't getting the message).
Well, there’s the House, isn’t there? Although the Democrats picked up about half a dozen seats (several races are still being contested), Republicans kept control. Surely the public was saying they like the head-butting, permanently deadlocked, divided lawmaking that produces.
Actually, they didn’t. Coast to coast, more voters voted for a Democrat for Congress than a Republican. If states were redistricted to represent the voters instead of the politicians, Democrats would have taken control. Anyone who voted no on Issue 2 — to bring fairness to Ohio’s map drawing, which is among the worst in country — is, frankly, an asshole. I have no kind words for any excuses you may have, other than being a nakedly power-grabbing Republican. Voters spoke clearly, and republicans told them to shut up. For the media to pretend they hear nothing as well is a crime – and journalism malpractice.
Loser Paul Ryan, whose infamous budget has been rejected by a huge range of Americans, is sulking and whining and denying reality:
Asked whether President Obama has a mandate on taxes, Ryan told ABC News' senior political correspondent Jonathan Karl that the House Republican majority is proof that the president does not.
"I don't think so, because they also reelected the House Republicans. So whether people intended or not, we've got divided government," Ryan, R-Wis., said in his first national interview since last week's loss. "This is a very close election, and unfortunately divided government didn't work very well the last two years. We're going to have to make sure it works in the next two years."
Yeah, well, Paul, then you better recognize that despite your having hung onto the majority by illegitimate means, the voting public wants YOUR party to stop the obstructionism and "make sure it works in the next two years." That means giving up the endless threats, hostage-taking and blocking of the president's agenda. It's an agenda that a majority of the public has said it favors. He's got a mandate. You don't.
Ball's in your court, Paul. Let's see if you and your colleagues hear the message voters sent and stop being the problem in Washington. I'm not holding my breath.