Wednesday, November 07, 2012
I Got Your Mandate Right Here
Thanks for playing, folks, but Obama's re-election is, from where I sit, a mandate. His raw margin of victory was almost the same as Bush's in 2004, and the Electoral Vote total was significantly higher (even if he doesn't hold FL in the end). Democrats picked up more seats in the House than Bush, as well as more than Clinton in 1996. Not only are there more Democratic Senators than before, there are more progressive Senators.
2 of the most annoying Tea Partiers lost their House seats. Tea Partiers running for the Senate were trounced.
It wasn't a landslide, but the fact remains that things have shifted toward the Democratic agenda. Second terms generally suck, but we've won a major battle in preserving the safety net, preventing Obamacare from being repealed, and protecting voting rights, women's reproductive health, LGBT equality, etc.
Let's keep in mind that we've only ever had one unanimous choice for president, and that was only by virture of essentially gaming the Electoral College and the lack of a popular vote for electors (and of course the historically unique context). Washington's support in the Legislative branch was not universal and almost immediately began to erode, from a dominant "pro-administration" position in the 1st Congress to shrinking majorities in the 2nd, to a strong "anti-administration" House majority in the 3rd. He even had a domestic rebellion to deal with.
After our first president retired, his sitting VP, Federalist John Adams, eked out a narrow victory over Democrat Thomas Jefferson, who returned the favor in the next election. Democrats (Jeffersonian and Jacksonian) dominated the Executive branch until the Civil War and held the office for 40 years straight.
Point is that we've never had a unified nation. There's always been a great deal of diversity, right from the beginning, in terms of what the Constitution should look like, how to interpret and implement it, about slavery, taxation, war, etc. So to look for anything approximating unanimity as being necessary for a mandate is silly on its face.
The nation collectively moved toward Obama and his party in decisive fashion. I don't expect an ambitious second term agenda, and I think we have 4 more years of militarism and erosion of some essential civil rights as a result, but I reject any and all suggestions that Obama now has to "govern from the center" and "reach across the aisle", which accomplished fuck all when the intransigent, disloyal opposition's stated goal was to make him a one-termer.
They lost big time, and should get the fuck over it. And maybe even consider coming back from the extreme a smidge.
Democrats won by being Democrats, and they should continue to act like Democrats through the rest of Obama's tenure. That's their mandate.
[Update: I forgot to note that between GOP gerrymandering (thanks to the 2010 wave election) and incumbency, I'm rather surprised the Dems did so well in the House.]
November 7, 2012 | Permalink
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Posted by: Erinpdx | Nov 9, 2012 9:48:04 PM