Despite Bush’s appeal to Kerry supporters [in his acceptance speech], Cheney said the popular vote victory gave Bush a mandate and the Bush White House would continue pushing for the Republicans’ “clear agenda.”
Excuse me, but how the #@*! is a 51% victory a “mandate?”
In any other race, that would be called “barely squeaking by.”
Yes, it’s unusual for a presidential candidate to actually get more than 50% of the popular vote, but that still means 49% of the voters preferred someone else. If you broke a cookie in half, and got a 51%/48% split with 1% of crumbs, you wouldn’t notice the difference.
Last night there were state propositions hovering at around 53%/46%, and the LA Times thought they were too close to call. That kind of victory in a state race would never be considered a mandate, or a repudiation, etc. — it would have passed by the skin of its proverbial teeth. A 66% win? That would be a mandate. A 60% win? Maybe. But 51%? That’s a sign that you’d better look at what people wanted from your opponent, not a blank check to ignore half the population of the country.
Um, yep. I and a bunch of my friends have been talking, whining, sniveling, bitching and threatening to hide under a blankie and suck our thumbs all day re: the election results, and the interesting thing is, one of our group is French. She lives in Paris, or near enough.
And SHE looked at the results and saw them as being a significant margin of victory, indicating clearly that it was a vote of confidence for the Bush government’s policies.
We spent a long time trying to convince her that in fact the country is dramatically polarized, and a 3% difference was NOTHING.
What scares all these thoughtful people I’ve talked to all day is the fact that most of us have no expectations — or even hope — that the Bush administration will, in fact, look beyond the “We won, nya, nya, nya” euphoria and address the fact that half the country in fact has serious issues with their policies….
Oh, and by the way, my French friend most decidedly did NOT want to see Bush win the election, so she was not looking at it from the victor’s viewpoint….
But how could 51% be so stupid?
They don’t see it as being stupid. There are plenty of well-informed, well-educated people whose beliefs about, among other things, the role of government and the role of the US in the world, lead logically to a vote for Bush. There are also plenty of right-wing nutjobs who irrationally believe they will be trapped in a handbasket to suicide-bombed, drug-soaked and oversexed hell should a Democrat end up in the White House. To be fair, the left-wing hippie vegan mystics who stayed home and cried on Wednesday have none of my sympathy either. Kerry was gracious; his supporters should be too. You can’t win a political contest unless you can convince people you’re not out to get them, and you can’t do that effectively if you’re bitter.
[…] The Governator is talking about a mandate. Politicians always do that when they win. 55% is a bit shaky, but with ~15 percentage points between him and Angelides, he’s at least more justified in claiming it than a certain Republican winner two years ago who only had a three-point spread. […]