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.