12:12am November 6, 2012

A Winner’s Mandate?


Many commentators ask if in an electorate as closely divided as America’s, is it possible that the winner will have a mandate? Pundits will say the winner is not receiving a clear and unmistakable message of what course Americans want the next president to take.

Pundits are asking the wrong questions and drawing the wrong conclusions.

The only way this will be a “mandate” election is if Mitt Romney wins. That would be an unmistakable message that the American public is upset with the direction of the last four years and has lost faith in the administration of Barack Obama. That is a mandate.

Instead, if the American public returns Barack Obama to the White House for four more years (as I predict they will with 290 Electoral College Votes), then the message is that the public is reaffirming the mandate approved in 2008.

In 2006, disgusted with the first two years of George W. Bush’s second term, Americans returned Congress to Democratic control in landslide Democratic victories in both the House and the Senate. When John McCain commenced on his tone-deaf campaign for the presidency in 2008, as if the 2006 elections never occurred, and then promised to continue Bush’s economic policies, he promptly received 7 million fewer votes than Obama.

That was a mandate, a mandate to use the federal government to pivot the American economy from catastrophe.

Even The Economist, no left-leaning newspaper, concurs. In its endorsement of Obama, the English publication wrote:

“His responses—an aggressive stimulus, bailing out General Motors and Chrysler, putting the banks through a sensible stress test and forcing them to raise capital (so that they are now in much better shape than their European peers)—helped avert a Depression. That is a hard message to sell on the doorstep when growth is sluggish and jobs scarce; but it will win Mr Obama some plaudits from history, and it does from us too.”

If you carefully listen to Obama’s actual words, which most pundits have not, then you know that he has campaigned in 2012 to continue the direction set in his first term. Unfortunately, for Obama, his television advertisements have mostly attacked Romney rather than articulating a more positive agenda. Should Obama lose, the top regret of his campaign team, I suspect, will be that the president’s campaign was not more presidential in tone and comport.

But, this is truly the effect of political campaign laws gone wild. Since the misguided decision in Citizens United led to even more money in politics, candidates must run campaigns to win, not the campaigns we wish to watch.

About the Author

Marvin King
Marvin King
Marvin King received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of North Texas and his B.A. from the University of Texas. Now, he is an Associate Professor of Political Science with a joint appointment in the African American Studies Program at the University of Mississippi. He conducts research into how political institutions affect African American politics. Marvin is available for public speaking engagements and you can follow him on Twitter @kingpolitics



Spectrum Act a Step in the Right Direction, but Congress Can Do More

On November 2, 2015, President Obama signed into law the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (H.R. 1341). Besides avoiding yet another fiscal cliff scare, the law, raises the debt ceiling and funds the federal government through 2017...
by Kristal High


Fixing the System Starts with Making it Easier for Families to Stay Connected

Earlier in the week, VICE debuted a documentary on HBO called Fixing the System which explored the ways America’s criminal justice system undermines democracy, disrupts families, negatively impacts the economic well-bei...
by Kristal High


White House Council Releases Report to Increase Broadband Adoption

President Obama, like many Americans and national leaders across the country, recognizes the importance of broadband as the most critical infrastructure of the 21st century. “Access to high-speed broadband is no longer a lux...
by Kristal High



GOP Looking to Prove It’s #CommittedToCommunity with New Outreach Effort

Earlier this week, the Republican National Committee launched a first of its kind effort to meet Black Americans (and would be voters) where they are by partnering with Radio One for #CommittedToCommunity: Engage, Empower, Upli...
by Politic365 Staff


Baltimore, Low Income Communities, At Heart Of New Obama Administration Solar Initiative

From Medicare audits to riots in the wake of Freddy Gray’s untimely death at the hands of local police, Baltimore has made headlines this year on several occasions.  Today, however, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Bla...
by Politic365 Staff



Be the first to comment!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>