I recognize that I’m playing to my crowd here and that I’m talking about a term– a political mandate–that does not have a formal definition. But I strongly objected when, in a TV debate last night, some guy argued that Trump has a mandate.
My response was that if you lost the popular vote, you don’t have a mandate. Last I looked, the national tally was (rounding) 59,612,000 for Trump and 59,814,000 for Clinton.
To be clear, he’s the legitimate president elect, though I’d sincerely welcome a national debate about the role of the electoral college. Twice in recent years, the president lost the popular vote.
That said, if you look at the red/blue map of the vote by county, as well as the Congressional and state outcomes, there’s certainly a case to made that…actually, I have no idea what the case to be made is re mandates. Trump absolutely rocked the anti-establishment vote while the vast majority of incumbents held their seats.
It’s all a muddle. Get down to the level of state ballots, and the American people seem to want get high on pot, earn higher minimum wages, and send an extremely harsh message to establishment DC.
I see no mandate in there. Instead, I like where Larry Mishel is on this. Among Trump’s various appeals, some of which were racist, sexist, and hateful, one that was very familiar to me (and Larry) was to working people who’ve long been left behind by a political system run by and for elites. I wouldn’t call it a mandate, but I would say Trump made an implicit bargain with those working class voters to help them claim a larger share of the economy’s growth.
I plan to carefully track the extent to which he and his new administration follow through on that bargain.