First things first, Donald Trump won the 2016 election. He won according to the rules that were set out at the beginning of the election cycle. Even if he didn’t like them himself at times, he won according to them.
Now some people are saying–not everyone, but some–that this election is a mandate for one of the parties. That the victory by Trump combined with Republicans maintaining control of both the House and Senate means the people have given the party a mandate.
To be honest, I don’t think that word works in this context.
Let’s start with the dictionary definition:
noun 1. a command or authorization to act in a particular way on a public issue given by the electorate to its representative.
example: The president had a clear mandate to end the war.
Okay, if we can agree on that as a starting point, I have three reasons why there is no mandate.
First, and this is very important, Clinton won the popular vote.
Let me repeat that. Clinton, the loser–not Trump, the winner–actually had the most votes cast. Like, as of right now, 200,000 more.
That’s maybe 1% more votes than the winner got. Trump wins because of the Electoral College, and I am too tired to go into that. So you can look it up if you want.
Second, Trump did not receive the MAJORITY of the votes. He’s currently hanging around 47% of the votes. That means that less than half of the people who voted, voted for him. There were third party candidates that fouled that up for him, but it’s hard to claim a mandate when you didn’t get most of the people to vote for you.
Third, I don’t even get how people can say that Republican majorities in both parts of Congress equals a mandate. We have this thing called a representative democracy and that means that the 500,000 people in Wyoming have the same number of Senators as the 39,000,000 in California. See, that’s not equivalent.
And then, not everyone votes for all the candidates. So you can have a state or a district that has mandated their jurisdiction, but that’s it. It doesn’t cross over to the neighboring district like a bad smell. Now if all the districts elected candidates from one party, I would have a hard time saying that wasn’t a mandate. But that didn’t happen. Anyway, if a gerrymandered district votes the way it was designed, I’m just not down with that being a mandate. This point needs more work, but I’m running out of steam.
Last, there were 287,000 voters in the District of Columbia who cast zero votes for Congress because they are not in a state. Not part of anyone’s “mandate.”
Mandate in this case just sounds like disenfranchising a hunk–and a big hunk–of the electorate. The idea that Americans delivered a mandate to the Republicans is just poppycock.
That’s a funny word there, no? I always wanted to use it. I did. And now, after only sleeping two and a half hours in the past 44, I’m going to bed. I really can’t make any more sense today.