Easily, the most bizarre post-election analysis is ANYBODY (other than the GOP diehards that still have their eyes closed) wondering aloud whether or not Obama received a “mandate”. It’s crazy to even ASK that question. Of course he has a mandate. A HUGE one.
First of all, let’s run the Counter-factual. Just suppose, if you can bear the thought, that the GOP had won, by any margin or combination. Say 270 1/2 electoral votes and .5% of the popular vote. See if you can guess if THEY would have claimed a mandate. Not so very hard to imagine, is it? The GOP would have claimed a MASSIVE mandate, a mandate of truly GALACTIC proportions. Phrases like “complete repudiation of Obama” would be bullhorned into your ear and ringing in your head like an entire new round of nonstop campaign ads. Just picture that weaselly Paul Ryan on the talking head circuit lecturing you how the American voter had just instructed them in no uncertain terms to repeal the entire New Deal. Do you think I exaggerate? No, you do not.
Now, to the Actual-factual. The Reagan coalition is dead dead dead. As in, most sincerely. Romney tried to put it together one last time and proved it can’t be done anymore. It was finished off by not one, but TWO fatal flaws. One, the demographics don’t work anymore. and are getting worse by the hour. And two, and more importantly, the policy dogma went down in flames forever with the 2008 economic collapse. The party was like the proverbial man walking around with a red bullet hole in his forehead not knowing he was dead yet. And their campaign against Obama?. The one that started the DAY he was elected? Could they possibly have done MORE to cause his presidency to fail? Including doing everything possible to slow down the American economy, for crying out loud? And then have the gall to try and blame him for it? To demonize his centrist health-care legislation as some sort of alien Marxist flying saucer body-cavity-probe experiment? To throw doubt on his religion, his citizenship, his Americanness? No, they did their best, and took it to the voters, as required by their beloved constitution. And guess what the voters said? They said go AWAY and come back when you have something constructive to offer. Verdict in. MANDATE. Let’s get on with it.