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Robert Novak is Flat Wrong: Obama's Mandate

Bob Novak doesn't think the vote totals, reshaped electoral map, and switching of traditionally red states constitute a "mandate."
 
 
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In the Wednesday edition of the Chicago Sun-Times, conservative columnist Robert Novak claimed Barack Obama's historical election last night was not "a broad mandate from the public" and the ensuing Democratic wave did little to change the political alignment in congress. Given recent history and the evidence of a shifting tide in American politics, I'm hard pressed to find a more inaccurate assessment of the outcome.

George W. Bush and Co. declared a "mandate" from the people shortly after his reelection in 2004 by a mere 35 electoral vote-margin. He did so despite barely eking out a majority with 50.7% of the popular vote over John Kerry's 48.3%. Incidentally, this 2.4% margin of victory was the narrowest win for any elected incumbent seeking reelection since Harrison beat Cleveland in 1888 and it was the smallest victory in all of American history for a war-time Commander in Chief.

Obama sailed over John McCain last night with a clear majority of over 53% of the popular vote and a 6%, 7.4-million vote margin of victory that is over twice that of his predecessor. And with an electoral-vote margin of nearly 200 (over five times that of Bush), Obama's win constitutes not just more than double the "mandate" claimed by Bush, it is an historic landslide by contemporary standards.