American politics is often dominated by a myth, the myth of the “mandate.”
Mandates, it is said, come from winning elections. The word used to be applied to big wins. Now that’s been watered down.
But elections do not a mandate make.
The recent shift from united government under the Republicans to united government under the Democrats has been dubbed a mandate, a mandate for “change” — which, in the programs of President Barack Obama and his powerful allies in Congress, seems to mean “more government.” Lots more.
Meanwhile, the American people hold different notions. A recent Gallup poll shows that 57 percent of Americans think that government is doing too much. Only 38 percent of respondents to the poll thought that government should do more. And regarding business and industry? Twenty-four percent thought government did too little; 45 percent thought government regulates business too heavily as it is.
According to most Americans, there’s too much government overall.
So how does this square with the picture provided by major media, and emphasized on the left? Not very well. Democrats came into the recent situation thinking they had a mandate. They were wrong.
What Democrats had was a win from Americans repudiating the Republicans for general incompetence, and for (yes) growing government too much. If Democrats continue their government growth agenda, the mirage they see as a mandate will completely vanish.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.