Misinterpreting the Mandate: Consequences of the Most Common Mistake Political Majorities Make

by johndavis, January 13, 2015

January 13, 2015        Vol. VIII, No. 1         12:13 pm  “Unfortunately, Democrats blew the opportunity the American people gave them.”  U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat-NY, National Press Club, 11, 25, 2014  Fix Yourself When the second highest ranking Democrat in the U.S. Senate says, “We blew it,” I sit up and take notice. Such was the
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January 13, 2015        Vol. VIII, No. 1         12:13 pm

 “Unfortunately, Democrats blew the opportunity the American people gave them.”  U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat-NY, National Press Club, 11, 25, 2014

 Fix Yourself

When the second highest ranking Democrat in the U.S. Senate says, “We blew it,” I sit up and take notice. Such was the case on November 25, 2014, when U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York, said, “Unfortunately, Democrats blew the opportunity the American people gave them in electing Obama and the Democratic Congress in 2008 amid a recession. We took their mandate and put all our focus on the wrong problem -- healthcare reform.”

For emphasis: “We took their mandate and put all our focus on the wrong problem.”

The greatest threat to Republican political potential in 2016, both in Raleigh and Washington DC, is a misinterpretation by congressional and legislative majorities of the 2014 voter mandate.

So, what was the voter mandate of 2014?

According to a January 2, 2015 Gallup survey, based on a 12,000-sample average from last year’s polls, the most important problem on the minds of 2014 voters was “government leadership -- including Pres. Obama, the Republicans in Congress and general political conflict.” But what about the Economy, Unemployment/Jobs and Healthcare? They came in second, third and fourth respectively to Government/Congress/Politicians on the most important problems list for 2014.

That finding is consistent with a September 2014 Gallup poll in which voters were asked what they wanted their representative in Congress to do when the Congress begins the new session in January. Answer: fix yourself.

Consequences of Misinterpreting the Mandate

So, what are the consequences of Sen. Schumer’s conclusion: “We took their mandate and put all our focus on the wrong problem.” Two politically devastating mid-term election cycles.

  • Largest GOP majority in the U.S. House since 1928 (247 Republican; 188 Democrats)
  • GOP regaining the majority in the U.S. Senate after losing it to Democrats in 2006
  • Republican governors: 31; Democratic governors: 18; (1 Independent)
  • Highest number of legislative seats in the 50 states since 1920
  • Republican legislative-majority chambers in the 13 southern states: 25 of 26
  • Republican majorities in North Carolina House and Senate

Sen. Chuck Schumer was right. Pres. Obama and Democratic majorities in the U.S. Senate and House put their priorities ahead of the public’s priorities during the worst recession since the Great Depression. On March 21, 2010, Pres. Obama told an Indonesian TV interviewer, “The most important domestic priority [Obamacare] is going to be voted on this week.”

Obama actually believed that Obamacare was a more important domestic priority than the housing and real estate crises, foreclosures in the loss of housing value; more important than the banking crisis and a nearly bankrupt automobile industry; more important than 1930s unemployment numbers; more important than $1 trillion budget deficit in the $13 trillion per sovereign debt.

Democrats had all of the power in Washington DC and Raleigh, North Carolina leading up to the first midterm elections of the Obama administration in 2010. There was a Democrat in the White House and the Governor’s mansion. There were Democratic majorities in the Congress in the state legislature. Now, after the second midterm elections of the Obama administration, Democrats are powerless in Washington, DC and Raleigh, North Carolina.

That’s the consequences of misinterpreting the voter’s mandate.

Will Republicans Misinterpret the Mandate of 2014?

Tomorrow, January 14, 2015, the North Carolina General Assembly will begin its work under the guidance of Republican super majorities in the North Carolina Senate and House of Representatives. Will they take the mandate of 2014 and put their focus on the wrong problem?

What is the mandate of 2014? Certainly it is a Republican friendly mandate in light of the GOP rout at all levels of political leadership in the state and nation. Wrong.

Last fall, CNN conducted a national survey to find out what voters were thinking when they chose to give Republicans most of the political power in the country. The survey, conducted from November 21-23, 2014, asked the following question, Were Republican victories in the U.S. Senate and House races in 2014 a mandate for Republican policies or a rejection of Democratic policies. Answers: Rejection of Democrats 74%; Mandate for Republicans 16%.

The greatest threat to Republican political potential in 2016, both in Raleigh and Washington DC, is a misinterpretation of the 2014 voter mandate. The mandate was to put the priorities of the people ahead of the priorities of political parties.

Democrats blew the opportunity the American people gave them. That’s why they have no power today. What will Republicans do with the opportunity the people have given them?

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