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A Mandate for Democracy and Freedom

A Mandate for Democracy and Freedom

President Biden has been given a mandate by the voters. It’s time for Democrats to boldly seize that power for the sake of democracy and freedom.

President Biden has been given a mandate by the voters. It’s time for Democrats to boldly seize that power for the sake of democracy and freedom.

Democratic s after the blue wave midterms, while Trump took a hit, a USA TODAY/Ipsos Poll found. “The number of Democratic voters who believe Biden could win the 2024 race for the White House has jumped to 71%, up by double digits from the 60% who felt that way in a poll in August.”

“President Joe Biden's backing among Democrats to run for reelection has been significantly boosted in the wake of better-than-expected midterm elections results, a new USA TODAY/Ipsos Poll finds, while former President Donald Trump's standing among Republicans has been dented.”

It’s even more encouraging that Democrats won the states Republicans need to win in 2024, by a solid margin. Senior CNN political analyst Ron Brownstein noted:

“Looking at the Electoral College, this year’s results offered more reason for optimism to Democrats than Republicans. Five states decided the WH by flipping from Trump in 2016 to Biden in 2020 – AZ, GA, MI, PA & WI. Ds have already won 6/8 Sen & Gov races in them + maybe GA Sen”

In 2018, Trump blew his midterms despite a great economy, arguably the best economy in terms of how it was experienced by voters since 1998. In 2022, amidst inflation, rising gas and grocery prices, President Biden came away with a clear mandate: Protect democracy, protect our national security, work for the people, protect a woman’s right to an abortion.

This is a clear mandate by the voters.

In Michigan, Arizona, Nevada, and Colorado, Democratic Secretary of State candidates ran even with other statewide candidates and sometimes overperformed. Early exit polling showed they got support from a large share of Republicans and Independents.  In states like Michigan, we saw the repudiation playing out against the Republican abortion mandate with Republicans splitting their ticket to vote for Republicans and to enshrine the right to an abortion in the state’s constitution. In Michigan and Minnesota, the Secretary of State race was won by more votes than the Governor’s race. That shows people were paying attention. They wanted an end to Republican chaos and crazy.

This all sounds like a… mandate. Especially given that this midterm was expected to be a red tsunami and it turned into a red bloodbath for authoritarian election deniers and Republicans’ attacks on a woman’s right to live.

I know what some of you are thinking: But is it really a mandate, Sarah? Republicans certainly don’t think so. So I thought we should have a Republican weigh in. Let’s go back in time to George W. Bush on Nov 7, 2002,  after his party swept the midterms post 9/11 in the “terror alert” days.

Q Thank you, Mr. President. Do you believe that Tuesday's election gave you personally a mandate? (edited for brevity.)

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. First, I think candidates win elections because they're good candidates, not because they may happen to have the President as a friend -- or a foe, for that matter. Races that were won, were won because people were able to convince the voters they could trust their judgment, convince the voters they care deeply about their circumstances. I believe if there is a mandate in any election, at least in this one, it's that people want something to get done. They want people to work together in Washington, D.C. to pass meaningful legislation, which will improve their lives.

Of that same election, Senator James Merrill Jeffords from Vermont, a Republican until 2001 when he left the party to become an independent and began caucusing with the Democrats, wrote on Nov. 30, 2002:

“If the new, razor-thin Republican majority abuses its power and moves forward with an extreme agenda that overlooks the concerns of the many and benefits only the privileged few, there will be repercussions.

“Since the election, my decision to leave the Republican Party last year has been subject to new scrutiny. The attention on my personal decision, while understandable, is misplaced. If the Republicans read the recent election results as a rejection of moderation and a mandate to steamroll opposition from within the party, they will be making a grave mistake.”

No matter which side of the aisle one stood on then and stands on now, Republican extremism has long been a problem and rejection of moderation an issue. So too has the seizure of power for purposes not intended.

Does this apply to Democrats? Republicans would say it does. The mainstream media conflates AOC wanting Medicare for All with domestic terrorism speech on the Right, so it seems they would say it does.

But if we look at government as an entity that is supposed to operate for the good of the people, to improve their lives, then no. Democrats might get “extreme”, in a way that Republicans easily mock, for their inclusivity, but how does that hurt anyone else? Aside from the culture wars invented and curated by people in power to distract voters, how does including everyone, no matter their personal sex lives, religion, colorof skin, hurt anyone else?

When we look at the actual legislation passed and party platform, the Democrats are not failing to be moderate. Of course, the media told us that Democrats defending abortion was a losing topic and that the voters would reject it and they didn’t care about it. But that rather predictably turned out to be false. So when people used abortion to describe Democrats as extreme, the voters disagreed.

The voters did not find Democrats to be the extremists even though the media has been working overtime conflating the two parties. In fact, the voters gave their trust in democracy to the Democrats because they are sick and tired of Republican extremism.

I would argue that the opposite is true. Democrats often fail to move boldly because moderation is inherent in a party with such a big tent. Moderation is both a function and a result of the big tent, as frustrating as that can be when democracy hangs in the balance.

Even so, Democrats need to seize the power given to them, in order to protect democracy. That is what the voters demanded.

Republicans, of course, don’t seem to care what the voters want. And to that poit, inclusivity hurts the power of the Republican Party; it doesn’t hurt voters.

Since Republicans have already announced their intentions to impeach President Biden, investigate Hunter Biden even though he’s already being investigated by the Department of Justice and never worked in the White House, let’s recall 1998.  

Republicans have a history of using the House as a stage for drama and distraction, and issues that are not relevant to voters. The Republican-led Congress was threatening to remove President Clinton and Democrats suffered no net losses in the Senate and gained five House seats in that midterm.

The man who had led the charge against President Clinton over perjury about infidelity, even though he himself had committed multiple infidelities including during the impeachment process itself, was Republican then House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Gingrich of course didn’t admit his affairs until 2007, during a presidential run which included an interview with Focus on the Family's James Dobson. In this interview, he confessed to cheating on both his first and second wives. So, he lied about his own infidelities for years.

It gets worse in terms of hypocrisy and fake controversy.  His first wife Jackie Battley also said that Gingrich discussed divorce with her while she was in the hospital recovering from cancer surgery. He quickly turned around and married his second wife, Marianne Ginther in 1981. Gingrich admitted cheating on Ginther while he was leading the impeachment proceedings against President Clinton.

Gingrich resigned after the midterm slaughter over his misguided impeachment over an affair. Haven’t we been here before? Will we learn from the past?

Cut to today and Republicans have learned nothing. As Greg Sargent pointed out on Twitter over his piece in the Washington Post, “Don't overlook this: House GOP probes will be partly about discrediting what Democrats were able to learn about the role in 1/6 of *House Republicans themselves.*”

Republicans are putting on yet another show, even though the voters have shown that even the media didn’t trick them into falling for Republican attacks on democracy during this last midterm. The voters are getting more sophisticated.

Yes, this midterm is a mandate. It’s a mandate for democracy and freedom.

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The Daily
Politicus Pod
The Politicus Pod is the official PoliticusUSA podcast where we dive deep into the news that matters to you.