When people like Ann Coulter claim that there is no mandate for the Democrats because the Dems traditionally take many more seats during the sixth year of a Republican presidency, she is not taking into account one very important component of this whole equation. Redistricting over the past few years had virtually ensured a Republican majority for a long, long time. As soon as the Republicans came to power, they started drawing lines down their local maps that would tilt the deck in their favor. Not only that, but the Republicans had behind them several mechanisms that virtually ensured victory. The conservative thinktanks that were established over the last thirty years or so were largely credited for shaping American views on the nature of conservatism vs. liberalism. Right-wing radio has reigned supreme for the past decade, although its collective ratings have been slipping as of late. A national television news channel formulated to report and/or spin stories favorable to the neo-cons was tops in all-news television. All these things and more were conspiring against Democrats in yesterday’s election. Yet it still wasn’t enough.
If Bush was able to claim a mandate after the 2000 and 2004 elections, the Democrats can certainly claim a mandate now. It would do them well, however, not to overplay that hand and remember that America did not necessarily vote “Democrat” this election cycle, they voted “change.”
I am incredibly and especially proud today to be an American. Despite one party’s attempts to control the message, to claim a mandate when the majority of Americans truly believe in liberal ideals, to attempt to grab power that the Founding Fathers never intended them to have, American citizens stood up in extremely large numbers and claimed, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore.”
We woke up yesterday, and not a moment too soon.