Political Animal


October 18, 2012 4:39 PM Don’t Think Some Voters Will Accept “Broad Mandate”

By Ed Kilgore

On second thought, there’s another line in that Weekly Standard post excoriating early voting that’s worth a bit of commentary:

The traditional Election Day ensured that all Americans went to the polls having followed the same race, having heard the same debates, and having had the opportunity to weigh the same facts. The elected candidate therefore shared a broad mandate, and all Americans owned the outcome of the election equally, for good or ill.

Sounds nice. But let me juxtapose it with a few notes taken by Think Progress’ Scott Keyes, who attended a Debate Watch Party Tuesday night with an assortment of Nevada Republicans:

If I learned anything from watching last night’s presidential debate in a room full of Mitt Romney supporters, it’s that President Obama cannot speak English, wanted Americans in Benghazi to die, hopes America will be taken over by the Islamic world, carries a literal Communist Party card, and should be sent back to Mexico.
These were among the accusations flying at a Romney debate watch party Tuesday night in southeast Las Vegas, where approximately 75 Nevadans crowded into a small room to watch the debate and trade jabs at Obama….
It wasn’t until after the debate ended that the room hit peak-conspiracy theory. “Did you notice the Muslim Islamic marriage inscription on Obama’s wedding ring?” a woman nearby asked me. I said I hadn’t. “He’s got an Islamic wedding ring that he got when he turned 16 from the head of the Islamic church,” she explained. “Michelle doesn’t have that because she’s not Muslim but he is.”
Why does he hide his supposed-faith, I asked. “He wants America to go broke, because he doesn’t want America to succeed. He wants America to be taken over by the Islamic world,” she told me.
The conversation then turned to Obama’s family. “Did you know his grandmother, his mother, Michelle, and him are all card-carrying members of the Communist Party?” she asked. “We’ve got copies of their cards and the numbers,” offering to email a scanned copy when I expressed skepticism.

Y’know, I don’t think these folks are going to accept that Obama has any “broad mandate” to govern if he wins, and I’m quite sure they won’t “own the outcome of the election.” And it won’t have a thing to do with early voting. Even if you ignore all the crazy stuff about Obama, there’s this problem that today’s “constitutional conservatives” tend to think their vision of governance was literally handed down by God to the Founders, and no electorate should have the power to modify it. So “mandates” are just for the correct candidates, and elections are legitimate only when the correct candidates win.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • martin on October 18, 2012 4:57 PM:

    You have to remember their idea of a "broad mandate" is George W Bush getting fewer votes than Al Gore, but still being named President by the Supreme Court.

    Obama winning an overwhelming percentage of the votes against John McCain is an aberration, not a mandate.

    Captcha says these are worocal persons

  • T2 on October 18, 2012 5:09 PM:

    When George W. Bush, in his SECOND term, oversaw the nation's slide into the Great Recession, which bottomed out at the end of his term and the beginning of Obama's,
    I don't recall any of the Navadans accusing Bush of ruining the economy on purpose to turn the country over to Islam? Why didn't those Navadans go crazy back then?

    Let's face it, this is purely racial animosity. And it won't go away during a second Obama term, it will get worse.

  • LAC on October 18, 2012 5:10 PM:

    Maybe it is me, but I am just about done with the fucking looney tunes brigade. I feel like countering "Did you know that Romney has three other wives and that they are carefully hidden in his campaign staff? That he is trying to create a Mormon based world order and that his grandfather went to Mexico to set up a camp there for training purposes? That during his time as a missionary, Romney was actually secretly flying to South America and meeting with Mormon fascists to attempt to create colonies that would birth and foster a super race. David Koresh was there as a child, but struck out on his own and that actually it was Mormon troops that attacked the campment. It is all hidden in the Real Book of Mormon in the church in Maryland, under the flooring. Pass the chips, please."

    Ta Dah!!!

  • gregor on October 18, 2012 5:12 PM:

    At this point in time, all signs suggest a repeat of 2000 and thereafter: one way or the other Romney wins, the Democratic base is devastated and left to satisfy itself by continually and fruitlessly pointing to Mitts's lies, and the Democratic members of the Congress - unlike their counterparts in the GOP during 2009-2012 - give Romney all the tax cuts and the bills he wants.

    My God, wake me up from the nightmare.

  • Doug on October 18, 2012 5:14 PM:

    THESE are the people who, when I was reaching maturity, both physical and political, in the 1960/70s, were either marginalized; ie, kept away from microphones, or actually kicked out of the then Republican Party.
    Then it was COMMUNISM!!!, now it's ISLAM!!!!, but really all it is, and all it ever has been, is FEAR!!!
    Can that large a percentage of this country's population really be THAT paranoid?

  • RMcD on October 18, 2012 5:22 PM:

    Can we please stop pretending that these clowns have some plausible connection to the "founders"? I know that this was just a rhetorical flourish. But the real gap between Obama and the Tea Party is not progress vs. orginalism, it is liberal democracy vs. autocratic reaction, and the founders, for all their flaws, were more the former than the latter. Obama is their true heir. The roots of the Tea Party lie not with Madison and Jefferson, but with the Tories (when in power), the antifederalists (when out of power), the confederates, the segregationists, the Social Darwinists, the militia revivalists, and every paranoid fantasist that ever crawled out of the great American sewer system.

  • JMG on October 18, 2012 5:22 PM:

    Dear Doug: Keeping these poor souls in a constant state of fear and rage is a big and very profitable business. The danger for us all is that if there is a President Romney, which could well happen, the fear and rage machine will turn to creating a foreign devil and it's off to war we again.

  • Peter C on October 18, 2012 5:27 PM:

    This is why Mitt wants to do away with Big Bird; Big Bird and his friends are pretty effective at teaching people like this basic thinking skills. "one of these things is not like the others ..."

  • mmm on October 18, 2012 6:52 PM:

    Yes, there have always been such paranoid people. In the 1950's when people were building bomb shelters in fear of nuclear war, my Grandfather asked,"What do they think they will do when they come out of their shelter and everything is contaminated and no one is there?"

  • jjm on October 18, 2012 7:12 PM:

    So the GOPers are feeling their party and their complete outlook are on its a**. So, they're lashing out in paranoid frenzy. So what? Their days are in fact numbered, as Lindsay Graham accidentally let slip.

  • Ed Thibodeau on October 19, 2012 12:41 AM:

    I certainly agree with the obvious point that the losing side will not acknowledge the mandate claimed by the winning side.

    That said, I have a lot a sympathy for the idea of everybody showing up at the polls in person on Election Day. That's what I do and I love it. Democracy is community.

    Early voting, absentee ballots, vote by mail... those should be "legal and rare", permitted only when there is no other option.

  • Ed Thibodeau on October 19, 2012 12:48 AM:

    Just read EK's previous post and want to expand my comment.

    It is absolutely true the current voting laws are hard on working people. My support of voting in person on Election Day is not aimed as supressing the vote. I absolutely agree that Election Day should be a national holiday or at the very least take place on the weekend.

    My view has nothing to do with the idea that limiting voting to Election Day ensures a result based on equal information. It is based on the idea that we as a nation need more shared experiences.

  • Hue and Cry on October 19, 2012 1:40 AM:

    Sounds like a typical conversation east of Pittsburgh and west of Philly--just inane reflexive absurd statements reflecting ignorance, racism, low fund of general information, outright stupidity--generally coupled with voting against one's own personal and important economic interests, and long, long hours of indoctrination of Fox News

  • BJ smith on October 19, 2012 11:35 AM:

    I'm with Lac on this one & please hire Jon Stewart to do the honors.That keeps us legit & points out so vividly we are dealing with complete idiots.