WELCOME TO THE BLOG
This blog serves my columns as an archive, a place to add footnotes,data sources and drafts of columns for the Sky Hi News(www.skyhidailynews.com) and after November 2019, the Winter Park Times, and postings on the Muftic Forum Blog. Often these are posted on my political Facebook page, The Muftic Forum. I have another facebook page for personal happenings found under feliciamuftic.
I remove comments containing expletives and not in English.
Monday, December 29, 2014
Mandate madness; What did the 2014 midterms mandate the GOP Congress to do?
2015 could be Washington’s year of mandate miscalculations. If Republicans rely on the 2014 midterms as
their legislative compass and their interpretations miss the mark, they could lay the groundwork for a backlash in 2016 . Their challenge for the GOP in Congress is trying to decipher what are and what are
not voters’ mandates to pass certain legislation when most of the electorate did
not vote and other factors contributed
to their reelection.
This was the lowest
turnout since 1942 with only one third of the electorate bothering to
vote. In presidential elections the
average is over 60%. To claim there was
a mandate that represents widespread views about issues is a stretch.
The Associated Press
pollster’s conclusion about this November election was: “Those on either side
of the aisle express sharply divergent views on top issues, making it difficult
for lawmakers to discern a clear mandate for governing “.
Adding to the
confusion, voters voted one way on ballot issues, yet voted for candidates who
believe the opposite. The only conclusion is that party loyalty trumped dedication
to issues in 2014. In Colorado a personhood amendment went down in flames yet
Cory Gardner was elected Senator (by a 2.5% percentage point) even though his
name remained on a personhood- like bill in Congress. 70% in
a recent NBC Wall Street Journal poll favored the elements of the Senate bi
partisan compromise on comprehensive immigration, but 48% opposed presidential
action depending upon party affiliation.
Every GOP candidate in the Midterms
preached repeal of Obamacare, many winning races, yet other polls show 60% of
voters did not want repeal and liked the individual elements. Disapproval of
Obamacare followed party affiliation per a Gallup poll. Four red states voted
to raise the minimum wage while their party has fought it tooth and nail in
If there was a
mandate, it was for parties to work together per a Wall Street Journal/NBC
poll. That is wishful thinking. Partisanship runs deep and is heavily determined
by demographics, a phenomenon that could be called tribal, a “people like us
against them” mentality. Per the AP exit
poll, 87% of Republicans vs 61% of Democrats were white. Women outnumbered men in
the Democratic electorate; the ratio was reversed with Republicans. 20% of those backing Democrats and only 12% of
Republicans made less than $30,000 per year. 40% percent of Republicans were
church going white evangelical Christians, while only 11% of Democrats were.
Republicans “are disproportionately southern” and rural compared to Democrats.
Complicating the mandate picture are special interests and a
deepening divide between establishment and Tea Party Republicans. Most within the GOP may agree on the
problems, but they see solutions and priorities differently.
In the end, the
interpretation of voter mandates matters little for legislators who are more
concerned whether their political contributors’ ox gets gored or is well fed. Given the enormous cost of campaigning
and the loosening of campaign laws to permit more contributions from
corporations and the wealthy, that should be no surprise to anyone.
A version of this appeared in the Jan. 2 2015 Sky Hi News www.skyhidailynews.com