On behalf of 48% of the country, I would like to make it clear to both our president, George W. Bush, and his constituency, that Tuesday was not
a mandate for his policies.
Admittedly, I cannot definitively say what a mandate is. It is not, however, a 51/48 rift. That qualifies as a bare majority, not overwhelming support, a fact that is likely to prompt many in the 51% to accuse mathematics of liberal bias. The narrow margin of victory for our incumbent president is mirrored by a very close electoral college; assuming Bush carries the last two unknown states, it will still only be 286-252, for a 53/47 split.
While it's true, as many have claimed in the past few days, that Bush has received more votes than any other president in history, that more votes were cast against
this president than any other incumbent in history renders that little factoidal nugget meaningless.
We progressives can accept that we lost and begin our rebuilding efforts. Moreover, we expect that, as losing the popular vote in 2000 certainly prompted no restraint, the current administration will harbor zero compunction about blazing ahead with a divisively conservative agenda.
Still, one thing progressives generally will not broach is intellectual dishonesty. If the voting majority wants to inflict Bush on the nearly 50% of the country who supported Kerry, then so be it, that's how our chosen and honored electoral system works. But do not pretend support for the president's policies poured out of the sky as innumerable as the stars in heaven, for if barely 1% of America's population had stayed home sick on Tuesday, a Kerry "mandate" would be the word of the day instead.