Letter: A Mandate

Letter to the Editor

The Nov. 3 election was a more democratic presidential election than occurred in 2016 for several reasons. By “democratic,” I mean an election that accurately reflected the electorate’s presidential preference. Presidents Nixon, G.W. Bush and Trump were all minority presidents in their first terms, winning the Electoral College with less than half of all popular votes cast. So far, Biden is winning 279 Electoral College votes with 51.3 percent of the vote, granting him an instant level of legitimacy as the voice of the U.S. citizenry, a level of legitimacy never achieved by President Trump in four years of polling, not to mention during the 2016 election when he earned only 46.1 percent share of the vote. President Trump’s share of the 2020 vote is similar to 2016 (currently 46.9 percent but trending downward). 

Biden’s claim to speak for most Americans is reinforced by the fact that a greater percentage of eligible voters participated in this election than have participated in the last 120 years. Biden’s mandate to speak for all of us is further strengthened by evidence that foreign interference in the 2020 election was demonstrably less impactful than in 2016. Finally, potential spoiler candidates failed to make a difference in the 2020 Electoral College votes. In 2016, by contrast, votes of progressives for the Green Party candidate were more than enough to have switched Electoral College votes from Trump to Clinton had the Green Party candidate not been in the race. Foreign election observers, Attorney General Barr and Republican secretaries of state in various swing states have all concluded that there was no significant evidence of fraud in the 2020 presidential election. 

Given the overwhelming evidence of Biden’s mandate to speak for all of us, it is frustrating that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell intends to thwart Biden’s plans to pass legislation representing the legislative preferences of most Americans. Victories by Jon Ossuff and Raphael Warnock in the upcoming Jan. 5 Georgia runoff election would ensure that policies supported by the majority of Americans would at least get a hearing, even if McConnell’s use of the filibuster dooms most of them.

William McCarthy