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Presidential Mandates

soccerboy22

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So today in my Presidential Leadership class we were talking about mandates. As I sat there listening to a definition, which was fairly loose, I found myself thinking what a load of BS this is. How can a president say his election was mandated by the U.S. people when he won by under 6ish percent if he was even lucky enough to get over 50%.

So I was wondering what everyone else thought of the idea of mandates. Do you buy into them? Do you agree with them? What do you think the criteria for a presidential mandate should be?

If you want a brief description of what a mandate is here is a wiki link. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandate_(politics)
 

Harshaw

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You can really only credibly claim a mandate if you win by a substantial majority and the election was only about one or two issues. No president has achieved that for some time.
 

soccerboy22

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See that is what I think, but some kid in my class followed the Wilson train of thought. That being if in the midterms the Democrats won the House and Senate and then two years later win the White House than that means it is a mandate too.
 

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Didn't people use the term mandate during the Bush administration too?
Clinton was too long ago, but I suspect this word comes up pretty much every election.
 

Harshaw

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The last one was probably Reagan, '84. He won 59-41, with 49 states, and the only real issue on the table was Reaganomics.
 

Deuce

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The last one was probably Reagan, '84. He won 59-41, with 49 states, and the only real issue on the table was Reaganomics.
Cut taxes, raise spending, what could go wrong?
 

Harshaw

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Deuce

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Your opinion of it makes it no less a mandate. :shrug:
I don't think there's a such thing as a mandate in this sense.
 

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I've never been clear on what mandate even means. According to the posted wiki definition every single elected official in the US has a mandate

In politics, a mandate is the authority granted by a constituency to act as its representative
 

Harshaw

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I don't think there's a such thing as a mandate in this sense.
Which your opinion of Reaganomics would still have nothing to do with.
 

Harshaw

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I've never been clear on what mandate even means. According to the posted wiki definition every single elected official in the US has a mandate
Well, there's no board which offers a certification for it. But in the sense it's generally used, it refers to a clarity of purpose and the weight of popular sentiment behind an election.

Very difficult to measure, which is why both a large margin and a small number of electoral issues is probably key.
 

samsmart

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I've never been clear on what mandate even means. According to the posted wiki definition every single elected official in the US has a mandate
Err, not quite. A presidential mandate refers to how well the presidential candidate was elected. A presidential candidate who wins by a significant margin is said to have a mandate. Those who get elected otherwise do not.

For example, in FDR's first presidential election, he won 57% of the vote and carried all but six states. This could be said to give FDR the mandate he needed to pass his New Deal through Congress and wrangle the Supreme Court to uphold the legislation. He was able to do this through his popularity with the people.

On the other hand, George W. Bush's election was tainted because of the Florida election results and Bush v. Gore. The election results in Florida could have swayed the election to either candidate. Ultimately, it had to be decided by the Supreme Court, who ruled in favor of GWB. Because of how contentious that election was, it could be said that GWB did not have a mandate, and so should have acted with more bipartisanship and consensus from Congress.

How he behaved while President proves that a "mandate" is not a hard and fast rule.
 

Redress

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The last one was probably Reagan, '84. He won 59-41, with 49 states, and the only real issue on the table was Reaganomics.
There where a ton of issues on the table at that time, and a ton of things going on.
 

soccerboy22

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I've never been clear on what mandate even means. According to the posted wiki definition every single elected official in the US has a mandate
I can give you the definition we are working on in class.

Has to be a clear victory.
-Not winner with 50%+1 and loser with 50%-1
-Not clear on what is needed though
Candidate had to of run on a clear platform of change
-Party platform not that important
-To get elected be general

Since I know Reagan has been mentioned this is what we have said of his mandate
-Reagan in 1980 with 50.8% of the vote declared he had a mandate from the people that they wanted change.
 

Harshaw

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There where a ton of issues on the table at that time, and a ton of things going on.
Like what else?

When did you move to Georgia?
 

Harshaw

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I can give you the definition we are working on in class.

Has to be a clear victory.
-Not winner with 50%+1 and loser with 50%-1
-Not clear on what is needed though
Candidate had to of run on a clear platform of change
-Party platform not that important
-To get elected be general

Since I know Reagan has been mentioned this is what we have said of his mandate
-Reagan in 1980 with 50.8% of the vote declared he had a mandate from the people that they wanted change.
I disagree that it needs to be a platform of "change." It can just as easily be a mandate to continue when the other candidate WANTS change.
 

soccerboy22

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I disagree that it needs to be a platform of "change." It can just as easily be a mandate to continue when the other candidate WANTS change.
When we said change we meant change as in different from what the presidency before did. I literally just copied it out of my notes forgetting you all weren't there to complete everything.
 

American

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You can really only credibly claim a mandate if you win by a substantial majority and the election was only about one or two issues. No president has achieved that for some time.
I think Reagan did.
 

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In terms of the Electoral College, but not the popular vote. You can't claim a mandate when you don't even get over 50% in 1980.
1984? .
 

Harshaw

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I don't think you can have a mandate when the president is re-elected.
Yes, you can -- a mandate to continue what he's doing, when the choice was to continue or to take a different path.
 

soccerboy22

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Yes, you can -- a mandate to continue what he's doing, when the choice was to continue or to take a different path.
Well I don't buy into mandates anyway, but most mandates came at a point of change.
 

Harshaw

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