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City of Brass

City of Brass

Mandate – Obama takes North Carolina

Incredible. North Carolina is now officially for Obama, bringing his EV total to 364 and total number of states flipped from red to blue to nine. Missouri is the sole remaining state to be counted, with a margin of mere 10,000 votes in McCain’s advantage so far. If MO also flips blue then that will push Obama to 375.

I mentioned this before, but it’s worth repeating – despite desperate attempts by Republicans to spin/argue that America is a “center-right” nation, Obama’s margin of victory is truly a mandate for change. Recall that after winning re-election in 2004, President Bush laid claim to a mandate and “political capital”, on the strength of his 35 EV and 3 million voter margin over John Kerry. For comparison, including NC and excluding MO, Obama has a 201 EV and 7.7 million voter margin over McCain. Obama earned 2.5 million more votes than Bush did in 2004; whereas McCain earned 2.2 million fewer votes than Kerry. Percentage-wise, Bush’s margin over Kerry was 3% whereas Obama’s margin over McCain was 7%. By every possible metric, therefore, Obama’s victory was comprehensive and staggering.

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Incidentally, Reagan and Nixon earned more EVs than Obama did in their respective victories, but far far fewer votes: Reagan earned 44 million votes in 1980 and Nixon earned 47 million in 1972, compared to Obama’s 64.5 million. In terms of voter turnout, 2008 saw 64.1% of voters going to the polls, compared to 52.6% in 1980 and 55.2% in 1972. Unlike Republicans, Democrats have seen their share of the vote increase steadily with every election in recent history.

Of course, Reagan and Nixon had EV totals far higher, but that reflects the discrete apportionment of the Electoral College. The only valid metric for determining a mandate is the popular vote, since otherwise you’d have to argue that the vote of one Montanan equals the vote of 100 Californians in influence.

As John McCain said in his concession speech, Americans spoke clearly on Election Night, and gave Obama a clear and overwhelming mandate for change. Obama needs to seize the genuine political capital he’s been loaned by the American people and make sure not to squander it. After all, America is clearly a center-left nation.

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