October 20, 2016

NOAH ROTHMAN: Clinton’s Mandateless Presidency.

Too late, however, Democrats are beginning to realize that winning by substantial margins is not itself enough to claim a mandate to pursue sweeping legislative reform. That will be particularly true if Clinton manages to win the White House by a substantial margin and Republicans retain control of one or both chambers of Congress. That mixed message would (rightly, as the Founders would have had it) yield gridlock. Clinton ran a campaign predicated on the dual notions that her place in the waiting line entitled her to the presidency and that she was not Donald Trump. That’s a winning message, but it does not a mandate make. Unable to conjure up a rationale for Clinton’s presidency, Democrats have taken to mocking Republicans who believe that they have their own obligations to their voters.

Others have noted that this election will be the sixth out of the last seven presidential elections in which Democrats will have won the popular vote. That, too, should incent some bipartisanship on the part of defeated Republicans, Democrats say. It will also likely be a year in which the House remains in Republican hands. That means that the Republican Party will have controlled the most responsive legislative chamber for 18 of the last 22 years. Rarely do you hear opinion makers marvel at the mandate conferred upon Republicans’ control over the first branch of government, the body the Founders insisted was the very embodiment of representative democracy. I wonder why.

I can live with gridlock — it’s far preferable to the next most-likely result, the kind we got from 2009-2011.

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