Greg Sargent, the well-respected opinion blogger for The Washington Post, asks an important question today: "Why, now that Obama has won a resounding victory, is this suddenly being talked about as a small, no-mandate election?"
From a friendly exchange of emails, I know that Greg disagreed with my election-night analysis that argued against the notion of President Obama securing a mandate Tuesday night. I sided with academics who argue that electoral mandates are a myth, especially in an era of polarization, and with Democratic and Republican strategists who say Obama did himself no favors with a thin campaign platform.
But Greg makes a good case for his point of view. He accurately points out that Republican and Democratic commentators described the election for months as a big choice between two starkly different ideological directions. Quoting now:
"What happened yesterday is very clear. Romney campaigned on a platform of repealing (and not replacing) Obamacare, the greatest expansion of the safety net in 50 years; readjusting the social contract at the core of Medicare, one of the great progressive reforms of the 20th century; rolling back government's role in engineering economic growth and protecting people from the excesses of the private market; and dramatically reducing the amount the rich contribute towards the upkeep of government, on the theory that so doing will lead to explosive growth and broadly shared prosperity."