Democrats Win Popular Vote in Races for President, Senate and, yes, House

After repeating lies and misinformation throughout the 2012 election, Republicans didn’t miss a beat following their substantial loss on Tuesday. Again and again we are hearing Republican politicians chattering about how Democrats, especially President Obama, have no mandate.

Before we deconstruct this most recent Republican mangling of reality, let’s first take a look at the meaning of the word mandate. Mandate, according to dictionary definitions, means ‘to give someone authority to act in a certain manner.’ In general, winning an election is, by definition, a mandate. The elected person is the one given authority or mandate.

But, in a broader sense, political mandate is a definition of what a majority of Americans want. And in every case, Democrats won more popular vote totals than Republicans. Obama won the popular Presidential vote by nearly 3 million. The Democrats in the Senate won the popular vote too, expanding their majority by 2 seats. And, though they were unable to re-gain control of the House, Democrats in that branch of government received 500,000 more votes than Republicans, also winning the popular vote.

In short, Democrats, in all branches of government have the American people’s mandate to pursue the policies they’ve run on. And no Republican mangling of language is going to change that fact. Sadly, the Republicans have simply reverted to attempts to diminish their political opposition in every way and at every time. They have, instead of reverting to the role of governing after waging a punishing, untruthful, and vicious campaign, and losing, decided to just continue campaigning. This decision is a decision to put their own political goals, ones rejected repeatedly by the American people, ahead of the good of country.

Should it be any surprise that the republican party of obstructionism, hostage taking, and voter suppression would make this choice?

Republicans had a chance to lose graciously and retain their role as legitimate members of US government. But, as the viciousness continues, the clock is ticking. In another day or so, it will become obvious that Republicans have continued to wage their selfish little war on US interests. The interests of a majority of Americans. And, if this happens, the campaign to unseat every obstructionist in 2014 will have already begun. And it will begin from the same group the drubbing Republicans’ received on Tuesday originated. It will begin with the real American people. The ones Republicans continue to ignore.

Two in Five Voters Give Obama Mandate to Confront Climate Change, ‘Destructive Power of a Warming Planet’

According to CBS exit polls, 2 in 5 Americans considered Superstorm Sandy and President Obama’s handling of the disaster a crucial factor in deciding who to vote for on election day. According to the survey, the storm was the most important factor for 15% of those polled. Twenty six percent of those polled considered the storm an important factor.

If this is true, millions of votes, perhaps as much as 20 million, can be directly attributed to the impact of Hurricane Sandy.

Obama seemed to sense this mandate Tuesday night. In his victory speech Obama proclaimed:

We want our children to live in an America that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.

Republicans, flailing for someone or something to blame for their loss, have also targeted Sandy. Numerous pundits blamed the storm for Romney’s slide in the polls. And it is appropriate that a party which continues to brazenly deny the effects of and needed responses to human caused global warming should suffer a loss due to a problem they are ignoring and, through policies supporting increased fossil fuel use, make worse.

This result has given rise to calls for Obama to become a climate change hawk. Joe Romm stated on election day:

Obama’s legacy — and indeed the legacy of all 21st century presidents, starting with George W. Bush — will be determined primarily by whether we avert catastrophic climate change.

And it is, indeed critical that Obama take point on this key issue during his last four years as President. New reports show that, for the world to keep warming below 2 degrees Celsius and avoid the worst insults of climate change, carbon intensity must fall by 5% per year for each year from now to 2050. Unfortunately, current carbon intensity is falling by just .8% each year, less than 1/6th the level needed.

In fact, scientists are arguing against more research into clean energy in favor of a deploy now and deploy big strategy. The new sources — wind and solar — are established enough to provide reliable energy for humanity. And critical transportation technologies like electric vehicles are already well established as viable. The time is now to rapidly increase the scale and penetration of these key alternative energy technologies. Such increases will require new government policy measures to encourage rapid adoption and deployment. One such policy called Tax and Transfer has been submitted as a possible solution by NASA scientist James Hansen. Other countries such as Germany, Sweden, and Scotland have provided impressive models for rapid transfers away from fossil fuel based energy sources.

The President would be well served to enlist the help of luminaries like James Hansen, Joe Romm, Michael Mann, and Bill McKibben to form an emergency task force on climate change to recommend solutions to our growing problem. Such a response, combined with clear, effective policy measures for reducing carbon pollution as well as partnering with foreign countries to speed such a transition are absolutely necessary to prevent an increasingly dangerous climate.


%d bloggers like this: