Byron York remarks on one of the more remarkable aspects of Obama’s post-election press conference, the notion that those who did not vote have given him a mandate:
President Obama did something extraordinary, perhaps unprecedented, in his post-election news conference Wednesday: He claimed a mandate on behalf of voters who didn’t vote.
“To everyone who voted, I want you to know that I hear you,” the president said. “To the two-thirds of voters who chose not to participate in the process yesterday, I hear you, too.”
What did that mean? What did those non-voters say?
It would probably be more useful to ask what the president heard. And apparently Obama heard expressions of support from non-voters across the land.
The president explained that many more voters turned out when he was elected, and then re-elected, than in Tuesday’s midterms that left Republicans firmly in control of House and Senate. “One of the things that I’m very proud of in 2008 and 2012, when I ran for office, was we got people involved who hadn’t been involved before,” Obama said. “Part of what I also think we’ve got to look at is that two-thirds of people who were eligible to vote just didn’t vote.”
Of course, more than one-third of the people who were eligible to vote in Obama’s two presidential elections didn’t vote then, either. But Obama’s message to Republicans was unmistakable: My mandate is bigger than your mandate.
Certainly presidential-year turnout is larger than midterm turnout; that’s the way the system works. But Obama’s reaction was born out of failure.
Everyone knew, going into Tuesday’s voting, that Democrats were desperate to re-assemble the vaunted Obama coalition of 2008 and 2012. If that combination of minorities, women and young people came to the midterm polls in the same numbers they did in presidential years, Obama’s party would do very well.
But that didn’t happen — a result the president does not seem prepared to fully acknowledge. Facing the reality of a huge Republican victory,
I think this video is somewhat more reflective of Obama’s true reaction:DONATE
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