Don’t Call It A Mandate

Trump doesn’t have much of one.

“The idea that Donald Trump doesn’t have a mandate after he got 100 more electoral votes than Mitt Romney did — he got 360 electoral votes. It wasn’t even close[.]”

- Kellyanne Conway

The Trump camp has struggled to properly frame his Presidential victory. There are many ways to probably accurately frame it, but claiming to have a mandate is a losing and dishonest argument. While the vote continues to be counted, Trump currently is set to lose the popular vote by the biggest point margin of an Electoral College winner since Rutherford Hayes in 1876.

Losers of the popular vote, who won the Presidency

Examining modern Presidential victories provides more context:

The Presidential vote margin since 1976

Trump won the lowest share of the popular vote in modern presidential history, doing almost four times worse than George W. Bush in the 2000 election.

“He won states that had not gone Republican in decades.”

- Also Conway

Well he did. But not by very much. Trump managed to flip Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania; All states considered part of the so called “blue wall” that generally was thought to put the Democrats closer to 270 electoral votes, giving them a slight edge.

Of the four states that were won with a less than one percent margin of victory, three of them went to Trump, and one went to Clinton.

So the claim that Trump has a mandate by winning three bluer states by less than one percent is perhaps a better argument, but not a good one. It likely won’t be convincing the 2.6 million voters that Clinton won over Trump.

A better case might be found in emulating what George W. Bush did after the 2000 election. Presenting himself not as one with a mandate, but as a compromise figure who could promote national unity and work across the aisle.

There might be a lesson in there for Trump and his folks.