I’ve seen in a couple of places a contention that returning Republicans to control of the U.S. House was an endorsement of their policy goals. Like the mandate talk for Barack Obama, I view that claim as dubious to start with. The voting booth just isn’t a very good tool for a voter to communicate much of anything other than possibly, “this is the candidate I hate least.”
But the claim of mandate or endorsement for the House of Representatives becomes even less defensible now that we learned that House Republicans, despite winning a majority of the seats (234 – 201), received a minority of the vote.
Democrats got 54,301,095 votes while Republicans got 53,822,442. That’s a close election — 48.8%-48.5% –but it’s still a popular vote win for the Democrats.
Mark Small noted that, in Indiana, Republicans constitute 7/9 (78%) of Indiana’s Congressional delegation on the strength of 53.1% of the vote.
Redistricting is a powerful tool. I am not claiming that Republican control of the House is illegitimate in some fashion. They won that control under the current rules of the game. But, to claim it’s a mandate from the people to hold the line on taxes for the wealthy, is – as it turns out – slightly sillier than your garden variety mandate talk.