What does an electoral mandate mean in a democratic government?

Whenever an election result heavily favors one party or candidate, the commentariat class—those members of the media and political elite who feel qualified to act as final arbiters in determining the meaning of political and cultural events—brand that victory a “mandate.” This term is used as if the degree of victory somehow gives the winner greater legitimacy to act, lending an air of unassailable moral authority to the policies and initiatives pursued and casting dissenters…

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If 2016 is a choice between the worst options, the people bear some responsibility

A mere four years ago, pundits were bemoaning the death of the Lincoln-Douglas style debate. In an election cycle defined by quips about “binders full of women” and where the most serious dismantling of ideology involved repeatedly calling it “malarkey,” the staid deliberation of 19th century campaigning seemed the height of rhetorical finesse. If the clamoring for such gravitas seems absent from this election, and it is, it’s because decorum is no longer a consideration…

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The difference between voting on rationale and for party

The most pervasive interpretation of the electoral system which pervades social discourse paints politics as a binary choice in a zero-sum system. A vote for one candidate is not just a philosophical act of repudiation of their opponent’s ideas, but simultaneously an act which substantively detracts from their ability to win. Such an interpretation is only possible in some abstract world of quantum politics, where the voter exists in a dual state of simultaneous support…

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