The new voice of the Democratic Party argues that the 2016 election proves the American people want the Democratic agenda. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) told Anderson Cooper of CNN that “Republicans do not have majority support in this country.” As evidence, she pointed to Democratic pick-ups in the House and Senate. She continued, “The American people didn’t give Democrats majority support so we can come back to Washington and play dead.”
While Mr. Cooper nodded in approval, I nearly fell off my treadmill taking in her amazing position. “We won the popular vote,” she reminded. While Sen. Warren is to be congratulated for putting on the best face possible in light of Trump’s stunning victory, in one 20-minute interview, she encapsulated the daunting problem that threatens to relegate Democrats to minority status for a generation.
Trump doesn’t have a mandate? I’ll do what Anderson Cooper failed to do – ask Ms. Warren obvious follow-up questions. Apparently, nowhere in his journalism studies at Yale, nor in his 26 years as a journalist, did anyone tell Mr. Cooper it is okay to ask tough questions during an interview, rather than sit there and nod in approval with every statement, no matter how preposterous.
Sen. Warren said Republicans don’t have a mandate. This calls for several obvious questions that any B+ student in a high school journalism class would have asked.
1. “Sen. Warren, are you aware that Republicans have more seats in Congress than at any time in American history?”
While the new face of the Democratic Party argues that Democrats made gains, she left out a few facts, that left ignored, will seal the fate of her party for years to come. Put forth as a question: “Sen. Warren, are you aware that under President Obama, Democrats have lost 12 governors, 69 House seats, 13 Senate seats, and over 900 state legislature seats?” Today, following the 2016 election, when putting all those numbers together, Republicans fill more elective positions than at any date in American history.
2. “Sen. Warren, Did JFK and Bill Clinton have a mandate?”
The fact is that neither Kennedy nor Clinton ever won a majority of the vote in any of their elections – 1960, 1992, 1996. Did Ms. Warren call President Clinton and say, “Mr. President, you won just 43 percent of the vote (three points less than Trump received in 2016). Therefore, do not govern as though you won. Do not push for Democratic positions to actually be enacted. You do not have a mandate. Do not govern as a Democrat.” I’m pretty sure Warren never made that call.
3. “Sen. Warren, are you saying Trump should not fulfill the promises he made during the campaign?”
To not govern with a “mandate” implies Trump should back off the commitments he made to the voters who elected him. Trump can’t win with the media or such Democrats as Sen. Warren. If he follows through with his campaign promises such as lower taxes, fewer regulations, and border control, he will be accused of governing as though he had a mandate. If he goes along with Ms. Warren’s advice – which she would have never suggested to Sec. Clinton had she won the race in similar fashion – Trump would be branded a flip-flopper.
4. “Sen. Warren, are you aware of how we count wins in elections?”
Anderson Cooper’s next visit after the interview was to a chiropractor – his neck was sore from the constant nodding of approval with everything Warren said, no matter how goofy. “Mr. Trump lost the popular vote,” she repeated. Apparently, Ms. Warren failed her high school government class. Elections are actually decided by this pesky thing thought up 225 years ago. It’s called the Electoral College. That’s the scoreboard they use. I’m expecting the Senator’s next complaint to come at a Red Sox game. “We got more hits than the Yankees, so we won!” Games are won by the team with the most runs, points, or goals.
The Democrats’ biggest problem is not that they lost the election. It’s that they don’t know they lost the election. They kept the same leadership team in place in both the Senate and the House. They have yet to acknowledge that they are on the wrong track. And if they keep this up, they will re-define insanity in 2020 – doing the same thing they did in 2016, but expecting different results.
A win is a win. To quote President Obama, “Elections have consequences.” The winner gets to lead. That’s how it works in America. Sen. Warren and the Democratic Party can pretend it’s the popular vote that counts, that Santa’s elves make all the toys, and that the sun rises in the west. It’s a free country. But it’s also a Republican-led country, at least for the next four years.
Trump won – like it or not. And that, Sen. Warren, is all the mandate the Constitution requires.