Mandates for change

One thing I’ve always found interesting about elections is that regardless of the level of office, tally of votes, electoral college count, whatever, the winner claims a mandate for change whereby they are going to do all these things to turn the country around.  It was doomed before, I won, I have a mandate for change, and I’m going to change all sorts of stuff to bring us back from the precipice.

In 2000, there was a change in the White House from Democrat to Republican.  Bush won the electoral college, yes, but the general election was virtually a draw.  Did Bush have some huge landslide, some indication that the country asking to be saved from a horrible Democrat fate created by Clinton?

The last switch of party, in 1992, had Clinton winning the popular vote with 43%.  Wow, hardly a indication of the populace running from the failed Republican policies hoping to be saved by the Dems.

Overall, probably the biggest % vote that caused a shift in party control of the White House in the last 50 years would have been Reagan in 1980 with about a 10% lead over Carter .  The last time before that would have been Eisenhower in 1952 with a 10% lead.

So what does all this tell me?  It tells me that for the most part, we the people don’t want a bunch of change.  We pretty much like the status quo.  When things start to get a little unpleasant for some of us, we swing our votes in the other direction.  We’re steering the United States down the center of a road, and if we start drifting too much, we don’t crank the wheel hard, we make a minor adjustment to bring it back to center.

So, President Obama, be cautious over the next 2 and 4 years.  Keep the car in the center of the road.  Preserve the status quo.  If you nudge the car too far to the left side of the road, the people will nudge it back at the next election.

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