In mid-September, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) was elaborating on why he wanted to force a confrontation with the White House next year that would lead to a government shutdown.Read the whole post here.
“If we take the majority, that should be a good indication to the president that the American people have not agreed with his policy and his platform,” Westmoreland said. “And that they agree with ours.”
This may very well be a common sentiment in GOP circles today--Republicans won, the argument goes, so they have a mandate.
But there’s ample reason for skepticism. In fact, the evidence suggests the opposite is true--for the first time in memory, voters have punished an unpopular party and rewarded an even more unpopular party.
The exit polls tell an interesting story: 41% of voters yesterday had a favorable opinion of congressional Republicans. Congressional Democrats weren’t winning any popularity contests, but their favorable numbers were slightly better than the GOP’s, while President Obama fared better than both. In other words, Republicans won yesterday despite the public’s impressions of the party, not because of.
Such a result does not a mandate make.
READ MORE: “Republican Blowout, but No Conservative Mandate” (Think Progress).