"Podesta: Obama Given ‘Real Mandate For Change’"
John Podesta, President and CEO of the Center for American Progress (currently on leave to head the Obama transition), explained this morning on Fox News Sunday that President-Elect Barack Obama’s victory last week constituted a strong endorsement by the American people of a “progressive philosophy” and has given progressives a “real mandate for change.”
Later in the program, however, Reps. Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Mike Pence (R-IN) argued that last week’s election was not a mandate. Despite the decisive election of Obama and other progressive candidates across the country, Cantor and Pence maintained that Americans were not endorsing the progressive platform:
CANTOR: This was not some kind of realignment of the electorate, not some kind of shift toward some style of European social, big government type of philosophy. [...]
PENCE: I don’t think this was a victory for a progressive, or a liberal victory, I think this was a victory for Barack Obama.
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Pence and Cantor are wrong. Last week Americans decisively elected a progressive president and gave progressives a majority in both houses of congress. Exit polls from last Tuesday show that “51 percent said government should do more to solve problems, the first time even a narrow majority said so since exit pollsters started asking the question in 1994.”
Indeed, while America remains a centrist nation, last week’s election demonstrates that the center is moving to the left. Polling shows that a majority of Americans favor progressive solutions to our nation’s problems including, instituting universal health care, expanding environmental protections, rebuilding the middle class, and ending the Iraq war.