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.