For the second time in the fledgling 21st century, we are set upon by a right wing radical assuming the power of the US presidency without having won the popular vote.
In the instance of George W. Bush, he proceeded as though a mandate were his birthright. Thus far there is no indication that Donald Trump has any greater concern for the majority that rejected him than George W. Bush did.
In addition, Mr. Trump assumes power under black personal storm clouds. According to USA Today, Trump is today facing no fewer than 75 concurrent lawsuits. A fraction, however, of the estimated 4,000 business and personal legal actions he has been involved in throughout the years. On the order of 100 times what the Clintons have faced.
This too speaks to mandate. How can any elected official so encumbered with legal burdens be entrusted to determine the fate of the nation? In fact, radically alter it.
While the lack of a mandate meant nothing to Bush and may mean less to Trump, it returns moral authority to the majority that opposed him and legitimizes their opposition to him. It was Bush's willingness to "reorder America and the world" without majority consent that gave rise to the Obama presidency. If Trump ignores the American majority he surely strengthens it, and inevitably dooms his agenda as well.
Trump, of course, can quite easily alleviate these problems with one simple action on his first day in office: choose a Supreme Court nominee that is seen as fair and moderate. The unifying effect that would have on the nation would be immeasurable and would set him on a course to a successful presidency and imbue him with the legitimacy the American majority did not grant him on Election Day.
There is no question that Donald Trump assumes the presidency without majority consent. No legitimate argument for a mandate can stem from that. He can only achieve a mandate through unifying action.
What will it be: unification and success, or division and failure? The choice is yours, Mr. Trump.
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