The "m" word
We've already seen the "m" word -- mandate -- pop up in a few places to describe Steve Beshear's victory yesterday, particularly in the analyses of what his election will mean for the future of casino gambling in Kentucky.
Beshear's election was no mandate. He received around 58 percent of the statewide vote, which is roughly equivalent to the percentage of registered Democrats in the population of Kentucky. Gov. Ernie Fletcher received around 42 percent of the vote, which is more than the percentage of registered Republicans in Kentucky.
This election boils down to a party-line vote. That's not a mandate by any means. When a candidate from the minority party wins, as Fletcher did four years ago, that's a mandate. When the candidate from the majority party wins by a margin significantly greater than voter registration figures, that's a mandate. When the vote breaks down along party lines, that's the furthest thing possible from a mandate.
If Beshear and his supporters are going into office thinking they have a mandate, they are badly fooled.