When President Bush won re-election in 2004 with a bare majority of 51 percent of the vote, the ConWeb did its best to portray it as a mandate. The leader was Newsmax, which stated: "The major media are very angry George Bush won the presidency by a significant margin. America is not divided. The race was not even close. The verdict of the people is clear: Americans today support President Bush and the values he stands for." Newsmax's Christopher Ruddy followed up by asserting that "the American people voted decisively to re-elect President Bush."
But with Barack Obama's victory margin over John McCain being twice as large as Bush's over John Kerry in 2004, what is Newsmax doing? Playing down the idea he has any sort of mandate.
Lowell Ponte tried some pre-emptive mandate-squashing in a Nov. 3 Newsmax article:
Because voting is not compulsory, approximately one-third of eligible voters — who meet the age, citizenship, and other legal requirements — never even register.
Of the remaining two-thirds, on a typical national Election Day only half of us — perhaps a bit more this year — who have registered bother to vote.
And of this one-third of eligible voters casting ballots, only about half will vote for the winner.
This means that the winner will win only about one-sixth of the potential ballots of eligible voters, and no matter how you slice this, it is hard for the winner to call his less-than-17 percent of eligible votes a mandate.
But in Barack Obama's case, his victory will carry even less of a mandate than this.
How so? Ponte cited a 2004 statement by Newsweek's Evan Thomas that media bias is "worth maybe 15 points" to the Democrats, which "could give Mr. Obama 15 more points on election day that he would never have won had the media been fair." Ponte continued:
Over the years ACORN and its front groups claim to have added 4 million people to the voter rolls in America. When Virginia authorities investigated a random sample of ACORN registrations, they found that 83 percent of them were fraudulent or otherwise had potentially disqualifying problems.
Multiply the 4 million names ACORN registered by 83 percent — and, voila, we get approximately 3.3 million potentially fraudulent votes that might be cast for Barack Obama.
That claim comes from an similar one Ponte made in an Oct. 6 Newsmax article: "In 2005, Virginia authorities sampled Project Vote registrations and rejected 83 percent of them for containing false or questionable information." Ponte offers no evidence to back up this claim or the source from where he plucked it. A quick Google search uncovered no independent source making the same claim.
Nevertheless, Ponte deducted 3.3 million votes, or 2.75 percent, from Obama's vote total and concluded:
Barack Obama, in other words, if this were an honest election, would win approximately 1 out of every 9 eligible voters.
Yes, the media will call it a mandate. Their ethical dishonesty is electing Mr. Obama.
And Ponte's ethical dishonesty is offering statistics that can't be verified, as well as general Democrat Derangement Syndrome.