A mandate means you can . . . and you'd better

Headshot image of Herman Cain
Published by: Herman Cain on Sunday November 13th, 2016

Trump will lead. Republicans must follow.

It seems like every time we elect a new president, there is debate about whether the winner was given a “mandate” by the voters. Supposedly this means they didn’t just elect him (or her), but did so in such a way as to confirm that they want him to aggressively pursue the implementation of his policies.

What constitutes a mandate? No one really seems sure. One possibility, though, is that you’ve got a mandate if the voters also gave your party a majority in the House and Senate – and in Donald Trump’s case, they did.

So let’s say Trump, along with congressional Republicans, have a mandate. Great. But there are two sides to a mandate. The one side says you can pursue your agenda. The other side says you’d better.

And they’d better. Because the Republican Party now owns the task of solving America’s problems. There is no more throwing up hands and saying, “We’d love to but Obama will veto anything we pass.”

And there is no doing what Obama spent eight years doing, which is blaming your predecessor for everything you can’t seem to get right. Regardless of what happened before you took office, you ran because you said you could make things better. If you don’t, that’s on you.

Republicans need to remember what happened between 2002 and 2006, when they held both houses of Congress as well as the White House. And what happened was . . . not much. In fairness, the post-9/11 era was a time when the primary focus was on fighting terrorism, and whether you agree or don’t agree with the way the Bush Administration fought that fight, you can’t deny that they fought it hard.

But that is no excuse for the lack of action on things like the tax code, health care, energy policy, federal spending and entitlements. Bush seemed pretty bold during his 2005 inaugural address, pushing for partial privatization of Social Security. But when Republicans on Capitol Hill got nervous about the political consequences of messing with the program, the idea quickly died. Dick Cheney headed up a commission on energy policy that seemed to have promise for freeing up domestic resources – but too many congressional Republicans were scared of the environmental lobby. It went nowhere.

And everyone loved their spending! They just figured they were spending on Republican things, so it was OK.

We cannot have that again. Donald Trump, Mike Pence, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell need to get to work quickly, and they need to consider themselves mandated by the voters to make big things happen. They need to repeal and replace ObamaCare. They need to replace the tax code. They need to make Washington a friend to domestic energy producers. They need to adopt business-friendly economic policies and sensible monetary policies.

And they need to get spending under control, for goodness sakes. Our national debt is approaching $20 trillion and unfunded entitlement mandates are more than $100 trillion. The public may get nervous about the changes that will be necessary to solve these problems, but this is where Trump has to lead effectively and the Congress has to have more of a backbone than its counterparts of a decade ago.

And the last thing any of them should do (looking at you, Sen. McConnell) is be afraid of the news media. Ask Donald Trump about that. He just took the biggest media assault of anyone in the history of politics, and yet what was the result? If you stand firm and confident in the face of the media’s nonsense, you can win. And when Republicans take power in January and set about doing the things they need to do, they need to take that same approach. Trump showed the way in the presidential campaign. It’s time for all of them to follow now.

Finally, they need to understand this: They’ve got a second chance to show that Republicans can solve the nation’s problems. If they don’t do it this time, there will be no reason they should ever expect to be given power again.

So let’s not let it come to that.

Get Dan's three-part series of Christian spiritual thrillers! And follow all of Dan's work by liking his page on Facebook.