Mandate for Me But Not for Thee:
People for the American Way Press Release in 2008, after Democratic President Elect Barack Obama defeats Republican John McCain by a 53-46 margin:
Looking at yesterday's results, it's incontrovertible that the election delivered a sweeping mandate for President-elect Obama . . .
People for the American Way Press Release in 2005, after Republican President George W. Bush defeated Democrat John Kerry by a 51-48 margin:
Clearly, President Bush, who won a narrow victory and leads a divided nation, has no mandate . . .
A 53-46 margin isn't exactly the same as a 51-48 margin. But still, I think I see a pattern.

  UDPATE: Some commenters seem to believe this post is unfair, because everybody is prone to this sort of hyperbole — especially advocacy groups. To be clear, the point of the post is just that: This was just an early example of the shift in arguments that we're all supposed to make now that the Presidency is set to change.

  Also, a few readers argue that there really is a dramatic difference between the two election outcomes. First, some readers argue that the test for whether there is a "mandate from the people" is electoral college outcome, not the popular vote; I respond to that here. Second, some argue that a doubling of the size of the gap is really dramatic; the difficulty is that if you look historically at the differences, the two sets of outcomes are not so far from each other; the doubling of a small number is still relatively small given the range of outcomes in elections. Of course, Obama won soundly, especially at the electoral college; it wasn't a close election. But I don't think the difference justifies the rhetoric of the press releases, which was the point of the post.