Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Mayor-elect Freddie O’Connell, even a landslide doesn’t equal a mandate.

Freddie O'Connell
by John Geer, Tennessee Lookout, Sept. 18, 2023 - Mayor-elect Freddie O’Connell won in a landslide last Thursday.  

 ... But while the mayoral election was a landslide, no one should assume the election was a “mandate” for any specific policies. That would be a mistake and could lead to missteps once O’Connell and the members of the City Council take the oath of office.   

The truth of the matter is that elections provide limited information about voters’ views on public policy. A vote for a candidate only indicates that you, the voter, favor one contender more than the other. It does not even indicate that you liked the candidate you pulled the lever for. Some citizens may have been voting for the lesser of two evils, so to speak. 

We can all try to infer some meaning from an election about policy, but the facts are that a ballot for O’Connell contains very little information on the voters’ views on policy. Consider that many surely voted for him but also supported the new Tennessee Titans stadium — a point of political controversy. 

 ... As O’Connell and the Council roll up their sleeves, it would also be wise to listen to all voices. The solutions to our problems will not be found in one ideology, but rather a careful assessment of the relevant evidence and thoughtful consideration of all perspectives.  

... It is also worth pointing out that listening to all voices and reaching across the aisle might help the city in its dealings with the state legislature. We need to find ways to build bridges, not barricades. And our state legislators might also be more open to listening as they think through the lessons from the recent special session. (read it all)

John G. Geer is a Distinguished Professor of Political Science and holds the Gertrude Conway Vanderbilt Chair. He leads the Vanderbilt Project on Unity & American Democracy, serving as a senior advisor to Chancellor Daniel Diermeier on key strategic initiatives. Geer also co-directs the Vanderbilt Poll.


Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

No comments:

Post a Comment