Hi: Like most words, Mandate has many meanings in actual use.
"Mandate: 1552 borrowed from the Middle French 'Mandat' and directly from the Latin 'mandatum..........to order, commit to one's care"
Probably from the Latin manus (hand) ---the definition continues"'.
So, have the American people given a "clear mandate" to The President and/or Congress?
No, not technically, although a mandate was renewed with respect to those re-elected and given to those newly elected, at least arguably.
A writ of 'Mandamus' from the same word roots, is one requested from the judiciary to get an office holder to do what he is supposed to do.
One rarely sees this used.
The US Sumpreme court is restricted from making a 'declaratory judgement' (the Mass. SJC is not) but I think they might be able to handle a Mandamus, but I would be surprised if they would issue a writ of 'certiorare' with respect to such a case.
Was this an election that 'owerwhelmingly' gave a message regarding Iraq?
Not even, Senator Lieberman is going to be walking through the halls of the Senate and all the Democratic 'friends' who 'cut him loose' and trashed him will be 'making nice' otherwise the control of the Senate by the Democrats will only be on paper.
I am simply inclined to conclude that, despite press reports and Democratic commentary to that effect: there was NO overwhelming anything.
In the case of some elections, yes, a Mandate might be inferred, period.
I note the Press headlined Pres. Bush comparing Iraq to Vietnam (he is in Vietnam). at least from the pieces posted of what he actually said, they're nuts.
Not to mention that it would be undiplomatic to make such a comparison in that nation.