Life After Losing: What Comes Next

Election night...

The culmination of months of hard work.

No more campaigning can be done.

Its time to sit by and watch as the voters decide how well the campaigns did.

At this point some candidates have already started planning their first few months in office, and many campaign staffers have been offered positions. Then the numbers come in, and the once hopeful and loud party is reduced to a low rumble with only close supporters and family left. The numbers did not come in how anyone had hoped. The next few days and weeks feel empty and the “what-if’s” keep invading the mind. Dealing with a campaign loss takes time and it isn’t easy by any means, there are steps to take to come to terms with the fate that has been decided by a group of strangers that make this post-election period bearable.

The one good thing about having election day in early November is that Thanksgiving and the Christmas Season immediately follow. This is a good chance to reconnect with family and friends and celebrate these holidays with loved ones. This can be a healthy distraction from the loss that was suffered only a few weeks prior.

That being said, its ok to be sad. Its ok to cry. Its ok to be mad. Candidates and staffers spend months campaigning with little time off spreading their message, so naturally losing can feel like the campaign failed, and was a waste of time.

Look at it like this: Say the campaign gets 45%, which is respectable but not quite in winning territory, that means 45% of the electorate thought that campaign and that candidate was the best for the job. Without that name being on the ballot, that 45% wouldn’t have had a person they felt was good enough to receive their vote. 45% of the electorate thought that candidate was their best chance at being properly represented. That is not a waste of time by any means.

Finally, remember life isn’t over. There may be an opportunity missed and there may be a period of time where staffers and candidates face that age-old question “what’s next”. But the Earth keep moving and the sun keeps rising, and everyone involved in that campaign will find their next calling. If you’re a candidate, don’t rule out running again, Abraham Lincoln lost races for Illinois House, U.S. Senate and Vice President before he was finally elected President. If you came close, whose to say you won’t be closer and even win next time? Its important to build on the work accomplished in your first campaign. If you’re a staffer, you too will find your next job probably sooner then you expect. Don’t swear off politics because you lost one, just remember that every campaign is more experience and makes you more desirable for future employers.

Yes losing sucks, but as cliché as it sounds, you stood for something and put yourself out there, and you should be immensely proud of that.

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