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5 Lessons Learned In The Last 36 Hours Of The Election Season

Posted by on Nov 8, 2012

Yes I do normally write my posts way in advance, but sometimes I have something to say that’s more timely; this is one of those times. And I have a dichotomy of emotions as I’m writing this. Yes, this is going to be a controversial post so if you don’t want to deal with it, I’d stop now and go read one of my happier posts. lol

Suffice it to say, Barack Obama has won reelection and will be the president for the next 4 years. Yes, I’m happy about that, moreso because I’m happy the other party lost rather than his winning. I think there was a lot at stake and that overwhelmingly people ended up voting for the other candidate for the wrong reason. As a matter of fact, the polls showed that they voted for him for the very reason I wrote this post and accusations against me and my “ilk”, if you will.

In any case, like most things in life, there are lessons to learn that might not be the types of lessons others might see; or maybe they will see them. Let’s find out as I explore these 5 lessons learned in the last 36 hours of the election season:

1. People’s real feelings come out strongly as the death knell is approaching. Some of the things I was reading and seeing about President Obama in the last 24 hours before the results were due to start coming in riled me up so much that I lost my mind. So I got into it on Facebook and, for the most part, people left me alone. There comes a point where things aren’t political anymore, they’re personal, and I was tired of the Muslim, patriot, traitor, “we’re gonna impeach him” and all the other mess that people just kept saying. If you think the link I left above was off the mark, trust me it wasn’t.

2. It seems people can’t filter out truth from hyperbole when it comes to TV political ads. Learn this from me if you need to. When those ads come out saying that so-and-so voted this much of a percentage with other members of their party like it’s the worst thing in the world… folks, they’re supposed to! Most people tend to vote along with their party; that’s just how life is. Now, at the same time every once in awhile someone votes their conscience and goes against their party… well, they used to before the Tea Party folks got there (notice almost no one identified themselves as Tea Party folks this time around?). What’s more interesting is when the number isn’t 100%. That happened locally when one of our representatives backers kept saying the guy who lost in the last election voted with his party 94% of the time, while leaving out that she voted with her party 100% of the time.

Here’s the reality. Unless someone says something really stupid (Akin) or does something really stupid, almost all politicians are decent people. Ads are misleading and vicious; that’s why most of us turn them off. However, in the last hours leading up to the election not only were they more vicious but they just kept coming and coming and coming. And let’s not even talk about the robo-calls; oy!

3. Social media can be both a curse and a blessing. It certainly was for the candidates, but it was for us as well. Every website I went to, and every app I opened on my smartphone gave me an ad for someone who was running for office. On Facebook it started getting really heavy, even after I added the FB Purity add-on to Firefox (you don’t know about this one? Check out this post from our buddy Adrienne Smith; it’s a lifesaver even now, after the elections, for blocking stuff you don’t want to see in your stream). Even on Twitter, where I pretty much only connect with people of “like” values and such, assaulted me with all kinds of stuff. Remember the days when we only had newspapers and the TV news we had to avoid?

And yet, through social media a lot of people learned what was going on, and some people knew what was going to happen early on; not quite sure how they did that. I know I shared the news about the Karl Rove meltdown (it was classic; who knew live TV could be that entertaining?) everywhere. Faux News; never watched it before, was entertaining last night, will never watch it again.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

4. Competition never ends; never. As soon as it was announced that President Obama had been reelected, the politicking began. There was already a discussion on who would run for president four years from now. Both sides were saying they didn’t think anything would happen and each side said it was the other that had to bend; yeah, that’s going to happen. Some people were already trying to figure out how to shake things up. One guy was saying that maybe the Electoral College would change the outcome of the election for Romney (seems that happened once in history; that’s how John Quincy Adams won the presidency without winning the election). It’s like sports now, where immediately after a team wins a championship they immediately wonder if the team can win it again and if not who they believe will be the strongest team the next season. And sometimes it’s all for naught (isn’t it Senator McConnell?).

5. When all is said and done, things usually end with a whimper, grace and class. What makes this country great is ultimately how people accept their own defeat. Former Governor Romney was class last night, as has every person who’s ever run for president and then had to make a concession speech has done (can’t blame Gore since he didn’t learn he wouldn’t be president for about a month or so). This is something about politicians that confuses me and probably everyone else. We get riled up for or against someone, are ready to get into fistfights over all of it, and then these people can walk up to a podium after having lost and say “So-and-so ran a great campaign and I hope they do well” or some such nonsense like that. 🙂

You know what though? That’s kind of a lesson most of us need to learn, but probably won’t. A lot of rhetoric is just that; noise. Often people say things to get us irritated; that’s what trolls do. For me, I stayed out of it for 729 days, only to let myself totally go off the deep end in the last 24 hours. Even as I write this I haven’t gotten it totally out of my system (but I will soon; I promise). But the politicians who participated in the process have moved on and gotten over it, seeing it as business as usual. It’s a strange business but that’s what it ultimately is.

Lessons; I’ve learned a few. Let’s see what I can retain and what I can forget; what about you?
 

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29 Comments »

Sure it’s like sports. Politics is sports. It might have much more serious repercussions for the world, but the process itself is a game.
David Leonhardt recently posted…Win a free copy of The Frugal Book PromoterMy Profile

November 8th, 2012 | 10:02 AM

David, I’d never really thought of it like that but I’m definitely going to try to keep it in mind from this point on.

November 8th, 2012 | 9:49 PM

One more thing, if you’re a radical of any persuasion, it’s important to remember that most people aren’t where you are politically. Besides which, there are too many powerful forces that must be dealt with to accomplish anything, let alone get re-elected. It’s in the second term, when the political risks are less, that some facets of a radical agenda are most likely to be pursued. So if you support a candidate who disappoints you by governing from the center, be prepared to support him anyway, the second time around, lest you make yourselves irrelevant. No one, even someone with your agenda, is going to govern according to the wishes of a small and fickle minority.

November 8th, 2012 | 12:20 PM

True that nikol, radicals always have issues because they rarely get everything they want, if any of it, then they get mad and won’t work with anyone.

November 8th, 2012 | 9:52 PM

I’m with you on all points except one: not so sure that Romney’s concession speech was, as so many people said “gracious.” It was nothing like McCain’s concession speech–a masterful and poetic (and yes–gracious) speech. McCain even shushed the crowd when they tried to boo the mention of Obama. Romney’s speech was obviously dashed off at the last minute and had not even a sprinkle of decent speechcraft. He had one more anti-feminist gaffe (his mention of the wives and daughter tending the hearth when the men were out campaigning) and he said he’d pray for Obama. Romney’s concession Just like Romney’s whole campaign–poorly thought out and not up to any kind of scrutiny.
Phil recently posted…Obama’s Electoral College MathMy Profile

November 8th, 2012 | 2:24 PM

I think it was fairly gracious Phil, especially since he really thought he was going to win. The thing is, we have a pretty good system for how to pass the baton, even if the process of selecting leaders is ugly.

November 8th, 2012 | 9:56 PM
vikram:

i totally agree with david. politicians are really a big players and they are the sports named politics and u the public don’t even know.
vikram recently posted…Register now to get Rs.1,500 Off on any purchase from FashionaraMy Profile

November 8th, 2012 | 4:28 PM

I definitely like your point on the analogy between politics and sports, it’s the same kind of competition, sometimes unfair as well…
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November 8th, 2012 | 6:22 PM

Thanks Eniko. I hear you on the unfair part.

November 8th, 2012 | 9:56 PM

Politics can be very dirty game, as it is related to power and in this case scenario we are talking about becoming the most powerful man in the world. Honestly, during time of election, no matter where I am, I don’t even want to turn on TV or open any social media website, most normal people turn into little kids and start going crazy with comments.
Carl recently posted…SEO Tips Allow Businesses To Get Seen MoreMy Profile

November 8th, 2012 | 9:21 PM

I didn’t either Carl, but since it was a presidential year I had to pay attention to it.

November 8th, 2012 | 9:57 PM
Carl:

A week before elections, I’ve had to unfriend few people on Facebook. I haven’t seen so many posts of junk over my wall ever before. It was similar to spam levels of “vitamin V” from few years ago in my Yahoo mail.
Carl recently posted…Office Phone SystemsMy Profile

November 9th, 2012 | 6:30 AM

Same here Carl. I did the same on Twitter as well. Didn’t have to do it on LinkedIn though, which is a good thing.

November 9th, 2012 | 11:20 AM
Clarkmartin:

Hi Mitch
Thanks for great post. As to number 3, I’m not too sure that Romney had much leeway as to his VP selection. Paul Ryan, as poor a choice as he turned out to be, may have been forced on him.

The word around Miami for weeks has been that Rubio was smart enough to have turned him down.
Clarkmartin recently posted…CEE LO Sexual Assault Accuser Had Long History with SingerMy Profile

November 9th, 2012 | 1:20 AM

Clarkmartin, if anyone paid attention to the 2008 election, they’d have seen that they could have had the opportunity to land a job that paid way better than being in political office. Look at Palin; she makes millions from being a failed VP candidate.

November 9th, 2012 | 11:18 AM
Michael Belk:

I am glad the best man won. People should not be so led blindly by party.

Romney made it very clear that he had written off 47% of the country.

A man who feels like that does not need to be the President of America.

President O’Bama could have never pulled the country out of despair in 4 years. Anyone who expected him to is not a realist.

November 9th, 2012 | 2:38 AM

He certainly couldn’t do it all by himself Michael, that’s for sure. I have to admit though that I thought his strategy was flawed in working towards health care so early instead of making sure people saw him addressing the economy, which he did but he didn’t communicate it all that well. That allowed the Tea Party to gain prominence, and it may be another 4 years before that’s over and done with.

November 9th, 2012 | 11:19 AM
Aasma:

Hey Mitch,

You’re quite correct. Social media can make your image or can easily destroy it. So you have to maintain your reputation online and offline so that you can stay clean every time.
Aasma recently posted…PG in Delhi for GirlsMy Profile

November 9th, 2012 | 4:15 AM

True Aasma. Or at least be prepared to defend your positions in the proper manner if you do go off course here and there.

November 9th, 2012 | 11:20 AM

HI Mitch,
I only want to say I am glad it’s over!
I’m not a fan of politics, I find the debating, mud slinging, and lies disturbing. How can one side say this and the other side say it’s something totally opposite. Where is the truth?
Then like you say they walk up to the podium and try to act cordial about the whole thing. It disgusts me. I voted but I didn’t’ like either candidate.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts about the election.
Tonya
Tonya Stephens recently posted…How To Write The Perfect Blog PostMy Profile

November 9th, 2012 | 8:22 AM

Thanks Tonya. Yes, breathing fresh air now that all those ads and phone calls have stopped.

November 9th, 2012 | 11:21 AM

Your comparison to professional sports reminded me of a scene in the movie Fever Pitch. The Red Sox have just lost a big game, and while a group of fans sit at the bar, literally crying in their beer, a few of the Boston players are over at a table laughing and enjoying their dinner. Whenever I watch one of these concession speeches — and I’ve seen quite a few now — I wonder why the candidates can’t be that gracious and mature while they’re campaigning. If nothing else, it would make the opponent’s behavior look ridiculous.
Charles Gulotta recently posted…Wishing for a Hollywood EndingMy Profile

November 9th, 2012 | 10:47 AM

I’m with you Charles. Truthfully, there’s a lot of negative ads that the candidates themselves don’t put out, but their parties and supporters put out. But there’s almost never any repudiation against them; sigh…

November 9th, 2012 | 11:27 AM

Mitch, this is the first time I’ve (almost) followed a US election. It filled a LOT of our news broadcasts and there was constant discussion and hype. It was the next worst thing to being there – being involved, and knowing the outcome will affect us, yet not being able to vote. We just kept hoping that the ‘right’ bloke would be elected from our perspective. (He was by the way, and there was a collective sigh of relief)

It was an eyeopener and I learnt a lot about the electoral college and the US style of democracy that stunned me. It’s so easy to assume that we operate in a similar way, yet we don’t. There’s general consensus here that we’ll fight tooth and nail to maintain our system including compulsory voting, paper ballots (not electronic) and limits on funding the campaigns. Not that all that money got them the outcome they wanted to buy!

The most disturbing aspects were the vicious comments, including hatred, expressed so openly. I suspect people aren’t aware, or simply don’t care, that this is broadcast worldwide… I suppose they get carried away with the hype and emotion … . not that it’s that much better here. Like some of the other commenters, I do wish the candidates would show a modicum of courtesy and decency.

What is now being discussed here is vote manipulation, “faulty” machines and refusal to allow legitimate voters to cast their votes and even for observers to do their jobs – it’s out there for everyone, everywhere to see and discuss – and it’s not a good look. I really hope these issues are attended to well prior to the next election not only for US citizens, but for the watching world. Decisions made by the US government affect us for good or ill, and it’d be good to feel confident that the elections are run as cleanly and as fairly as humanly possible.
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November 10th, 2012 | 1:06 AM

Great comments Sue. It’s almost the same thing every year and in the same places. One of the realities in this country that one party in particular hates owning up to is that when more people vote they tend to vote for the Democratic Party. Even locally, the representative who finally conceded said she believes she lost the election because more people voted in a presidential year than they would in an off year. That’s what explains voting irregularities in places that are both heavily Democratic and minority.

As to the rest, even though the ads seem really nasty the truth is that politics in the “modern” world has always been that way. Some of the things said about Harry Truman when he was running would make some people today blush, and yet he still won. However, media wasn’t pervasive back then so he was able to overcome it. People do things they see wins for them, ugly or not; I hate it but it seems to work.

Still, when all is said and done people don’t usually cry and whine after it’s all over and they’ve lost. That’s left up to other people. And that’s what makes our system pretty special.

November 10th, 2012 | 11:18 PM

Man, I’m 100% behind everything you wrote.

ESPECIALLY when it comes to people claiming you only voted for whoever “just because” (he’s black, liberal, not Bush, etc.).

The people I used to work for (still do some work with them) are staunch conservatives, slinging that crap all the time. I had to laugh and remind them that before Romney won the nomination they were behind Santorum all the way, talking all kinds of mess about Romney.

I can say these things to them because there’s not anything they can do to me now lol. But it cracks me up.

Most of us are voting down party lines, but even if we weren’t, I have a problem with the basic ideals of the conservatives, and I haven’t been surprised once by anything they’ve said where it makes me want to vote for them in all these years. Conservatives feel the same way about liberals.

I’ve seen a lot of crazy talk too about how Obama is “corrupt”, planning to turn the country over to muslims, hand it over to black people, etc. Seriously?

Maybe he hadn’t been as effective as I would have hoped, but corrupt? Sheesh.

When Obama won the first time, the skies were supposed to burn, the seas boil and the whole country was supposed to be swallowed up into a massive sinkhole, but it didn’t happen. It didn’t happen when Bush was in, and it didn’t happen before that and it ain’t gonna happen now.

Some people really need to get a grip and stop buying/feeding into the hysteria.
John Garrett recently posted…REVIEW: STORIES ABOUT THINGSMy Profile

November 11th, 2012 | 12:36 AM

Thanks John, and I know what you mean. The problem is that President Obama didn’t have the opportunity to be successful the first term because the last two years he had deal with the Tea Party people who kept fighting other Republicans to make sure they wouldn’t do anything to work with him. That’s not how government is supposed to go, and if it does go along that way, how is anything supposed to get done?

As to all the specific partisan garbage, and I don’t mean the thing that says Republicans don’t like Democrats and Democrats don’t like Republicans, but all that other garbage that they had to say. If folks could recognize that their own words are racist or bigoted or insensitive or intolerant instead of inclusive, which is what the United States is supposed to be, then they would check themselves and probably figure out that maybe that type of thing just isn’t going to work. But as James Carville said the other day, he hopes they continue that way because it means that another Republican president will never be elected. It’s a changing world, and you and I definitely know it.

November 11th, 2012 | 12:49 AM

Well, there is competition everywhere, in all the fields. Obama becoming lucky for the fourth time was not a surprise. I would have opted for him from the two parties if had authority to choose for America. He is much better than the others when it comes to leading a country correctly.

November 12th, 2012 | 12:41 AM

Smith, I’m not sure what you mean by “lucky for the fourth time”… it’s only the second time he’s run for president, and since in our country he can only have the office twice in a row, that’s pretty much it.

November 12th, 2012 | 9:21 PM