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Online, the Cincinnati Tea Party posted a short obituary for the nation reading “RIP America July 4, 1776-November 6, 2012 Death was ruled a suicide.”
In Arizona, a 28-year-old woman reportedly ran over her husband with her car because she thought he had contributed to Mr. Obama’s re-election by not voting.
On Twitter, Donald Trump blasted the Electoral College, claimed “the world is laughing at us,” called American democracy “a sham and a travesty,” said the nation was in “serious and unprecedented trouble” and called for both a “march on Washington” and a “revolution.”
“The Republicans are convinced that the republic is dead,” said Democratic strategist Jim Duffy. “Liberty is dead. The state is going to run our lives. No more entrepreneurs. No more free thought.
“Well, the older I get, the more I’m amazed that the extremes on both sides are so much alike. In 2004, a lot of Democrats felt that Bush was a cowboy fool from Texas who literally couldn’t walk and chew gum at the same time and was leading the country to ruin. As it turns out, we’re still here.”
As Mr. Goodfriend points out, the United States has survived the Civil War, the Great Depression, Pearl Harbor and Watergate. Plus 10 seasons of “Two and a Half Men.” No matter how disappointed conservatives feel following Mr. Obama’s re-election, apocalyptic histrionics give the nation too little credit and Mr. Obama far too much – particularly when coming from otherwise vocal advocates of American exceptionalism.
“Many of us thought that Bush would be the end of America as we know it,” said comedian and author Baratunde Thurston. “And sure, there were a few policies and wars we strongly disagreed with. But when it comes to the important things, we still have our bacon and our ‘Real Housewives.’”
It’s not just them, it’s also you
Conservatives long have criticized liberals for being elitist, smug and out of touch, convinced that they are both smarter and morally superior to the very voters they’re attempting to persuade.
In the wake of Mr. Romney’s loss, the right would do well to avoid the same mistake.
“There’s no good lesson in getting your face bloodied in a political fight if you don’t realize how much you believed your own spin and PR and BS,” said Nato Green, a left-leaning comic, activist and writer for the FX series “Totally Biased With W. Kamu Bell.” “In 2004, it was a hard lesson to realize that half of America just didn’t like us. But like in comedy, you can’t play nationally by hanging out in coffee shops in San Francisco and Portland. If Republicans want to win people over, they need to go spend some time hanging out with undocumented immigrants and people who actually have had abortions.”
Following a bitter electoral defeat, Mr. Goodfriend said, it’s easy and emotionally satisfying to write off the opposing slice of the electorate – as liberals did by dismissing red states as “Jesusistan” or as Fox television host Bill O’Reilly did when he concluded that Mr. Obama’s voters “want stuff” and “feel entitled to things.”
It’s tougher and more necessary to look in the mirror.
“After Bush won, the Democrats had to say that Kerry had some flaws as a candidate, the way Romney had some flaws,” Mr. Goodfriend said. “They had to do some soul-searching when it came to why voters didn’t trust them on some of the issues that carried the day, like national security.
“That’s actually a healthy process. The worst thing you can do is just say everybody else must be wrong because we are so right. That is a recipe for losing the next election.”
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About the Author
Patrick Hruby is an award-winning journalist who holds degrees from Georgetown and Northwestern. He also contributes to ESPN.com and The Atlantic Online, and his work has been featured in The Best American Sports Writing. Follow him on Twitter (@patrick_hruby) and contact him at PatrickHruby.net.
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