Pulling it Together After a Loss — Voter’s Perspective
Stepping aside for the greater good
By Maryann Vazquez
During the hard work we do to get our candidate elected during the primary, it’s hard not to become emotionally invested in that candidate. We give so much time and energy to the campaign. We are excited and hopeful. So what happens what when we lose? We feel broken hearted, lost, sad, confused, angry and in a state of shock. We experience an actual grief process. How can I support someone I was fighting against? Aren’t they the enemy? – I spent months believing this. Now, how do I change my belief? Why would I?
Why? Well, we need to consider what is best for the greater good. There are issues that we all agree upon. Most Democratic candidates have similar core values and platform. We care about our community. We believe in healthcare for all; that climate change is real; that we need to protect the most vulnerable; that there is value in supporting a social safety-net; that diversity and inclusion is our strength; that quality public education should be available to all children; that we need reasonable gun laws; and much more. These are our core beliefs. We agree about a common vision for our future and our country. When we focus on our personal pain, we cannot accomplish our goal to move forward to a more progressive agenda.
So what do we do when we’re struggling to get behind the party’s candidate. Let start with might work – it has for others. This will require us to be open to listening and accepting new information.
We have a tendency to see the positive in our candidate and only the negative in our opponent. This shift is often difficult. Start by getting to know the candidate. Who is the candidate as a person, and what have they done that defines who they are as a candidate? Focus on identifying their strengths. Talk to people who supported the candidate during the primary and ask why. Go see the candidate speak and meet them. Look at the candidate’s platform and discover the similarities that you supported during the campaign. You will likely find you agree more than you disagree. We never agree 100% on anything.
Give yourself space to shift. Allow yourself time to heal. Also allow the candidate the space to be heard. It may surprise us, but armed with new information, we CAN support and even create a level of enthusiasm for our Democratic candidate.