The morning after the election
Come Wednesday morning it will all be over. Suddenly, there will be no more rallies, there will be no more failed attempts to be in three places at once and fried fish, kolbassi and hot sausage sandwiches no longer will be the only dinner options.
Those who lost will be slow to rise, taking a few moments to decide if it was just a dream or if the voters could possibly have been that wrong. The draw to stay in bed will be strong and they should linger. No one will be beating a path to the losers’ doors.
In time, they will find comfort in the words of the Greek philosopher Thucydides — “In a democracy, someone who fails to get elected to office can always console himself with the thought that there was something not quite fair about it.”
The rush of humanity will be a problem for the winners. Everybody wants to be seen with winners, some to heap praise, most to highlight their own vital contributions to victory. Winners quickly will discover they have become great golfers and their jokes are instantly funnier.
Win or lose, there will be a letdown from the hectic days of the campaign.
It is said that one old-time Philadelphia politician had the “black dog” at his side for weeks, even after a winning election, and had to be watched. Few candidates have the blasé attitude of former Philippines first lady Imelda Marcos, who said, “Win or lose, we go shopping after the elections.”
If Democrat Tom Wolf wins, as all the polls predict, the “morning after” pundits will point to that first television ad that introduced him to the voters. Homespun, talking as a family man to Pennsylvania families, Wolf drove his old Jeep all the way to victory, they will say.
If Republican Gov. Tom Corbett wins, he will be heralded as the “comeback kid.” That photo of President Truman brandishing the Chicago Tribune banner headline that wrongfully declared “Dewey Defeats Truman” again will make the rounds.
Both candidates, win or lose, will talk about turnout and how “get out the vote” efforts succeeded or failed. Much will depend on the “T,” the usually Republican-performing middle of the state; solid Wolf returns there will be seen as confirmation that the York County resident was embraced as the hometown candidate.
Across Pennsylvania, one-half of the candidates in every contested race will feel the sword of public rebuke. Those with young families will wonder how to break the bad news before the kids head off to school. The other half, the winners, will have awakened the kids with the good news as soon as they got home from their victory parties.
In a few days, the campaigns will be forgotten by nearly everyone. For the candidates, however, that Wednesday morning feeling will linger for years.
As Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said, “Winning may not be everything, but losing has little to recommend it.”
Joseph Sabino Mistick, a lawyer, law professor and political analyst, lives in Squirrel Hill (joemistick.com).