Yes, I am happy that my candidate won. I am just as glad it is over. The stress that this contest placed on friends that are on the same team has been tremendous.
And I am empathetic with my friends that had their hopes and dreams dashed last night with the announcement by Ted Cruz that he was suspending his campaign. I have been there. There is no gut punch that lands with more devastation than a political loss that brings a campaign to a sudden and abrupt end. The disappointment is crushing. I get that.
And no, I am not going to gloat. I am going to put this all behind me and wipe the slate clean. And I understand that my task is far easier than those who backed the candidate who did not win. And the emails and discussions on blogs and Facebook as well as the news media stand as proof of the deep scars and whelps that we left on one another during this process.
And having been on the losing side more times than I want to remember, I understand how this process works. What people are dealing with is grief. The loss is no less overwhelming than the death of a close family member or friend. And we all go through some or all of the 5 stages of grief.
And it is especially important for the Trump supporters to understand the trauma that Cruz supporters are going through. And to be respectful of the process. We would never gloat or taunt people who are dealing with a death or other serious issue and we should respect the process they are going through here, it is no different.
And for the Cruz supporters, your feelings are expected and completely normal. And if you understand that the process is no different than dealing with a death in the family, I hope that, if nothing else, you will understand the process and take comfort in knowing that what you are feeling is normal and will eventually get better. Or at least you will arrive at a place where you can move on.
It is important to understand that not everyone deals with the 5 stages of grief in the same way. Some may not experience all of them, and some stages may be worse than others. And often, more than one stage happens at the same time.
The stages (edited from Wiki): My comments are in italics.
- Denial — The first reaction is denial. In this stage individuals believe the diagnosis is somehow mistaken, and cling to a false, preferable reality. During Ted Cruz speech last night, there were loud cries of “no!”.
- Anger — When the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue, they become frustrated, especially at proximate individuals. Certain psychological responses of a person undergoing this phase would be: “Why me? It’s not fair!”; “How can this happen to me?”; ‘”Who is to blame?”; “Why would this happen?”. And in this particular case, Cruz supporters are vowing never to support Trump. For some, this will change. For others, perhaps not.
- Bargaining — The third stage involves the hope that the individual can avoid a cause of grief. Usually, the negotiation for an extended life is made in exchange for a reformed lifestyle. People facing less serious trauma can bargain or seek compromise. And perhaps a bargain might be a role for Cruz in the Trump administration. But before that can be entertained, the anger phase must subside.
- Depression — “I’m so sad, why bother with anything?” During the fourth stage, the individual despairs at the recognition of their loss. In this state, the individual may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time mournful and sullen. This is a particularly hard phase and can last a good while.
- Acceptance — “It’s going to be okay.”; “I can’t fight it, I may as well prepare for it.”
In this last stage, individuals embrace the inevitable future, or other tragic event. This stage typically comes with a calm, retrospective view for the individual, and a stable condition of emotions.
Not everyone will accept Donald Trump. We all know this and it is your right. Sometimes the anger remains a very long time. Even past the point of acceptance. Some people find comfort in their anger and it is their way of exacting a measure of revenge in their own minds. They can let their anger cloud their reason and even believe that an undesirable outcome by any measure of their own intellect in a normal state is somehow preferable. So the ones that would let Hillary win, even prefer it, are simply lashing out. How long this will last is up to the individual.
I have personally gone through most of these stages when suffering a political loss, as have most of us who eat, sleep and drink politics. Everyone deals with these things at their own pace and in their own way.
The best advice I can give both the winning and losing sides is to please consider what you are going to write or say. Our allies that supported a great Conservative, Ted Cruz, are going through a lot right now. Consider being a bit subdued in your celebrations and look to the future, not the past. Forgive and forget. And remember, at some point you will be in the difficult place most Cruz supporters find themselves in today.
We have all said things during this campaign we probably shouldn’t have. I know I have, and I am sorry for those that were offended by what I wrote or posted. But I have been through enough of these things to know that politics is a blood sport. Contests within the party are by far the worse, as we all have seen. When we go brother against brother it can never be easy.
To all the Cruz supporters, it was a great campaign and you should be proud. I hope the Trump supporters will give you the space you need right now to process things. Most of you will eventually get to a better state than you are in now and will realize that defeating Hillary should be the primary mission. And I hope you will understand that in the heat of battle, especially political battles, the other side is never as bad your team puts on. That is how political fights go. And this one was as nasty as I have ever seen. But on the other hand, the truth is that YOUR leader is never as wonderful as you believed in the heat of battle.
Donald Trump has flaws. We all do. But we have now moved to the phase where we will be shaping and forming the battle plan against Hillary. Trump needs your help. As the rhetoric and political bombs begin to fly at the Clinton camp from a man that has proven he can hit his target with 16 former candidates sidelined by him, once many of you reach the acceptance phase you, too, can have fun going after Hillary.
For those that are either unable or unwilling to move past the anger phase and who want to lash out, all we can do is pray for you. For those that are able to move past this campaign and join with us to defeat Hillary, welcome. I will pray for you too!
What I won’t do is dwell on the past and I plan to respect the other team. I am looking for a better country to leave my kids and grand-kids. And I have believed from the day Donald Trump decided to enter the race that his skill set is the best of the bunch to get us back to the nation we once were the fastest.
God bless Ted Cruz and his supporters. As Donald Trump said, you guys put up one hell of a fight.