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Chicago, The Day After

I’ll be honest, it’s a little hard to write today. I suspect a lot of you may be feeling the same complex set of emotions at the end of a political season so seismic that most of us will remember it as long as we live. We will tell our children and grandchildren what we saw and felt.

There are a million post-mortems in the data to discuss, and we will love bringing that to you. But it’s a day of happy and exhausted stupor, and of personal post-mortems. Brett and I didn’t leave Grant Park until past 2 am, and didn’t wind up having so much as a single beer (to be remedied tonight in Chicago with one Mr. Nate Silver). Instead we passed out, woke up dazed, and stumbled to a coffee shop. 14,211 miles is a lot of driving, and our bodies crave regular beds.

We suspect we’re not alone. Right now, organizers, full-time volunteers, campaign staff, and everyone else who gave single-minded effort toward November 4 are waking up and saying to themselves and each other, “what do I do with myself?” Their cars are messes, their rooms disaster zones, and they’ve been cut off from friends and family for God knows how long.

This was by far the longest and biggest election season in US history, and there is so much left to process. The elation that Democrats feel is mixed with the hangover of carrying so much emotional electricity in the body for so long. Its discharge is necessarily going to leave an exhaustion behind.

We feel it too. There will be moments in the coming days, randomly standing in line at the grocery store, driving down the street in contemplation, the sight of a door you knocked, catching a certain song, a glimpse of Chuck Todd, hearing someone tell a story… where these emotions will just come bursting through, the enormity of it all. Just think of how much effort went into this. How much sacrifice. How many things had to go right. How many people had to want it so badly, and how the masterpiece of a campaign structure that David Plouffe and cohorts engineered allowed all that effort to be channeled into the right places to maximize efficiency.

More than anything else, this experience was shared. I think I can safely speak for Nate and Brett when I say we loved sharing this year with you, our readers. We’re determined to continue to provide innovative political analysis in the coming weeks, months, and years. This remains a labor of love. Thanks from us to you.


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