What’s the Lesson If Obama Loses the Election?

Published by Andre Showell on Thursday, July 19, 2012 at 8:51 pm.

(Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

By many accounts, the polling data pitches the upcoming presidential lesson as too close to call to declare a definitive front-runner. The country is so narrowly divided that there is no discernible way to know who the likely victor will be. In the African American community, President Barack Obama continues to enjoy a sizeable if not, mammoth lead over his republican rival, Gov. Mitt Romney.

No doubt many of those in our largely African-American audience will be consumed with coverage about what it will take for President Obama to win the White House. But I wonder, if the polls are reflective of a truly tight race, what lessons can be learned if the election goes to Obama’s opponent. What is the lesson? What can be learned?

If Obama loses, I guess the first lesson is that it is lonely at the top and the tide can quickly turn. Just four years ago, the president was considered to be the media darling, the “rock star of the Senate.” Fast forward to 2012 and the president now faces an electorate that is noticeably more critical and vocally skeptical.

Another lesson is that “changing Washington” may be easier to say than it is to do. The Obama campaign’s “change” mantra piqued the idealistic leanings of the youth vote and the hopeful aspirations of Obama’s under-served supporters. But one thing the Obama administration soon found out when it came to White House is that the Washington machine is just that, a machine. This machine serves a purpose and while it can be upgraded or serviced, dismantling it, without an alternative, is simply not an option. If the engine doesn’t work, the car won’t move.

A third lesson to be learned in the event of an Obama loss, is tied to communicating with the American people. It’s not enough to believe that the people will intrinsically know a president’s intent. You have to tell them. Policy talk makes people tune out. But a political narrative that relates to voters’ lives, makes their ears perk up. Even the president admitted to learning this lesson recently during a CBS News interview. He said, “The mistake of my first term — couple of years — was thinking that this job was just about getting the policy right. And that’s important. But the nature of this office is also to tell a story to the American people that gives them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times.”

So until there is a clear and decisive front-runner, it is not a bad idea to think about what’s next; to consider each moment, whether victory or defeat, as a moment to take note, grow and hopefully make life better in the process.

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