The GOP’s Secret Plan to Make Me Worry Unnecessarily

Kevin Drum writes that he’s “unaccountably exhausted” by the election, even though he didn’t much doubt the outcome so didn’t feel let down and, living in California, didn’t even have to stay up that late last night to see the results. He thinks maybe his tiredness comes from being “loathe to face up to the next four years, which promises to be an awful lot like the past two” but he isn’t sure.

I too am having trouble making sense of how I feel about this election. It’s not exactly triumph, or even relief, since I’ve been reasonably sure for months that Obama would win. What I think I’m feeling is a more akin to irritation. Partly it’s the sense that, like millions of other Americans, I’ve given more than a year of intense attention to an electoral contest that has turned out to have altered neither the balance of power in Washington nor the minds of those whose side lost, which means that despite a sound ass-whooping, the Republicans are unlikely to change their behavior.

But I think another source of my irritaion is that, as I wrote earlier, the Republicans seemed overwhelmingly convinced that Romney was going to win, despite overwhelming evidence from the polls that such an outcome was extremely unlikely. For me and probably a lot of other people, this astonishing conviction among Republicans led me to carry around inside my head an extra measure of doubt about what the ultimate result would be. Maybe, I thought, conservatives have some pipeline of information I’m not aware of; maybe they’re attuned to some common-man groove I don’t feel.

Well, it turns out they were just delusional. But their delusion led me to elevate my level of stress for months. Now that I know for sure that extra anxiety was unnecessary I’m kind of pissed. But maybe that was their devious plan all along. If so, well played!

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Paul Glastris

Paul Glastris is the editor in chief of the Washington Monthly. He was an editor at the magazine from 1986 to 1988.