I'm feeling awesome, befuddled, challenged, and slightly sentimental.
In 'It's black or white' America, I was raised to learn that Republicans were the wealthy who tried their best to preserve their way of living and reward their creative, industrious, intellectual peers while Democrats were those with limited business potential who rallied and decried any injustice visited upon them by the lesser wealthy-- and that the Democratic party included everyone else not Republican.
Welcome to Real America.
I see there is more than a 'fringe' of people who like neither party, do not wish to vote, do not understand what politics has to do with them. I even see it with a good number of people who vote.
I understand, "Socialism!! Muslim!! Elitist!!" is the way Republicans were offered to feel connected the the blighted McCain campaign. It energized them when they showed so little conviction of their own. They just had to repeat it and hope enough people were fool enough to repeat it too.
If you have convictions, then speak them. THAT is how we as Obama organizers were connected and passionate about the Obama campaign. We would have an idea and work within the framework to execute it. You should try it. We need as many equally brilliant people disagreeing with Obama and those that will be part of an Obama administration. I think you'll be surprised when you are listened to.
If you're young like me, you might like to read Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72. It was my "self-help" book during my past year volunteering and organizing for Obama.
It is unlikely that another party will rise without a stellar candidate, but if there was ever a time to think of rewriting the Republican, Democratic, or some third party's central ideology, that time is now. The Reps seems most ripe and most vulnerable, so I am a conservative who's brushing up on his Republican ideology to see where we can make some improvements.
Anyway, HST's piece of advice to men looking for change but unsure as to how to break the party machinery on either side of the aisles: Campaign like Real People. I will certainly take a lot of great and valuable information and friends from my Obama time (Lord knows part of me wishes we could speed up to 2011) but the issues and problems America faces are far more nuanced and complex than a Presidential race in America allows. Yes, Obama stayed grounded in reality (a far cry from many Presidential candidates before and against him) so we've especially got a lot to look forward to because Obama knows everything he's supposed to.
Wish all of us luck.
For all the people trying to pin down what won the election for Obama, I'm hardly buying the oversimplified loaves they're trying to sell. I just want them to realize two things: (1) Democrats easily could have lost this election. I certainly believe Hillary Clinton believed that anybody could beat a Republican in this election, but if the Reps were always going to go with a flashy dunce for their second horse, someone like Jindal or Romney could have done anyone serious damage. Especially if the Dems pick Edwards? And I'm guessing that close to 37% of America still hates the Clintons. 10 points isn't so much. McCain got 47% and (2)All of the news coverage is redundant and not quite touching on the fact that Obama was against an embarrassingly silly campaign.
The economy made all Obama's ground game this election a cakewalk. The fact that Obama made no large mistake (well at least not one that everyone had to sign on to lacking suicidal ideation) made our campaign unbeatable. All of the comedians and journalists and scientists and Nobel winners and world leaders could sign on because of the finesse and intrepid energy Obama embodies. Many factors helped Obama here, but any one of them different would have meant a slimmer electoral college margin, and in my estimation, a statistically possible loss. That Obama withstood the kitchen sink only informs the Republican party that this technique may not work ever again but certainly will not work against Plouffe, Obama and Axelrod.
I have only had a few days where I lacked confidence in Barack Obama's ability or likelihood in being President. I haven't been sleeping well, but I knew we were doing something awesome.
It's a frightening prospect to have to believe, myself, that there is a good portion of the 46% of people that voted against Obama WHO WILL NEVER find themselves capable of supporting Barack Obama. Hopefully that percentage is smaller than the better number of them who will at least see him as a politician with many qualities they'd like to see repeated in future candidates they nominate and elect.
Only if we are good enough do we make the world a better place.