Lost to Reagan twice and HW once.
Won twice with Clinton.
Lost twice with Bush.
Won twice with Obama.
Voted once in WI, twice in MA, once in MD, once in VA, twice in RI and twice now in IN.
What always gets me in the end? Supreme Court Justice picks. You don't think about it much on election day, but man, do you ever when somebody announces a retirement (or death). I just keep thinking about all those 5-4 decisions, like the recent one on the healthcare law (which I support).
Also this time: the sense that the GOP is losing its grip. Way too obstructionist over Obama's first term. Now polling lower than Independents, which stuns me. Losing women, which is a long-term issue of significance. Losing Hispanics, another long-term issue. The GOP is not a healthy lot, and their talent seems thinner than ever. it is becoming the party of scared white people in a multinational union experiencing unprecedented demographic change. That's not a winning proposition.
The Dems, meanwhile, have much better long-term prospects. Thus some genuine system utility in hopefully seeing the GOP realize how far they've drifted.
Yes, there will be many within the GOP that says "we lost because we nominated a moderate." But a hardliner would have done far worse, in my opinion - just driving up the Dem advantages on minorities and gender and sexual orientation (not a small percentage to ignore by any means). Simply put, that tent needs to be expanded because the GOP is running third right now.
And no, I don't think the GOP should draw much satisfaction from the popular vote. It's simply amazing that Obama won with the recovery coming so late. Six months from now he'd win by a much bigger margin.
Why do I worry about the GOP? In the end, they are more likely to be the agent of triggering a new progressive era (remember TR) than the Dems. I can see the Dems joining in with relish. I just suspect they won't have enough panic within their ranks to initiate.
So I'm hoping the GOP eventually locates that panic.
The clear pattern: states with borders largely go Dem and inland states overwhelmingly go Republican. It's just like China's emerging split and that of risers everywhere. States that face out versus states that face in. In the U.S., it's who's more open on immigration and less China-bashing versus who's tougher on immigration and more China-bashing. The GOP simply doesn't work as the party of fear.