Embrace Rejection

On one thing we can all agree: voters rejected the Republican message on Election Day, and the challenge now is to figure out how to make sure that doesn’t happen again. I mean, I think we can agree on that, right? We want to win next time. Winning matters — winners get to pick Supreme Court justices, set the agenda, hold the big microphone.

Here’s the good news. Rejection, according to studies, can lead to increased creativity.

  1. Southern Pessimist

    If rejection was all it took for genius I would be a Mensa.

  2. Nathaniel Wright

    As I pointed out in my – almost completely ignored post on the election — the Republican message lost but it wasn’t rejected.  In fact, Republicans saw growth in support by almost every age demographic including young voters over 2008.

    This is what I would call a Grand Prix Circuit election.  We made some adjustments since the last Circuit, but not enough to make up the massive gap we started with.  We still have work to do, but it is in small aerodynamic ways.  Our engine is just fine.  Let’s not borrow the Democratic engine.  Let’s just keep ours tuned up.

    A nice thing to do might be to remember that the “off season” is not a time to dismantle the team, it is a time for the prototyping for the next season to get even more aggressive.

  3. Matthew K. Tabor

    Huh. Who knew anything about this?!

    Certainly not any business that put forth a product, saw it rejected by customers, and went back to the drawing board instead of closing up shop. None, ever.

    What would we do without research like this?

  4. Albert Arthur

    I don’t know, Rob. It turns out Romney did get as many votes as McCain in 2008 (absentee ballots have upped his total vote count, which initially was down by as much as 2 million votes from McCain’s). On the other hand, Obama got 7 or 8 million fewer votes than last time. So I don’t think voters rejected Republican ideas so much as…didn’t pick them up. Which, I guess is a form of rejection. Anyway, I like Nathaniel Wright’s comparison to the grand prix.

  5. Frederick Key

    I’m not sure if it’s sulking. Every morning I reenact that early scene in Lethal Weapon where Mel Gibson plays tonsil hockey with his Beretta as he stares at a picture of his late wife. Only I’m looking at the electoral college map. Not that I’m taking this hard or anything.

  6. BrentB67
    Matthew K. Tabor: Huh. Who knew anything about this?!

    Certainly not any business that put forth a product, saw it rejected by customers, and went back to the drawing board instead of closing up shop. None, ever.

    What would we do without research like this? · 13 hours ago

    A business, in this case republicans, inc., that consistently delivers marginal ideas and products and on the rare occasions they do deliver a sound product fail to back it up deserves to go out of business.

    We can’t have the fruits of a free market capitalism unless we are prepared to bear the challenges that come with it including creative destruction.

  7. Nathaniel Wright

    You didn’t mention that “individualistic” people gained greater creativity.  If Republicans aren’t the party of the rugged individualist, then what are they?

  8. The Mugwump
    Rob Long: On one thing we can all agree: voters rejected the Republican message on Election Day, and the challenge now is to figure out how to make sure that doesn’t happen again. I mean, Ithink we can agree on that, right?

    No, Rob, we don’t all agree.  One of us believes that the message doesn’t matter because the culture has been corrupted beyond redemption.  One of us believes that the long march through the nation’s institutions has reached critical mass.  One of us believes the last election was our last chance to restore the republic.  One of us believes that the nation’s educational system has succeeded in defining socially acceptable ideas and norms.  One of us believes it’s the job of the mass media to disseminate these norms and ideas to the exclusion of any and all dissent.  One of us believes that the only thing harder than establishing a republic is reclaiming it after it’s lost.  One of us thinks we have reached the end of the line.  One of us is about to pour himself a Margarita and forget about it before he loses his mind.  

  9. Jimmy Carter

    I don’t feel rejected.

    I’m just trying to accept the fact that so many of My Fellow Americans rejected themselves, and Freedom, and voted for the Dependent Party.

  10. Mickerbob

    I had a conversation with a former co-worker last week.  He had recently retired from a position as  Treasurer for a Township here in Michigan.  He told me that when he took on the position, the Township had a deficit. So for four years he told me that he was the “no” vote on various agenda items and while he disagreed with his more Liberal board members, they eventually came around to his way of thinking.  This small Township in a rural county is now sporting positive numbers.  The Townships nearby are languishing in various states of fiscal malaise due to their inability to continue the upkeep on facilities that were built with grant money from the Federal and State government.

    On a more personal level, my fairly Liberal church has begun to have real discussions about their financial position for the first time in years.  I believe that my work as the Deacon of Finance and being “the wet blanket” has helped change the way the congregation thinks about money and how it should be spent. 

    I am 40 years old and Father to a six year old daughter.  I won’t give up.  Show the way!

  11. Illiniguy

    Embracing rejection is easy for anyone who was ever a teenage boy.

  12. BrentB67

    Voters didn’t reject the republican message. Voters rejected republicans because they had no message. ‘Not Obama’ isn’t a campaign slogan it is a void of principles.

  13. Chris O.

    So they did all this to prove that a person with a chip on their shoulder becomes more determined to outperform others when excluded? I suppose this was funded by a federal grant.

    Well, seriously, what I like about the study is that everyone measured seems to get a bit “fired up” about rejection.

    Let’s turn this around. If you had to pick a party, from an outsider’s perspective, that seemed to allow you to be part of it regardless of whatever outlier traits you have, which one would you choose? Particularly when someone is young…

    What I’m getting at is how does the GOP seem welcome? If I’m on the outside, I might think that I needed to have a list of achievements (comparing myself to the Romney/Ryan ticket). We talk about being independent, self-reliant…nothing about the comfort of being part of a group. Heck, in this election, part of our base didn’t feel welcome.

    Maybe we have been looking at this. (A lot.) It seems a lot of people rule themselves out, how do we reverse it without pandering?

  14. Matthew K. Tabor

    Chris O., if young people had that impression of the GOP, they’d be right — what you’re saying an unaffiliated outsider might see and think is exactly what I’ve experienced myself, over and over again.

    The GOP is welcoming in theory, not in practice. Membership? Wonderful, welcoming, great people. The folks who run the show, even at the most local levels, tend to be… less welcoming. 

  15. Chris O.

    Matthew, that’s not surprising. Many groups are that way, but few articulate it. I’m not saying the reality is different on the other side, but the perception is and that’s enough.

    At age 17 I joined a sailing fleet that many years later I headed up. At age 39, I’m still one of the youngest members. It took me a good ten years to realize that I had to take some initiative in whether this group would accept me or not (keep in mind I only saw them 12 or 13 weekends out of the year). In the meantime, I could still sail and compete, but I rejected that crowd for some time. What can the voter do? Still vote, and where they may feel more part of the crowd.

    We have to reach out with more than our message. We have to reach out with people. Actual people that believe actual things, not facsimiles.

    I’ll add that this site does just that and with humor.

  16. Ken Sweeney

    Everyone get a grip.  Stop overanalyzing the election.  It has become obvious that the Presidential contest has degenerated into a High School Student Body President race.  When we run likeable, personal candidates that can relate to real people (Bush 43, Reagan), we win.  When we run stiff phonies (Bush 41, Romney), or over the hill re-treds (McCain, Dole) we lose.  I know a lot of campaign consultants and pundits would lose a ton of money if they admitted this, so it will never happen. 

    We are in the age of celebrity Presidents.    The media will hate our candidate no matter what—and our candidate has to be ‘cool’ enough not to care.

  17. cbc

    We were living in a bubble.  We thought that most Americans would not sell out the Founding principles for a mess of pills.  We were wrong.  

    We have to get over it and get to work.  After four more years of this government by executive decree, more of our countrymen might rediscover the Constitution.

  18. BlueAnt

    I’m willing to bet the boost you get from rejection is only a function of believing in your own correctness.  Call it a drive to prove yourself, or a crusade to prove the world wrong.

    Extremely relevant question:  how strongly do you think the GOP, in aggregate, believes in its own ideological correctness?  

    How many current GOP politicians believe more in their office, than in their constituents’ principles?

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