In all races, we know there is going to be a winner and a loser. Even for a highly public campaign like a presidential election, we the people still acknowledge that only one person can win. Though Mitt Romney believed that November 6, 2012, would be the day he could call his campaign and himself victorious, to his dismay, he came out the loser.
So what comes next? Romney once believed that the months after the election would entail planning an inauguration, having meetings to fill a cabinet, and organizing press conferences to further discuss his plans for America’s future. But after the election all Romney got was silence, leaving him with the sheer fact that this political journey was over.
Many other men have been left with this empty feeling after losing a presidential election. In an article by David Freedlander of the Daily Beast, three former presidential candidates discuss the anti-climactic feeling and the months after a tough loss. Bob Dole, Walter Mondale, and Michael Dukakis, all admitted it took them a few months to get over such a public loss.
Former senator Bob Dole described the feeling as such, “You don’t [get back to normal] very quickly. You kind of hang your head. You feel like you let down the party, you let down the people in all 50 states, your supporters. You start dissecting the campaign, what [went] wrong, was there ever a chance to win. You sort of go over that a million times. Sometimes it keeps you awake at night.”
Their best advice for Romney is to get back into a normal routine, without all the security detail, staff, and paparazzi, and focus on the future. Former vice president Walter Mondale said, “Just [remember] there will be another day and life goes on.”
But where is life going to be taking Mitt Romney? Will he follow the footsteps of any other defeated political candidates?
Michael Barbaro wrote an article for the New York Times about the many different avenues that former presidential candidates have taken. For example, Bob Dole became a lobbyist, Al Gore (after a brief low point) threw himself into environmental advocacy, and both John Kerry (now Secretary of State) and John McCain went back to their senate seats.
Though no formal plans have been made by Romney and his wife, Ann, what is certain is that Romney’s political career has come to an end.
In his first interview since the election, Romney told FOX news respondent, Chris Wallace, that after six years and two failed campaign attempts he is turning in his political hat with much disappointment. Romney said, “I look at what’s happening now- I wish I were there. It kills me not to be there, not to be in the White House, doing what needs to be done.”
Romney continued with telling Wallace that he recognizes that his political capital is gone. He said, “Well, I recognize that as the guy who lost the election, I’m not in a position to tell everybody else how to win. They’re not going to listen and I don’t have the credibility to do that anyway. But I still care and I still believe that there are principles that we need to stand for.”
Romney made it clear that even though his career in politics is over, he is not going to just disappear; “Sitting on the sidelines when so much is at stake is just not in my nature.”
In Barbaro’s article, Steve Schmidt, a campaign adviser for Senator John McCain said all doors but one are open for Mitt Romney, he just has to choose one. “The only door that is closed to Mitt Romney for the remainder of his life is being president of the United States. He can do whatever else he wants to do.”
Write a book? Go back to corporate finance? Go back to the Mormon Church? All these are great options that have been speculated by his friends and advisers, according to Barbaro’s article.
But when Wallace asked what was to come next, Romney and his wife casually danced around the question. Mitt and Ann told Wallace that the family is first on their list, and then second is to further the Romney Foundation for Children “to help the very poorest kids in the world.”
So maybe by not giving formal answers, Romney is keeping his options open. And after his tough loss last November, options are a great necessity for him to have.