George Patton once said that people must “accept the challenges, so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory.” This is a saying that’s certainly been true for me since this past Tuesday.
By the time the day was over, I had won one campaign and lost another.
By now, everyone knows that Marco Rubio suspended his presidential campaign, and after having worked on his campaign in various capacities over the past 10 months I was crestfallen, to say the least. 2016 is proving to be an election cycle where voters are far more interested in anger than solutions to that anger, and Rubio’s campaign is merely the latest casualty of that fact. A glimmer in the darkness of that defeat was that I nevertheless managed to get over 1,600 people to vote for me for Alternate Delegate in a Congressional District home to the one person to ever beat Barack Obama electorally, Congressman Bobby Rush. I’ve worked on a lot of campaigns in a lot of states, but I’ve never seen my own name on the ballot before this past week.
Even though I didn’t get enough votes to be a delegate, I won another race almost simultaneously. My campaign for Ward Committeeman in Chicago’s Fifth Ward ended as well, and it was a far more celebratory occasion because our campaign won! Even though the Illinois primary was the Tuesday of Finals Week for UChicago, we were able to have an excellent party to celebrate a win that I couldn’t have gotten if I hadn’t had help from my amazing friends and family (especially given the insane laws in Illinois for ballot access).
By the time Rubio finished his excellent concession speech, the time for mourning was cut pretty short because our campaign for the Fifth Ward was something that everyone had in common, and having people who supported candidates running the gamut from Hillary to Trump there to share at least one win that we all had in common was an amazing experience. It’s definitely one thing for a candidate that you support to win, but there’s something totally different about having your name on the ballot and waiting for the results to come in precinct by precinct. Additionally, we’ve seen that elections can certainly fray unity, but having one as a focal point for a lot of energy was a way to keep things local, as Tip O’Neill might say. By the time the results had finished filtering in, it was clear that I got more votes than simply ones from people I knew. In fact, people who I have never even met before messaged me on Facebook and sent me emails telling me that they voted for me! I also had a professor of mine from this quarter tell me that they voted for me, which was another awesome anecdote that’s come from all of this.
There’s always a lot to learn from losing, whether it’s a campaign loss or even a March Madness bracket loss. However, there’s also a lot to learn from winning, and it certainly proves Patton right. The exhilaration of winning is worth the work it took to get there, every time.