On my very first election night, 1994, I wore a Lord & Taylor suit purchased at the Carousel Mall in Syracuse, NY. That night, Republicans took over Congress for the first time in over 50 years. I considered it my lucky suit.
I wore that suit on Election Night in 1996. Mike Mahaffey lost.
I wore that suit on Election Night in 1998, as Finance Director of the Republican Party of Iowa. We lost the Governor’s office for the first time in three decades.
I wore that suit on Election Night in 2000, the 2002 Dumpster Fire, and 2004.
Loss. Loss. Loss.
Finally, in 2006, as the clock ticked past 5 pm, I left the office and thought about putting that suit on one more time. I knew Jim Nussle would lose. Bill Dix had already lost his primary. Jim Leach was in serious trouble. The notion of putting on that suit, now out of style and ill-fitting as I’d gained weight, was just unbearable. I wouldn’t be in the room with any of those candidates. They had people t whose opinions they valued more than mine. I’d be milling around with a bunch of activists and a few donors, likely the highest ranking and most experienced person roaming the floor of the election night “victory” party with people asking me to explain why this was all happening yet again.
I left the suit in the closet and stayed home. No one missed me. And yes, they all lost.
There had to be more to life than this. And there was.
I still have that suit, and if fits again. The shoulder pads are monstrous. If you have a candidate you REALLY want to lose … let me know, and I’ll wear it to see if the old magic works.