SHARE

We may break out the Dom Perignon soon, because as Napoleon said once, “In victory, you deserve cham­pagne, in defeat, you need it.” Tuesday’s pres­i­dential election stung. The Col­legian edi­torial board dis­agrees on pol­itics (mostly thanks to our hipster con­tingent), but not a single one of us wanted to see Pres­ident Barack Obama win re-election.

For many, Gov. Mitt Romney seemed likely to pull through: polls over­sampled Democrats, evan­gel­icals would turn out quietly, bat­tle­ground states seemed winnable. Early returns looked decent, but Romney just didn’t have the swing. He received fewer votes than Sen. John McCain in 2008.

There’s no way to spin Tuesday’s results as a win for con­ser­v­a­tives. It doesn’t guar­antee a Repub­lican victory in 2016, and it won’t purge the party of its mod­erates, as many hope. The pres­ident won a mandate to govern. Romney didn’t present the con­ser­v­ative vision for the United States in a com­pelling manner, and he didn’t con­vince enough of the elec­torate that Repub­licans could provide solu­tions and alter­na­tives. What’s next?

Reassess. The most inter­esting dis­agree­ments are not those between con­ser­v­a­tives and lib­erals, but rather the dis­agree­ments among con­ser­v­a­tives them­selves, ranging from nuanced ker­fuffles to foun­da­tional dis­putes. The elec­torate isn’t stupid, nor is it infal­lible, but the defenders of liberty are doing some­thing wrong, missing the key strategic answers. We have four years now to con­sider what pre­cisely that means, and it should begin at Hillsdale. Maybe diehard Repub­licans didn’t demand enough ide­ology from Romney. Maybe lib­er­tarians had unachievable expec­ta­tions. Perhaps both.

Whatever the case, we have failed to coa­lesce, and that’s evident even on our small campus. Par­ti­sanship may be an unavoidable result of human nature, but despite its dif­fi­culties, we will have to learn to work with our political system, which is imperfect but better than all available alter­na­tives. With grace and humility we should go onward, and figure out how to rec­oncile our dif­fer­ences and create a coherent phi­losophy with which we can con­vince our fellow coun­trymen.

So have a glass of cham­pagne, and get back to work. We have a country to save, and our cause is too just to quit.