Tucked away in a back room with tele­vi­sions lining the walls and dozens of laptops dis­playing election results, I watched the numbers roll in on Tuesday night as John James’ cam­paign team sorted through various precincts to see if the Repub­lican out­sider would pull off an upset.  Although the night didn’t end the way I — and thou­sands of Michigan voters — had hoped it would, election night in that Detroit con­ference room taught me some valuable lessons.

First, every vote matters. Yes, every single vote. That simple phrase has sat­u­rated dis­course over the past few weeks as various pundits, politi­cians, busi­nesses, and cor­po­ra­tions have pushed for a higher voter turnout. Many still feel that one vote doesn’t have impact and is useless in the grand scheme of things. But sorting through results with very narrow margins showed me the power of a single vote. A state House race in northern Illinois came down to quite lit­erally one vote: Mary Edly-Allen col­lected 25,105 votes to incumbent Helene Walsh’s 25,106 votes. The same rarity occurred in Ken­tucky. If a few more people had voted in each precinct across the state, many races would have turned out dif­fer­ently. Votes add up quickly and it all starts with an indi­vidual deciding to make their voice heard.

Next, a loss doesn’t have to leave us defeated. After hours of data crunching, phone calls, and poll watching, our team reached the unfor­tunate con­clusion that James had lost the election. The fight was a long and his­toric one, but it didn’t put James on Capitol Hill. The stu­dents and staffers around me were visually worn and beat as we packed up to head home.

At that moment, James walked into the War Room with a smile and con­fi­dence that made us all wonder if someone hadn’t brought him up to speed yet. He spoke to the group and reminded us that a year ago no one had heard of this movement. It had no traction. Now it is a massive, national movement. He spoke of the change from six years ago when Stabenow beat her opponent by 20 points, yet this time she won by less than six. James’ message of national security, eco­nomic pros­perity, and fewer reg­u­la­tions res­onated with mil­lions across the country. James wasn’t defeated; he was grateful and ener­gized for the next battle.

In short, this is only the beginning. John James promised Michi­ganders that he isn’t going any­where. The hard work of ded­i­cated vol­un­teers put him in the national spot­light and gave him the position to talk about issues that truly matter to this state  and to the rest of the country. He will con­tinue to fight and so will we.

Finally, as James told our small group, “People like to thank God when they win. Let’s praise him when we lose, too.”

Perhaps that thought is the most important lesson I learned. The battle for truth and liberty is far from over and John James will be at the fore­front, in whatever capacity God has in store.

Let’s Fly.

Ben Wilson is a freshman studying the liberal arts.