How will people react if their candidate loses?

By Hollyn Randolph

We have all heard it, maybe from a family member, a friend, or a co-worker, “If my candidate doesn’t get elected, I am moving to Canada.” With the 2008 election only days away, the reality of one candidate’s quest for presidency will be over. So how do the candidates and country deal with such loss?  

“Some talk about it while others just cry,” says Linda Kirkland-Harris, a Pastoral counselor and director of Hampton University’s counseling center.   

Anxiety is defined as worry or uneasiness about what may happen, while grief is a stronger emotion attached to a loss. “You can suffer from either or both depending on the individual or situation,” said Kirkland-Harris.  

Symptoms for those suffering from anxiety vary by person. Some common symptoms are tension in the joints, pressure, chest pain, a rise in body temperature, and shortness of breath.  

Many may begin to feel anxiety in these final days of the election. With major concerns over the economy, healthcare, and the war in Iraq, people are really looking for a candidate who will save the day and ease their fears.  

Ken Barton, a Barack Obama supporter attending Hampton University, admitted to feeling anxious in the beginning. “I felt like he wasn’t going to win at first but now I am more confident about his campaign,” he said. Maegan Smith from Washington, D.C., feels differently. “I’m moving to England,” she says with a chuckle.  

Candidates also have to deal with the loss. “Usually the candidates are with family and close friends to help cope with the results,” says Jared Leopold. Leopold, a spokesman for the Democratic party of Virginia has been working with elections and campaigns for six years. One thing that always remains consistent is “everyone in the campaign takes the results and reacts as they come.”   

For those who may be feeling anxious or grief after the election, Kirkland-Harris has some advice. “Just use whatever coping mechanism works for you such as talking about it with friends, writing, maybe volunteering, or you could move to Canada.”