Wednesday, November 16, 2016


Former student, Wes Smith, is a big wig in politics.
He has worked with Mark (niece Camille's husband)
in the governor's office
(Governor Herbert...bottom right, Wes...back)

Wes is currently the liaison between the State of Utah government
and the federal government.

I have experienced a lot of losing in the past decade. I am a Republican, a social conservative and a fan 
of athletic programs that are in a decade-long slump. Add to this that I voted for Evan McMullin and
 you get a sense of my intimate understanding of being on the losing side. With this experience,
 here is my expert counsel on winning and (mostly) losing:
Paul Brown was the tremendously successful coach of the Cleveland Browns in 
the early 20th century and he imparted this sage advice: "When you win, say nothing. 
When you lose, say less."Donald Trump supporters, resist the urge to taunt. 
The scoreboard reminds everybody that you won. 
Democrats, you don't need to rehash your feelings about Trump. We know how you feel. 
 The practical application of Coach Brown's advice is this: If you are using social media, 
stay positive. Be gracious winnersand losers. Think about how you felt in 2012 and implement the
 golden rule. As I read the social media responses to congratulatory messages to Trump 
from Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush and others it reminded me that we have a long way to go. 
Move on, Trump winners. Accept a gracious nod to the victor. Let the past be the past.
Democrats, follow the example of President Barack Obama in his speech the day after the election. He had a fantastic line, "This [election] is an intramural scrimmage." He pointed out that we are all Americans and we are on the same team. What a powerful sentiment. Obama also committed to follow George W. Bush's example of a model transfer of power. In other words, he, like President Bush, will be a patriot, not a sore loser.
Break the cycle • The congressional GOP has spent the last eight years lamenting the extreme power of the executive branch of government and looking for ways to make sure President Obama couldn't implement his agenda. Democrats, on the other hand, have reminded everybody that "elections have consequences."
Also recall when the GOP Senate was not allowing President Obama's judicial appointees to sail through the Senate confirmation process, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid decided to change well-established procedural rules in the Senate that protected the minority. He allowed the Democrats to move forward with a simple majority.
Well, the worm has turned, or is about to turn. It would be powerful for both sides to keep in mind the situations they just left. Trump supporters should heed calls from Democrats to limit executive power. No president should enjoy the power that President Obama has exercised in the last eight years. Democrats should find ways to be constructive. Be proactive in solving problems. We must break the cycle, as opposed to just changing roles.
Soak it in • It is never fun to lose, but when you do, soak it in and learn all you can. When I was a young man, very interested in sports, my side of the football rivalry nearly always won, and I did not learn anything about losing, or winning for that matter. Now, the shoe is on the other foot, and my team loses almost every time and I have pinpointed right and wrong approaches to winning and losing.
The same can be said for politics. The last eight years have been instructive. I did not understand winning and losing until I experienced a lot of losing. The Bush years taught me little about this subject. The Obama years were very instructive.
If you consider yourself a loser in this election, start taking notes now. Remember what being a good winner looks and feels like. Take note of bad behavior, the type that you can commit now to forsake when the worm turns. As odd as it sounds, take advantage of this hard loss and stand on it in the future when you are the winner.
Now, allow me to add this one slight modifier for all of these lessons: Winners, you should carry more of the load. It is easier to be humble and gracious as a winner than it is as a loser. Show the world what a Trump win means. Reject the way we have been winning and losing American politics. Do it differently and better. Your honorable winning will show the world that America is indeed great.
Wesley Smith is the managing partner at 24NINE, an external affairs consultancy that specializes in policy, communications and government affairs.

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