Every presidential election cycle in my adult life that I can recall, I've heard about the dreaded October surprise. This year we speculated what that might be and anxiously anticipated its arrival. We might not have known about it, but the October surprise had been arriving all month in the form of pink slips. Unemployment figures are out for October and over 240,000 people lost their jobs in the month prior to election day.
Each job loss touched more lives than just that of the former employee. If the economic turmoil hitting Wall Street hadn't had an impact on their lives yet, the new job loss made it personal. Think of the spouses, neighbors, parents, adult children and friends who might share the fear, grief and anger of the newly unemployed and you can imagine a massive group of people motivated to vote for change.
This cycle the damage done by the October surprise isn't limited to a presidential candidate. This time the damage was spread throughout our communities and hurt real people. I think this is one reason why many of us can't bring ourselves to celebrate Democratic majorities. There's too much work to be done.
While Democrats prepare to transition into leadership in the White House and continue to work hard dealing with the financial crisis, it is reported that Republican leaders are holding a series of meetings to figure out how to rebuild the Republican brand - something I'm sure is at the top of every American's list of priorities.
To Do List
Get a job Fend off foreclosure Pay medical bills Rebuild Republican brand
As Republicans continue to prove they are out of touch with the average American, we need to put away the fireworks and champagne and get to work cleaning up the mess left by these same Republican leaders who are holing themselves up in a bunker somewhere, licking their wounds and planning their triumphant comeback.