The Washington Post published a surprisingly poignant profile of a woman from Tennessee who volunteered for the Romney campaign.
Her calendar read “Victory Day!!” and she had planned to celebrate in the office by hosting a dance party and selling Romney souvenirs. But instead she was packing those souvenirs into boxes, which would be donated to a charity that sent clothes to South America. Instead a moving company was en route to close down the office in the next 48 hours, and her friends were calling every few minutes to see how she was doing.[snip]
Among so many Romney voters, perhaps none had been as devoted to the cause — as indefatigable, as confident, as prayerful — as 44-year-old Beth Cox, a member of the school board and a volunteer who had committed to Romney early in the Republican primaries. She had run the small GOP campaign headquarters in Sumner County by herself for six days a week during the last four months. She had been the first in line to vote on the first day of early voting.
Now it was left to her to clean up the aftermath. She stood next to a space heater in a small building in the exurbs of Nashville, taking inventory of what supplies they had left and packing up boxes of red-white-and-blue streamers. She put away the pink Romney shirts, the white Romney-Ryan hats and the GOP bumper stickers with the Tennessee logo. Down came the sign that read: “We Built It!” Down came the elephant flag and the George W. Bush commemorative emblem. Down came the signed picture of Romney, with a typed inscription that read: “This is a great time to be a Republican.”
Particularly poignant to me is the image of a person betrayed by those she trusted.
Everything in her version of America had confirmed her predictions: the confident anchors on Fox News; the Republican pollsters so sure of their data; the two-hour line outside her voting precinct, where Romney supporters hugged and honked for her handmade signs during a celebration that lasted until the results started coming in after sundown. Romney’s thorough defeat had come more as a shock than as a disappointment, and now Cox stared at the actual results on her computer and tried to imagine what the majority of her country believed.
She gave her all for Romney and had to clean up the detritus:
She came back into the Romney office again the next morning. The moving truck was waiting outside.
“It’s so depressing,” she said, walking into the office. “Let’s just get it done.”
They threw out yard signs, hauled office supplies into storage and donated some furniture to Goodwill. Cox swept the floor and then came outside to watch the mover climb on top of his trailer to take down the “Sumner County Republican Party” banner that had hung on the front of the building. Four months of dedication and work — the sale of 1,600 signs, 500 bracelets, 1,200 buttons and a few hundred hats — reduced to nothing in 48 hours.
She stood in the cold and stared at the two-story building. It had belonged to a doctor’s practice that had closed, and then to a newspaper that had downsized, and finally to a campaign that had failed to win office based on its vision of America.
She took out her phone and snapped a picture.
“So that’s it,” she said. “It’s all gone.”
What happened was simple. The authority figures around her assured her a win was inevitable. She believed them. Whether they were lying and knew it or had convinced themselves, they created the circumstances where the true believers were led into a box canyon. It’s hard to work for a campaign for months and lose – I know I’ve done it. It’s even harder if the folks you rely on to tell the truth, don’t.