For those of us flipping burgers or mowing lawns or collecting stray eyelashes to turn into fabulous fringe jackets to sell on Etsy to make ends meet, it's hard to imagine feeling sympathy for the people vying for the most powerful job in the world. If someone is in the position to run for president of the United States, you assume they're probably going to have a decent life from here on out.
Actually, maybe not. For you see, running for president and then losing is the first step toward a life of soul-crushing misery, heartache, and mindfuckery.
Losing The Presidency Is Psychologically Catastrophic
Many of us are blessed with a core group of intimate friends and family who will call us out when we stink up the bathroom or steal an entire pizza. Running for president requires a candidate to replace that core group of poop-caller-outers with Yes Men who can keep you pumped up about yourself for the multi-year marathon that it takes to run a presidential campaign. Not only do these people keep your ego sky high, they have to make you believe in yourself until the bitter end -- and they have to be excellent at their jobs.
Which is why when the whole thing is over, the losers usually have no idea that they've lost until the 11th hour. Mitt Romney, for example, didn't know he was going to lose until election night. His advisers were clueless, his family was sure the country was in the bag, and no one bothered to write a concession speech.
Finding out he didn't win the election must have felt like finding out "Tagg" is a stupid name for a human boy. But Mitt is only one of many former presidential candidates who found themselves baffled at the end of election night. One politician described the phenomenon as getting trapped inside your own campaign bubble, but we'd like to think of it like living in a hall of mirrors for two years before suddenly falling out of an open window.
Even if an inkling of a shadow of defeat lingers outside the corner of your eyesight, what are you supposed to do with that information but suppress it? By November, even the most unlikely presidential candidates have thousands (if not millions) of people working for them, believing in them, naming their newborns after them. Nobody wants to tell baby Albertgore's parents that they picked a terrible name for their child.
Spoiler: State kills Albertgore.