In the Minority
For those disappointed with the outcome of the 2004 presidential election, there are four reasons (that I can think of) to be disappointed:
1. Kerry lost. You are disappointed because Kerry lost if you liked Kerry, thought he would make a good president, and wished that the person you liked had won. Analogous to rooting for the Red Sox, but being bummed that they lost the World Series to any random national league team.
2. Bush won. You are disappointed because Bush won if you hate Bush, can't stand his policies, and will take someone--anyone--other than Bush; and Kerry fits that bill. Analogous to rooting against the Yankees in the World Series, but being incensed when they win.
3. A combination of the above. The proper analogy is being a Red Sox fan, and the Red Sox lose to the Yankees.
4. Being in the minority. This is sort of like realizing that everyone else is a football fan. You're upset not because Kerry lost, really, as you are upset that Kerry obviously lost; that he lost at the same time that 11 states passed laws banning gay marriage/civil unions; that he lost at the same time that the Senate and House increased their Republican membership.
Among the people who backed Kerry, I wonder how many are disappointed because this election was a wakeup call to the current political structure of American society. The dominant, and governing, political ideology is based on cultural conservatism. This is perhaps a crude generalization--all governing majorities are products of innumerable compromises--but I'm not sure if there's another way to read this election.
The deep disappointment that I, for one, feel is a disappointment in the nature of the current governing majority. I disagree with the ideology that seems to be motivating it, and I am concerned with what seems like the utter collapse of a coherent opposition to it. But what would a viable and coherent opposition--one that create a majority--look like? What would it be based on? Surely, it can't merely be reactionary . . .