hillary clinton
Hillary ClintonReuters

It has been a catastrophic night on so many levels for the Democrats that it's hard to find any words that may give them a bit of solace from this thumping loss against the Republicans, led by Donald Trump.

But the disaster will weigh more heavily on Hillary Clinton. Where does she go from here? She wasn't up against Mitt Romney or John McCain. No, she was up against a man who almost every expert had written off as being too loathsome and politically incorrect to ever grace the Oval Office. Yet she failed, and failed hard.

It is not hard to imagine that this could be the end of her political career, just like 2012 signaled the end of Mitt Romney's, and for that the US political system will be a poorer place.

It will be a while now before a woman candidate emerges with enough immediate recall to make a concerted push for the White House, but emerge one eventually will. Of that make no mistake.

It's unlikely Donald Trump will turn out to be the monstrous, bungling president so many people think he'll be. In fact he may not even be America's worst. But he will have to surround himself with people who will guide him (after all he is new to the corridors of DC) without being sycophantic, to be remembered without a shiver of regret.

There will be no Wall, no mass illegal deportations, and no state-sponsored crusade against Muslims living in America. And that's because when it comes down to the brass, the American people will not allow such travesties.

The Democrats will have to do some soul-searching before the mid-terms, and hopefully find a candidate with the charisma of a 2008 Barack Obama. If they, however, continue to ignore the white working class voter (even though it is a stagnating demographic) they risk losing a lot more than an election. They risk losing the essence of their party. And that they can ill afford.

As for the Republicans: Now that they have a president, a House and a Senate, there is absolutely no excuse to drag their feet on the issues that matter. And the Democrats have to work with them, with gritted teeth if need be.

The American political system has run out of excuses, and the 2016 election has shown that none will be brooked by a disillusioned electorate.

For Hillary Clinton this may well be the end of the political road, but the legacy of the hope she gave millions of American women will live long after 2016 has faded into the history books. In that she must take pride and strength. It will be difficult, but time will make the disappointment more bearable. It always does.

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