OPINION: In This Election, Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa

Matthew Dowd offers an apology in this election cycle.

November 11, 2016, 9:30 PM

— -- As I move on from the aftermath of the presidential election, these words from the Latin Mass I attended as a youth bounced around in my head -- "mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa."

The rough translation is "My fault, My fault, My greatest fault".

I want to take this opportunity to say I was wrong about who would win the election. But my biggest regret, and what I would like to apologize for is the arrogant, close-minded, judgmental, and sometimes mean-spirited way I related to many who believed Trump would win.

They were right, and I was wrong.

I had seen many things coming in this election that turned out to be on target, but for the big finale, I was way, way off. This is primarily because I stopped listening, focused too much on data, and didn't allow counter evidence to be absorbed in a meaningful way.

I became too bunkered in New York City (away from my home in Central Texas) in the last few months, and didn't pay attention to the local stories where another portion of America lives and breathes. Too many of my discussions centered around polling, the horserace, and odds, and not enough on the conversations on the ground.

Nearly three years ago on ABC News' "This Week," I said: "I predict that a year from now we're going to be talking about another candidate — some other candidate who has lit the fire in either party".

This was also a time I argued that Americans were sick of the fact with the 2016 election approaching, it looked like we might be forced into choosing between a Bush and a Clinton. I actually bet a friend at the time that neither a Bush nor a Clinton would be president in 2017.

I also said in early 2015 that Jeb Bush would not make it through the primaries and he would drop out early. And then in September 2015, again on "This Week," I predicted that Donald Trump would be the GOP nominee. I was laughed at and criticized by many. Further, I said early on that Bernie Sanders would rise quickly in the polls and, though Hillary Clinton would emerge as nominee, Sanders would do very well in the Democratic primary process.

Earlier this year, I said because both major party nominees were disliked and distrusted by a majority of citizens we would either see rise of a strong third party or turnout would drop to a low we hadn't seen in 20 years.

Then in the fall, I became convinced Trump would lose, and after the three debates, even put odds on Clinton winning at 95 percent.

Mea Culpa. I was dead wrong.

Instead of casting my prediction as an educated guess or an informed opinion, I treated it as an inarguable fact. In the past, I have said making numerical predictions is faux math, and still I did it anyway. I should have followed St. John of the Cross and held a place of the unknowing: where truth doesn't come as much through the head, as from the heart and the love we show others.

And thus as I said my biggest blunder was in how I treated people of differing opinions. Mea Maxima Culpa.

A few weeks ago on an appearance on ABC, I said that in order to authentically move on from hurting others one must go through a process of the 4 Rs -- responsibility, regret, repair and reform. And so I as a human being and sinner myself must move through that journey.

I have expressed regret and responsibility in the immediate aftermath of the election, but do so again here as clearly and directly as I can. I don't blame this on bad polling, or bad data, or misinformation. I own this and I am accountable. Just me, and I regret how I acted towards others along the way.

I offer this as an apology to those folks who I judged, laughed at, criticized, or was dismissive to. I hope you find it in your hearts to forgive the times I stepped on you in an arrogant manner. I humbly say I am sorry, and in the days ahead will try to reach out to as many individually as I can.

Now for the most important part -- reform. I have thought about this a great deal and want to be a better person because of my error, reforming my behavior moving forward.

Here are a few things I will attempt to do and hope you can hold me accountable to them. In an election as important as this, I want to listen more, be open-minded, and speak so that what I convey is being kind, rather than being right. Because I had gotten much of the election right, I became arrogant and pride took over. I now step forward with more humility.

I will remember more often when I communicate on social media a shortcut I have posted online -- T.H.I.N.K before I speak or write: asking myself is what I am about to say True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary, and Kind. In many cases over the last few months at best I was only three of those things when I put posts on Twitter or Facebook, or spoke on television. I know I can do better.

Having eaten a batch of crow, sufficiently humbled, and strongly sorry, I will learn valuable lessons from my errors. So no matter the election result, that was a good thing. It taught me some needed lessons about myself. Hoping you all can accept this in the compassion it is written. Onward.

Matthew Dowd is an ABC News analyst and special correspondent. Opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of ABC News.

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