After Brutal Campaign, Cooperation Won't Come Easy, If at All

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WATCH Campaign 2010 in 2 Minutes

Last ditch efforts to sway the vote are pouring in, but many candidates have already turned their attention to what is expected to be a night of Democratic concession speeches full of obligatory promises to cooperate with the new majority.

"I think what you're going to see is candidates coming forward saying, 'I fought my heart out … but we came up short," Democratic strategist Steve McMahon said.

And then will come the promises, he said -- the pledge to be a good American and to fall in line with the victor.

"Now only half of that is really true, but that's what they'll all say," he said. "The cooperation will last for as long as the speech."

"It's frustrating to be so filled with hope two years ago," McMahon said, "and then to see we've had a third consecutive change election and the change that's coming means a lot of Democrats are going to lose their seats."

Republican strategist Russ Schriefer, who dabbled in U.S. Sen. John McCain's presidential exploratory committee before signing on with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's presidential committee for the 2008 elections, was on the losing side that year and in 2006 when Democrats swept the elections amid a backlash against President George W. Bush's policies.

He cautioned that both winning and losing candidates know that in a near decade of "major swings of the American electorate" the tide can turn very quickly.

"Just because the Republicans are going to have a good night tonight doesn't mean we're going to have a good night two years from now or four years from now," he said.

In climates like this, he said, many candidates who would have normally beat themselves up over what they could have or should have done, will be able to chalk up losses to what he called a "wave election."

"A lot of people just aren't buying Democrats this year for all kinds of reasons," he said.

Schriefer said he expects there to be some sincerity this year in the concession speeches, but also a nod to supporters not to accept defeat of their platform.

"If you believe you have an opportunity to win, do what you need to do to win and continue to hit hard. But I also think it means, particularly on election night, being gracious."

Obama to Speak Wednesday, Expected to Pledge Renewed Cooperation

There is already speculation on what President Obama will say when he holds a news conference in the East Room of the White House at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

"I think he has to pick a couple of issues that he believes he can really sit down with Republicans and reach a compromise on," Schriefer said, naming deficit reduction as a good place to start. "I also think that the president would want to, maybe for the x-teenth time, really re-boot and talking about what we can do to get the economy moving and create jobs."

McMahon, who made the rounds in 2004 on Howard Dean's presidential bid, said Obama will have a much different responsibility than the congressional candidates when conceding defeat in that he'll need to take a hard look at his own agenda and why his party hasn't been able to hang on to the independent voters that so fervently backed him in 2008.

"He will say that voters have spoken, they've given us a Congress that's much different than we have before," he said.

And McMahon predicted Obama will likely assume a spirit of cooperation from his Republican opponents because they are now tasked with the responsibility of running Congress.

But for at least the next few hours, Democrats aren't giving up hope. The airwaves are still filled with television ads and the Internet still abounds with enthusiastic get-out-the vote messages.

Instead of the hard-hitting negative campaigns that have cost candidates millions to throw at their opponents, today's messages are more heartfelt, more subdued.

"It's sort of the closing argument time," McMahon said.

"All the negative ads have been run," he said. "All the information that you think can move an election has probably been exposed and it's a great time at the end to make your closing argument about why candidate 'A' deserves your vote and your trust and what they'll do with it going forward."