For the last two years I’ve run one of the nation’s most successful economic development organizations, the Baton Rouge Area Chamber. During those two years we’ve been able to dodge the policies and effects of the last four years under the Obama administration. I don’t see how we can keep that up for another four. Today is a sad day for America, and a sad day for any conception of capitalism we’ve ever known.

I’ve spent my career in the business of corporate and economic forecasting. I use data analysis and facts to predict outcomes – for businesses and for one of the most impoverished regions in the United States. The fact that the popular vote is close within a margin of error, and that Obama has for the first time won an election with less votes than for his first term… these facts don’t speak well for the future of America.

If this is a problem of my generation, I concede it. The 18 to 30 year old voters of today have decided that it’s better to elect a “cool” president than one who knows how to balance a budget. They will elect someone who takes contributions from celebrities and sports stars – some of the most out of touch members of our citizenship – while at the same time listening that the wealthy don’t pay their “fair share.”  Logic and clarity of thought have been lost and replaced by rhetoric and promises. It no longer matters if you follow through with what you say, as long as you have something to say and some flash behind it to make it look attractive.

This isn’t sustainable. Nations, states and individuals alike have all met disaster by substituting wishes for facts, and dreams for reality. One day, this is a lesson that America will learn – our enemies are counting on it. The fiscal cliff, projected increases in our deficit (aside from promises that will reduce it), this is the reality we’re facing today. By any reasonable measure there was one presidential candidate equipped to meet this reality – Gov. Mitt Romney.

The United States has a hard four years in front of it. The country that we all love – the one that we work for – is in dire straits. The Republican party can still lead and has the opportunity to rise to more prominent leadership in 2014.  The GOP must begin to embrace social issues. This includes rights for women and rights to choose, as well as rights for homosexuals. It also includes things like honest debate on environmental issues. For as long as the Republican Party stubbornly retrenches on these issues, it will lose. The GOP needs to focus on issues of real significance to the future of this country and issues that matter to our survival as a capitalistic democracy–today that’s fiscal discipline. This is where we can win and where America needs us to win. This is how we recover from this sad day for our country.

Follow Giles on Twitter @RGilesWhiting