The stages, popularly known by the acronym DABDA, include:
Denial – The first reaction is denial. In this stage the party believes that its preferred presidential candidate has no shortcomings and can’t possibly have lost the election.
Anger – When the party recognizes that denial cannot continue, it becomes frustrated, especially at rival coalitions. Certain psychological responses of a party undergoing this phase would be: “Was there election fraud? It’s not fair!”; “How can this happen to us? We’re more highly qualified and sophisticated!”; “Who is to blame? Was it sexism? Was it the white working class? The ‘alt-right’?”; “How could this happen? All the polls looked good!”.
Bargaining – The third stage involves the hope that the party can avoid a cause of grief. Usually, the negotiation for an extended stretch of political power is made in exchange for a reformed policy focus. People still in office and thus facing less serious trauma can bargain or seek compromise.
Depression – “I’m so sad, why bother with anything?”; “I’m going to die soon, so what’s the point?”; “I miss my Obama, why go on?” During the fourth stage, the party despairs at the recognition of the limits of politics itself. In this state, it may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time mournful and sullen.
Acceptance – “It’s going to be okay.”; “I can’t fight a Trump administration; I may as well prepare for it.” In this last stage, the party embraces the loss of the presidency, of Congress, or some other tragic event. People out of power may precede the new administration in this state, which typically comes with a calm, retrospective view for the party, and a stable condition of emotions.