For Palm Beach County Republican Chairman Sid Dinerstein, the re-election of President Obama wasn't a sudden disaster as much as a last straw. All over Europe and in big parts of the United States, he saw socialism on the rise and voters as its willing hostages.
Dinerstein had been watching with increasing alarm.
"The worse people suffer under socialism, the more they vote for it," he said in an interview with WLRN's Christine DiMattei. "It’s hard to see a future for conservatism."
Dinerstein emailed 5,000 county Republicans on Thursday with news he would not be running for a sixth term as Republican chairman. He told WLRN it was not an emotional reaction to a bad election night.
"This was coming either way," he insisted. "I told many people I would make a decision and put it out two days after election day."
Dinerstein, 66, isn't the only regional Republican leader in an existential crisis after this election. Maine's state chairman has announced he's calling it quits, Illinois' Republican leader is under fire and even Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus seems to be seeking reassurance that he's OK for another term.
In Tennessee, though, Republicans scored some impressive legislative gains on Tuesday and the head of the party there is basking in the glow.
As a Republican leader in an overwhelmingly Democratic county, Dinerstein has been assertive but circumspect and only rarely divisive. But he boiled over in his interview with DiMattei, echoing some talking points that were particularly damaging to Republican prospects in the run-up to Obama's victory.
For instance, as he illustrated the addictive appeal of "socialism," he echoed Mitt Romney's infamous 47 percent speech:
"Over time, people who get used to how the government takes care of them wind up seeing the major decisions in their lives being made by the government and forget it can be made in a different way."
Late in the campaign, when former Secretary of State Colin Powell endorsed Obama, Romney surrogate John Sununu shrugged it off as racial solidarity. And here's how Sid Dinerstein looks back on the election:
"This election was a demographic election and the overwhelming number of blacks and Hispanics that voted for Barack Obama -- blacks, in many cases, because of the skin color, Hispanics in many cases, because they think they're getting amnesty out of the deal -- created an election we were unable to win."
In his letter to county Republicans, Dinerstein said conservatism is no longer welcome in America even though he told DiMattei it’s alive and well in Florida. Still, he says, "socialism," as he calls it, has made a bleak future for us all. "Sixteen trillion dollars in federal debt will not lead to a happy ending," he said, "no matter what party you're in."