Ethan: Well, that was a painful election.

Phil: Painful? That was exactly what the doctor ordered.

Ethan: If this is what the doctor ordered, I need some painkillers.

Phil: Instead of painkillers, I think your party needs a naturopath: “Everything is going to be OK, you just need to get in touch with your inner Mainer.”

Ethan: Three straight statewide elections lost with Libby Mitchell, Cynthia Dill and now Mike Michaud. A 20-year Democratic congressional district lost to a tea partyer. And the state Senate lost for the second time in four years.

Phil: That last one is the biggest surprise. Neither of us predicted the blue team would give away the Senate and yet here we are.

Ethan: Any insight on what happened?

Phil: History is repeating itself. When I was in the Senate and we lost the majority, it was because our leadership overreached. We overplayed our power built upon the belief that voters empowered us to wield the gavel on the forehead of the minority party. In short, we lost focus on finding long-term solutions that would stand the test of future legislators. I think Democratic Senate leadership did the same. Senate President Justin Alfond seemed to spend all his time antagonizing the governor instead of finding compromise and small victories.

Ethan: It’s hard for me to imagine that the Senate president mattered to people choosing between Sen. Jim Boyle and Rep. Amy Volk in the Senate District 30 race.

Phil: I don’t think it mattered in individual races, but when the overall tenor of the Senate had such a combative image, your incumbents suffered. And now that you have lost power, let’s hope your caucus brings in some new leadership that can work with, and not simply in opposition to, Republicans.

Ethan: I haven’t spoken to Alfond, so I am not sure if he plans to run for leadership again, but I expect he is feeling pretty humbled. Stepping down off that rostrum will be hard.

Phil: “If he plans to run for leadership again?” When you are president of the Senate and you lose the majority, or speaker of the House, diplomacy and principle says you step down and let others lead. Senate President Jeffery Butland did it after 1996. Senate President Richard Bennett after 2002. House Speaker Robert Nutting the same after 2012. I suggest Alfond save his caucus the discomfort and simply step aside for the good of the group.

Ethan: If I were in that caucus, the one thing I would want more than anything is someone who will work to win back the majority. Senate Democrats are officially insignificant in terms of molding major policy, so they need to focus on winning back lost seats.

Phil: Perhaps another reason your team needs to ask Alfond to do the honorable thing. As a term-limited lame duck, his focus will end up wandering elsewhere.

Ethan: Let’s talk about your side for a minute. Sen. Mike Thibideau will be Senate president. Garrett Mason the majority leader. And Andre Cushing the Republican whip. Did your team decide to find the most conservative people on the planet and put them in charge? My goodness.

Phil: Regardless of past ideology, these Republicans should use their newfound positions to establish goals for the session ahead. They, and the governor, were brought to power on the backs of welfare reform and energy. But they should also welcome Democrats to join them in showing Mainer’s that Augusta heard the message from Main Street.

Ethan: If Republicans want to welcome Democrats to the table, then they must be willing to hear about the ideas that elected them. Namely healthcare expansion, education and minimum wage.

Phil: It will take new ideas and basic math on those issues if Democrats are to succeed. By the way, before we close this column, aren’t you forgetting something?

Ethan: Let’s see. I have my shoes. My wallet. Blackberry. Nope, I got everything. Thanks for asking. See you next week …

Phil: A little matter in regard to predictions and a bit of good old U.S. currency?

Ethan: Oh, that.

Phil: By my count, I got five of seven predictions correct. And you got – wait for it – one! The only prediction you won is that Shenna Bellows would get more than 30 percent in her race against Sen. Susan Collins. She did, barely.

Ethan: Well, I had to let you win once out of all these years. Congratulations. Don’t spend that dollar all in one place.

Phil: That dollar will never be spent, as it will sit proudly over my desk. On another note, as many know, we always ask our readers and viewers to become amateur pundits. This year we asked folks to predict the order and percentages for governor, CD2 and the bear referendum. Do we know who won?

Ethan: Yes, we do. Out of more than 100 entries, we had only four finalists who predicted all three correctly: Steve Hirschon of Portland; Ray Richardson of Westbrook: Chris P. O’Neil of Portland; and Matthew Angotti of Biddeford.

Phil: An impressive accomplishment. And who was our winner?

Ethan: Matthew Angotti! Not only did he nail the order for all three, he was off by only 2 percent on average for each race.

Phil: Congratulations! From his Facebook page it looks like Angotti is a fellow Republican. I told you that we conservatives are smarter than you give us credit for. And Ethan, it’s time to get rid of that Blackberry. Seriously dude!