It’s that time of season. Witches and trolls walking among us, stirring heart-chilling fright, dread and trembling among us mere morals.
That’s right. Election season.
Everybody wonders what will happen on election day. I’m wondering what will happen after it.
All of the anger, disillusionment and distrust of the campaign isn’t going to go away. America isn’t going to hug this one out.
For the first time in my experience, a significant number of people may simply disavow the result of an election. If it didn’t go their way, it must be rigged. They simply won’t accept that this person is their president. We’re going to have a lot of grumpy, delusional little political free agents, I suppose.
Whoever loses - be it the wicked witch of the e-mails or the grabby oompa loompa, he or she isn’t likely to accept it very gracefully, if at all.
I have to suspect that the loser, and perhaps their entire party, will in effect continue a campaign as if the election never happened. They will still try to wield their followers, via social media and TV quasi-news, to shape the political landscape. There are two egos to feed here that are as voracious as the venus fly-trap in Little Shop of Horrors.
The 2020 campaign, in effect, will probably start before election night is over.
I fear that the loser may actually be the lucky one. He or she will be free to second-guess and “told you so” every step that the next president makes. Each has their pet segment of big media that will continue to roll over every time they scratch it behind the ears.
The winner faces four years of character-shredding, ridicule, plotting, constant investigation, twisting of every syllable they utter, uncomfortably close examination of their sex lives, attacks on their families, probably a concerted effort to impeach. Entire web sites will be set up to hate their cat. And that’s just from their own parties. The other guys might really be hard on them.
One candidate may end up in court, as a president, over an email fiasco or foundation collusion, the other on fraud or sexual abuse allegations. Remember when a politician actually had to serve as president before claiming not to be a crook?
How did we wind up in this predicament? I suppose it is the interesting dichotomy of American politics - we desperately want change, even if we don’t really know what we want to change to, and at the same time, we want the safety of stability and
continuation even when the direction isn’t working. In a
nutshell, that’s Trump v. Clinton 2016.
This campaign seems a
particularly joyless place. There are signs and buttons, but is anyone really passionate about either candidate?
This time we can’t even pretend that either has a snowball’s chance of uniting anyone. They are both polarizing characters at a time when American is violently split already in almost every way possible - race, religion, economics, politics, Bud vs. Corona.
It has become an angry, underhanded and borderline ridiculous campaign, not useful for much besides Saturday Night Live cold opens. Has it illuminated even one real issue? Eeach candidate’s platform seems primarily to be what is wrong with the other. And they are both kinda right in that regard.
The latest polls show 60 percent of voters viewing each candidate negatively. In other words, they’re both losing. Gosh, I hate math.
Whoever wins will be elected reluctantly, with a small-letter “yay,” not so much on the basis of their merit, but because voters think the other candidate is even more dangerous.
One gets the feeling that either party would happily see America flushed down a toilet, if it would give them an opportunity to blame the other and grab an advantage.
By now, you know Clinton and Trump and their personalities pretty well. One set of those hands will be on the nuclear football, with all of our lives at stake.
Heck, I’m not sure I’d trust either of them dog-sit.
The temptation for many will be not to vote, but that’s not an answer. The less people vote, the better the chance of unfit candidates getting into power. Never let anybody take away your voice.
It is important at this difficult stage for Americans to show that they care. And there are state and local races up and down the ballots that deserve attention even if voters aren’t thrilled with their options for president. Don’t just pull that party-line level either - that’s too damn easy. Think about where you are putting your trust in each case. You’re a voter, it’s your job.
I don’t know who is going to win, but I have a fair idea who could lose - reasonable, thoughtful Americans who deserve effective, trustworthy, bipartisan leaders.
I hope Iturn out to be wrong.
If I’m not, we need to demand better. And possibly a ballot with a new choice, “none of the above,” and a chance to reboot.