Tuesday, November 8, 2016
Campaign 2020 Begins in Just Two Days!
Whence (to unleash my Inner Grammar Nazi) did so many Americans get this idea? Like so many rhetorical questions, it's easy to answer: Along with belief in Santa Claus, we get it from the official propaganda we're dunned with from childhood onward, down to the marketing campaigns of the candidates themselves.
Partisans only drag out this line when they're dealing with voters who don't find their candidate inspiring, or even worse, who've criticized their candidate substantively. Or, worst of all, that they will vote for their candidate as the lesser evil. I suppose it's preferable to the vicious abuse they indulge in when this one doesn't work. It's what we saw in 2008 and 2012: "Barack is dreamy! He's all about Hope and Change! He could have big positive repercussions for progressive politics! He'll make us feel good about being Americans again! He can pronounce 'nuclear'! He'll end the wars!" Anyone who pointed out that Obama was a center-right corporatist and war-lover was a Republican troll or a cynical non-voter. Then, after he was in office and showed himself to be a war-lover and a center-right corporatist, his fans asked who'd been so foolish as to think he'd be any different from any other politician -- what did you expect, Che Guevara? Weren't you paying attention?
It's 3:26 p.m. on Tuesday in Seoul as I write this, which means it's just after midnight on Tuesday in Indiana. The polls will open in a few hours. In twenty-four hours this foully dispiriting election campaign will be over, and the next one will begin. If Clinton pulls off a decisive victory, Trump voters will throw tantrums; we can hope it won't get any worse than that. Clinton fans will be kvelling about her greatness, the world-historical moment of a female President (sure, other countries have elected female heads of state, but they aren't us) and the glorious peace and prosperity she'll give us. If the results are close, if Clinton wins in the Electoral College or something, everybody will be throwing tantrums. If Clinton loses, the recriminations will be "epic," as the Internet says: everybody but Clinton herself, or the Democratic Party Leadership, will be blamed. I'll be back in the US a week later, if I haven't applied for political asylum in the meantime. By then, I hope, the dust will have more or less settled.