Never in the modern history of our country has there been such a disheartening, depressing and infuriating presidential campaign. Our citizens are more polarized than ever. We go to the polls hating our choices, just wanting the big top to collapse and the circus to leave town.
As an analyst, I am the first to admit I am among those who said “Donald Trump can never win.” And that was at every step his announcement to today. I still don’t think he can win but I have to acknowledge there is nothing routine, predictable or normal about this election cycle.
The November Surprise
FBI Director James Comey tased the electorate by announce 11 days before the election that more Hillary Clinton-related email were found (on uber-perv Anthony Weiner’s computer) and had to be analyzed. Speculation and tightening poll numbers ensued. There is no doubt it had an effect on the race.
Now, two days before the election, Comey lobs a grenade into the contest by essentially saying, “Yeah, that other thing? Never mind.” Millions of people have already voted without this information about resolution of the issue. This isn’t just uncharted waters, it’s the Perfect Storm—a Mark Wahlberg, George Clooney, 100-foot-seas-sinking-boats mess.
Comey didn’t just rain on Clinton’s parade, he demolished and burned all the floats. Is it possible to undo the damage done since Comey’s first announcement? Hard to say.
What does Trump do? Will he go from “everything is fixed” to “Comey is a brave hero” to “everything is fixed” again? My guess is he largely ignores the facts (natch) and doesn’t address the latest development.
Trump’s Delusional Followers
There is no more fertile ground for conspiracy theories than Donald Trump’s base. A couple of the more outlandish ones include: The Bush family knew they would have to take down Trump at some point so years ago they planted Billy Bush to egg Trump on in the Access Hollywood video. (Bill Bush and George W. Bush are first cousins).
Think that’s crazy? How about a Trumper interviewed by the Boston Globe believes Clinton will “get rid” of the Second Amendment and take everyone’s guns. And, that the government has ordered 30,000 guillotines that Clinton, if elected, plans to use “to kill us — Christians and people who believe in the Second Amendment… All you got to do is pull it up on the Internet.” Good lord.
Donald Trump is wholly and completely unfit to be president. Even a semi-reasonable person can see this. Unfortunately, we have millions of people in this country who are not even semi-reasonable. There, I said it. I don’t care anymore.
Trump has tapped into the deepest fears, basest bigotry and most unbelievable anger in this country. We are more polarized than ever. David Duke and the KKK have endorsed Trump. His rallies are filled with hate. The tweet-happy, thin-skinned, easily agitated Republican can’t triumph with this.
The Lesser Evil
I personally think the perception that Hillary Clinton can’t be trusted is overblown. There is something there—she dances along the line of truth and lies and no doubt slips into both. However, I don’t think she should be disqualified for this degree of dishonesty because the alternative is so frightening. It’s no doubt a race to the bottom.
The Post-Election Danger
The circus may leave town but the election will be no closer to a conclusion than it is now. There is a better than average chance that Trump will not acknowledge the results (unless he pulls out a win). He is the juggling clown who doesn’t want to admit the show’s over.
We also have to realize that Trump supports may rise up in violence. It should be unthinkable. It’s not anymore. For instance, former US Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill) tweeted, “On November 8th, I’m voting for Trump. On November 9th, if Trump loses, I’m grabbing my musket.” Walsh may say he meant it symbolically but the reality is there are many, many people who may do just that—grab their guns.
The other danger post-election is in the US Senate. If the Democrats prevail (they need to flip four seats if Clinton wins, five to control it outright), we’ll see some sense of normalcy. If the Republicans maintain control, there may be an effort to block any Clinton nominee to the Supreme Court for four years. Government will grind to a halt—gridlock unlike anything we’ve seen.
Unfortunately, the feeling here is that election is over come Nov.9th but I’m not sure our long, national nightmare will end.