Skip to main content

Thoughts on an Election

Before I get started on the ruminations of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, I'll begin by saying I really have no clue as to who our next president will be. I've always fretted over the outcome of elections, regardless of the polls, and this year is no different. Especially this year. A good case can be made as to why Hillary Clinton will become our 45th president. All one has to do is look at the polls. Clinton has a comfortable lead in many states, enough to make one think that she will win handily on November 8th.

Of course, polls can be wrong. 538 gives Clinton's changes of winning in the low-mid 80 percent range. Several polls would seem to agree. Many Republicans are jumping ship from Trump. The race looks over. But of course, humanity isn't as easily predictable as polling would have us believe. Things happen. People can surprise us. And, for better or worse, I think that Donald Trump may very well become our next president.

First, let's reference a recent Politico article about the Brexit vote in the UK:

The betting markets were just as confident; on the morning of the referendum, they put Remain’s chance of victory at 76 percent and, by the close of voting, at 86 percent. When you asked voters who they expected to win, it was the same story; in the final 24 hours of the campaign, only 27 percent expected Brexit to triumph. Those who sought to keep Britain in the EU, having recruited President Barack Obama to their cause, expressed relief. An anxious Prime Minister David Cameron was told to relax.

We all know that Brexit went on to win, 52% to 48%. 

Granted, The US isn't the UK, and the dynamics are different. But I still think the basics are the same. The western world is drifting rightward in its economic and nationalist concerns. We've seen it played-out abroad and (perhaps soon) at home. Trump plays well to such consternation. He gets his followers fired-up in ways that Hillary Clinton can only dream of. This goes to the crux of voter turnout. Some will argue that negativity will create higher turnout, that people who dislike Donald Trump and are mortified over what his presidency might bring will be compelled to vote. I'm not sure. Trump's supporters like him. He inspires them (sad though it may be). That would seem like a greater motivation to vote than simple dislike.

Donald Trump is charismatic. Now, before you go rolling your eyes, charisma isn't always a positive trait. Plenty of dictators, tyrants and serial killers have been charismatic. It helped them succeed in their despicable aims. Trump has it. Clinton, not so much. Should that really matter? Of course not. We shouldn't choose our presidents based on which one we'd like to have a beer with, or which one we think seems more ordinary or accessible. We shouldn't, but we often do. It's been clear since at least the advent of televised debates and the shaping of political races into popularity contests.

We also hear a lot about how Trump's campaign doesn't have nearly the financial resources that Clinton's does, and how the latter's "ground game" is far superior than the former's. These are hard facts to ignore, and in a normal election cycle, they would be enough to make one nod and say, 'Yes, this is pretty convincing. Clinton has the upper hand.' But this isn't a normal election cycle. We saw Trump decimate well-known, better-funded Republican candidates in the GOP primary. And we heard the same 'he has no ground game' rhetoric then. It didn't matter.

In case there's any doubt, I do not support Donald Trump. The thought of him becoming president terrifies me. I just don't think it's so outside the realm of possibility as many others now do. Turnout will play a huge factor in the results. And never underestimate the sway of populism. It may very well put Trump into the Oval Office.

Whatever happens, I also doubt that this is some sort of re-alignment election, as many seem to think of it. Every four years we hear about how this is the most important election ever. Depending on the results, we hear about how either the Democrats or the Republicans are done for good. Finished. Over.

Two days after the 2004 election, Maureen Down wrote that, as John Kerry conceded to George W. Bush, the Democratic Party was "splattered at his feet in little blue puddles." And she was right. Then, two years later, Democrats came roaring back in the midterms, and then in '08 with the presidency. If Trump and the GOP do lose this year -- even if they lose badly -- 2018 could be a whole different story.

It is also worth noting that, just ten months ago, John Kerry was insistent that the '04 election had been rigged against him. That was over a decade after his loss to Bush, and now we have Donald Trump advancing the opinion that the 2016 election will be rigged against him. To be clear, both claims are spurious, but I mention the Kerry comments because it is worth decrying such assertions, even if they are made by a political party or candidate that I may support.

In short, I hope that Trump loses, but I fear that he very well may win. We'll know for sure in three weeks.


Popular posts from this blog

The Best Superhero Movies of All-Time, Revisited

We are just a few days away from the North American release of Avengers:Infinity War. While I am dutifully going to see it opening night, it's not a film I'm looking forward to. It is (spoiler) part one of two, which means we can expect plenty of plot threads left dangling when the credits roll. In other words, part two will probably be better, and provide some actual resolution. Also, Thanos looks like a CGI yawn-fest. Hopefully, I'll be proved wrong.
Nevertheless, this is a good opportunity to rank (again) the major superhero movies (Marvel and otherwise) that we've had so far. As you know, I love making a list, and this one is going to be a definitive one! If you don't see a film on here, it's because I haven't seen it (the first two Thors, Iron Man 2, some of the X-Men features, etc.).   Alright, here we go.

Walk and Chew Gum

Yesterday marked a touchstone moment in the U.S., as students across the country participated in "walkouts." This was an occasion for students to express an array of thoughts and emotions, ranging from a desire for stricter gun control, to simply sorrow over the loss of so many of their peers to school shootings. They were peaceful protests, but protests nonetheless. Where you're at on the spectrum of agreeing or disagreeing with what they did may vary, though not wanting to get shot in your school seems pretty reasonable to me.
Some folks have taken to sharing a meme on social media platforms this week -- in direct anticipation and response to the walkouts -- that encourages students to "walk up, not out." Following are suggestions provided for the walk ups:

Walk UP to the kid who sits ALONE and ask him to join your groupWalk UP to the kid who never has a voluntary partner and offer to be hersWalk UP to your teachers and thank them!Walk UP to someone and JUST …

Neighborhood by Night

I've been walking a lot lately. It is part of my goal for better overall health, and has helped me lose sa quarter of my body weight to date. If the destination is close enough, and weather and time permits, then I'll walk there and back.
Sometimes, there doesn't need to be a destination. Sometimes, I'll walk for the pleasure of it, or to shore-up some daily goals. You see, I wear an Apple Watch that monitors how many steps I've taken, calories burned, hours standing, and heart rate. Sometimes, on days where I haven't quite met all my goals, I will head out of the house for a bit, taking a walk around the neighborhood to burn more calories and get some additional steps in.
A few months ago, one of the aforementioned days occurred, where I wanted to take a walk toward the end of the day in order to meet some walking goals. Ashley and I headed out around 10:30pm, and began a stroll around the neighborhood. Halloween had been earlier that week, and houses were st…