As I re-read yesterday’s post I realized that allowing for the possibility of an unexpected (as per polling) Trump victory is as close as I’ve come to making a firm prediction in this election. I don’t have any crystal ball, and aside from thinking that the final count will be a lot closer than expected I have no strong feeling concerning the actual outcome. Which is not to say that I haven’t developed a few strong opinions concerning the political realities of our nation at this time.
In no particular order.
I think that regardless of the outcome the president is going to exceed expectations with reference to minority and LBGTQ voters. This is not a function of thinking that POTUS 45’s tendency towards incendiary statements and tweets is a just a product of an oppositional press. He says and does offensive things with the reliability of a Swiss timepiece. He was also, whether you think it matters or not, the guy wearing the captain’s hat when black and Latino unemployment numbers found themselves at unprecedented lows. I imagine that if you’ve been out of work and have a family to look after, a steady paycheck might help you to look past the intemperate ramblings of someone whose poor impulse control didn’t get in the way your own rising fortunes, or a judicial reform that benefitted people with more melanin than him at a disproportionate level, for that matter. And if I were in that position and found myself being lectured by Maxine Waters or Chelsea Handler on the niceties of race betrayal I might suddenly find myself recalling the way Joe Biden referred to then candidate Barack Obama. In an article in the New York Observer, in 2007, Biden was quoted as saying, ” …I mean, you get the first mainstream African American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.” If he wasn’t a babbling imbecile he might’ve come off as a condescending, poorly closeted racist. If I were gay it might not be terribly difficult to remember that, in an embarrassingly self-conscious effort to show the world that only white men are capable of doing anything wrong, Joe Biden’s party has a tendency to somehow not be aware that no small number of Islam’s most fervent adherents think that the appropriate response to two men acting on a mutual physical attraction is to reduce their height by the distance from the base of their necks to the top of their skulls.
Everyone who has brought us to this moment will have learned absolutely nothing, and is highly likely to continue behaving in a way which may leave us in the same place four years from now, and in the time between here and there. I’ve written about this before (The Malice of Absence, Howard Schultz’s Brief Non-Campaign and What it Might Mean, Kepner Revisited), but I don’t think there’s any way to overstate the impact of the endless, self important admonitions from a media thoroughly inculcated with the belief that abandoning all pretense of even handedness gives them a moral superiority. I probably have more in common with the majority of that group than I do with a significant portion of Trump voters, but the smarmy, pretentious tone that is so very much a part of the way that most of the fourth estate currently operates is enraging. It isn’t just the press. Listening to some overly subsidized, twenty-something snot try to deliver a lecture on the virtues of critical race theory exhausts my self restraint and I had a truly middle class upbringing. I can only imagine what buttons it might push on someone if their white privilege consisted of trying to make ends meet as they run from one minimum wage job to the next. What a mood elevator it must be to have someone run on endlessly about all the advantages afforded to you as you ponder how nice it would have been to attend college, if only the bursar wasn’t expecting a sizeable check in return. Lest I be accused of partisan bias, my friends on the right might want to consider a change here or there as well. If someone says or does something that can be reasonably construed in an ugly way, being your standard bearer does not earn them a pass. I can understand wanting to protect somebody who makes you feel represented or understood, but you do yourself no favors by refusing to acknowledge when that person’s behavior has crossed a line. Appreciating the willingness of an office holder to speak their mind is one thing; celebrating their verbal recklessness and reflexive insensitivity is another.
No matter who wins, this country is going to suffer. Short of a staggering landslide I can’t see the losing side living with the results. We are looking at a minimum of four more years steeped in antagonism and resentment. I’d love to be able to add something hopeful here, but I don’t see it. I’ll be posting again tomorrow night, as I watch the coverage.