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« Respect President Trump? Forget it! | Main | Big Week in Bookland: Books, Betrayal, and Bereavement »

Election Day Hopes or The End of the Dream is Being Televised

The end is near. It’s election day. Presidentially speaking, a big decision will  be made. As Benjamin M. Friedman said: “The paramount question is whether a person exhibiting no qualification for the office – neither experience, nor preparation, nor personal character – is nonetheless to become president.”[1] The person Friedman is referring to is, of course, Donald Trump, and as I write it’s not looking good for The Donald. Nate Silver has Trump at a 28.6% chance of winning the election. Silver gives Clinton as 55.1% chance of winning Florida. Let’s hope superstar Silver is correct. Still, I’ve always been intrigued by the fact that millions of Americans really do want a person, probably a man, with absolutely no experience to take the most dangerous job on the planet. It’s not as if Trump were running for a council seat in a town with a population of 5000 people. It’s the presidency! 

Actually, it is more accurate to say that the decision is in the process of being made and has been for weeks. As of Sunday over 44 million people had already voted, myself included. Here in Washington State we vote by mail. There will be no polling stations and long lines in Washington today, and thus no fear of voter intimidation. But also no thrill of doing one’s democratic duty, or indeed doing one’s democratic pleasure . 37 states and the District of Columbia offer some form of early voting. The Republican Party has done it’s best to end early voting in those states, because it tends to favor the Democratic Party candidates. For a while it looked as though the GOP’s effort to restrict voting for certain groups of people (not white people, obviously) was having some success. However, in the last couple of days there has been a surge of Hispanic and African Americans going to the polls. Can only be good news for Clinton. 

This is my first election day back in the good old U.S. after thirty years away. In Britain watching the results on the BBC was an all-night affair, given the differing time zones. My wife and I would sit up all night eating nachos, drinking red wine, and either celebrating or mourning. I figure by the time the polls close here on the West Coast (also known as the Left Coast – Silver gives Clinton a 97.5% chance of victory in Washington, a 93.4 chance in Oregon, and a 99.9% chance in California) we’ll  know who the next president will be, whether or not the Democrats took the Senate (not looking good right now), and by how much the Republicans maintain control in the House. By nine in the evening the adventure will all but be over. Not much time for nachos and wine. 

Trump is a GOP creation. Trump is to politics what porn is to the internet: something that should have been controlled, limited, and generally unacceptable has gone mainstream. Every society has its dark side, or dark underbelly. It will never be expunged, but a good society keeps its less desirables under their rocks. Trump has lifted all the rocks and the racist, xenophobes, misogynists, fascist bastards are out and shouting and packing and just being themselves. A man at a Trump rally got beat up the other day for holding up a sign. Trump supporters didn’t like the sign. 

The GOP has been a slow motion train wreck for years now and it’s not been good for America. Republicans have promised, even before election day, that they will tie Clinton up in special investigations and prosecutions, will refuse to hold hearings on any and all Clinton Supreme Court nominees, and will impeach her within her first year in office. This is the No Party at its best. The only hope of having a somewhat functional government is for the Democratic Party wins the Senates. But our best hope seems to be a 50 50 split with a Democratic vice president breaking the tie. Welcome to the circus. 

Here's the problem. The GOP used to be a political party committed to governing, fighting for what it believed was best for the country, compromising with political opponents when necessary. Now it is a pseudo religions/ideological organization fighting evil, and as we know one should not, cannot, compromise with evil. One must totally defeat evil even if it means shutting down the government, denying people the right to vote, and exhibiting an impressive lack of respect for democracy itself. The will of the people is only authentic when it matches the will of the GOP. Otherwise, fuck the people. 

Unfortunately, the GOP will not be routed today. I had hoped it would guessing that a route might force the party to recreate itself. In fact, the US needs a legitimate conservative party. It doesn’t have one now. But, if Clinton wins and the Senate splits perhaps we can avoid the worse of the zealots masquerading as politicians. 

Copyright ©2016 Dale Rominger

[1] Friedman, Benjamin M. On the Election-III. The New York Review of Book. November 10, 2016, Volume LXIII, Number 17.

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