Even if we know who won on election night, everyone will immediately start talking about the midterms and 2024
The 2020 election is almost over. It’s been two years since Bernie Sanders and others declared their candidacy. Two years of constant campaigning. Although, if we’re honest, the campaign against Donald Trump began the moment Hillary Clinton conceded the election to him.
However, the new moment is finally upon us. The interminable electioneering and gaudy rhetoric will end next week.
Except it won’t.
The partisan pissing contest that American politics has become ensures that attention will immediately refocus on “the implications” of Trump/Biden winning for the midterm elections. A sensationalist obsessed media, incapable of nuanced reporting and chasing ad dollars because their positions depend on it, will compliantly pivot to the new story. And the abysmal cycle of manufactured outrage, imbecilic analysis, and hyperpartisan bullshit begins anew and we get to watch our democracy devour itself for another two year election.
And that’s nearly the best case scenario.
It’s not at all unlikely that we won’t know who wins on election night. Between chaos at the polls, confusion with mail in ballots, legal challenges, and other unforeseen covid-related problems (which there will be. Nobody has conducted an election during a pandemic in this country for over a century. There will be mistakes that we should’ve anticipated but didn’t.) a good many people are talking about a delay of a week or more before the election can be satisfactorily decided.
On election night we will see rising stars. The media will appoint new standard bearers on the left and the right when local election results or political theatrics make them entertaining or outrageous enough (functionally synonymous these days) to command airtime. Over the following few weeks and months you will hear these names like they’ve been important this whole time and then suddenly most of them will disappear.
This needs to stop.
I need a break. I’m sure I’m not alone. It’s not just covid fatigue. It’s not just Trump. I’m overwhelmed.
The best election night results we could hope for I think is an absolute blowout. Whoever wins. The actual victor doesn’t matter so much as their legitimacy.
Every president in this century so far has been illegitimate for many millions of Americans. Bush “stole the election” and Obama “wasn’t born here” and Trump was “Russia’s candidate.”
We can’t go on like this.
Whoever wins should be the clear winner. Without reasonable doubt by all but the most unreasonable partisans. Universally acknowledged by every news channel as having fairly won. The media needs one less political story to “cover.” The rest of could really use one less thing to argue about.
*I’m writing this on my phone because the power is out at my home. I will return later and add links to some examples I mentioned above. Probably some data too. The power is out because we’re on the edge of hurricane zeta. I’m okay, property is fine, dogs are huddled nearby.*
Thomas Brown is a history teacher and freelance writer. He runs The Swamp and is featured in Grunge, Quillette, Spiked, The Bipartisan Press, Human Events, among others. Follow him at his Medium page and argue with him on Twitter.
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