During the past few weeks I’ve been overcome by a near smothering wave of election fatigue, which includes high levels of nausea and despair. This campaign has been going on for nearly two years and at a cost that could approach $7 billion, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That’s bigger than the annual GNP of dozens of individual countries and about on par with annual output in countries like Guinea, Moldov and Tajikistan. It’s also about six times higher than what the U.S. spends annually on Education and Social Services in the foreign aid budget.
And for what? Tomorrow the country will elect two of the most unpopular candidates in modern history with favorability ratings of -19.2 percent for Trump and Hillary, rapidly closing the gap, at -13.8 percent. At this point it’s hard to care who wins the election, I just want it to be over with. In my view, Donald Trump (in conjunction with a segment of his extreme supporters) poses a far bigger short-term risk to this country whereas Hillary Clinton (and her foreign policy cabal) poses a bigger short-term risk to the world.
About the best reason I can think of to vote for Trump — and I’ve heard this a lot from citizens of foreign countries who’ve been on the receiving end of the U.S. bayonet and have had to endure American-backed dictatorships — is that we deserve a taste of our own medicine. Probably the best reason to vote for Hillary is that the coalition of people who support her at the grassroots, given the alternative, is more far appealing than the Trump mob.
This must be tempered by the fact that Hillary will almost certainly sell out her base; the only people who are going to be happy with her performance in office are the oligarchs who have paid for her campaign. It’s quite striking that the stock market went into a week-plus free fall after the FBI’s pathetic director, James Comey, announced the Bureau would be reviewing new email evidence and then recovered (beginning with futures trading last night) after he announced the FBI stood by its position in July when it opted not to indict her. If Hillary wins tomorrow champagne bottles are going to be popping for weeks on Wall Street.
And the odds are strong that Hillary is going to win tomorrow. Despite being perhaps the weakest Democratic nominee of modern times — with the possible exception of Hubert Humphrey, who lost to Nixon Trump’s path is virtually impossible because you can’t win office in 2016 — nor should you — if you offend huge numbers of women, Latinos, African-Americans, Muslims and on and on. The country is multicultural, the GOP is not.
My prediction — which is based on nothing more than a guess, like everyone else, and a general feeling that the Trump wave crested without ever surpassing Hillary — is that Clinton wins by a few points and support for the third party candidates falls off. This is not an endorsement of Hillary, though I did support her, kind of, against Obama in 2008. Back then I wrote:
I still don’t know what he [Obama] really stands for and fear that he’d be a cautious, middle-of-the-road president who’d disappoint his followers. Hillary Clinton is meaner and tougher and that in some ways seems preferable to Obama’s naïve calls for bipartisanship. Also, you know from the get-go what Hillary is all about. Hence, it’s possible to skip the phases of betrayal and disillusionment and go straight to opposition, which is almost always the best place to be in American politics.
In 2016, it’s not just the best place, it’s the only place, no matter who wins tomorrow.