I know I said I wasn’t going to talk about the election, but here I go again, talking about everyone’s favorite emotional trigger.
Twitter exploded Friday night and Saturday with a new controversy over Trump saying some terrible stuff about women in a video from 2005.
My first reaction: I guess I’m confused. Didn’t everyone already know Trump was a horrible person and still nominated him for president? I mean, it wasn’t a secret. His very un-electability is exactly what appeals to his supporters.
So I guess I’m wondering why anyone (by which I mean all the people talking up the scandal on Twitter) thinks this scandal will suddenly be the one that brings him down.
If this scandal does sink Trump, it will give us a great indication of just how little America pays attention to the candidates prior to October. Because, I mean, seriously, this should not have been a surprise to anyone. Indeed, the general consensus among Trump supporters seems to go something like, “Yeah? So?”
By the way, WikiLeaks dropped a counter-scandal about Clinton (arguably, one considerably more substantive) this weekend, too, but it’s been pretty amusing to see how little traction it’s getting. One can imagine Julian Assange jumping up and down, wildly waving his arms around, screaming, “Look at this juicy dirt on Clinton! We worked really hard on getting this you guys! Guys? Anyone?” I see it pop up occasionally in a headline, but it’s typically buried in an avalanche of hundreds of Trump scandal headlines.
Anyway, many Twitter folks are calling for Trump to “step aside” or “step down,” but he can’t at this point. At least here in Virginia, he’s already on the ballot, and people have already submitted absentee
ballots votes. If by some chance Trump withdraws, there would essentially be no Republican candidate, as whoever the party replaces him with would probably have to be a write-in with roughly zero chance of winning.
By the way, here’s a couple of nightmare scenarios to ponder: Trump wins the election and then has to resign or is impeached. Or, Trump withdraws, leaving Mike Pence at the top of the ticket, and Pence wins the election in a landslide because he’s more likable than Clinton. Either way, Mike Pence becomes president. Ultra conservative, pro-life, evolution-denying Mike Pence. If that happens, I’ll be directing a very sarcastic slow golf clap toward the American people. “Yay! We got rid of Trump! Oh, wait…”
Humor aside, I’m genuinely worried that we might be in the initial stages of an American civil war. All those Trump supporters (and they are not just a tiny fringe group) are not going to quietly accept a loss to the political establishment (both Republican and Democrat). They’re going to feel extremely disenfranchised (again!), and the only question is how they’re going to respond. They’ve been simmering since 2008.
One last thought: It’s really disturbing to see the number of people who believe that someone’s voting choice is equivalent to a personal attack. For example, I saw someone on Twitter have a melt down because someone they knew was voting for Trump, and felt personally insulted by it. I’ve seen it more than once, actually. I humbly submit that voting isn’t supposed to be like that. Just because you vote one way or the other doesn’t necessarily mean you have the same beliefs as the candidate. Given that we only have two viable choices, it’s statistically unlikely that anyone will have all of the same beliefs as either candidate. We have to pick out maybe one or two things in a candidate’s platform to agree or disagree with and hope for the best.
Okay one other last thought: I think one of the basic problems with political discourse in this country is the constant framing of one candidate as representing the destruction of a way of life (on Twitter, cable news, campaign ads, etc.). People believe that stuff, and they don’t forget. It’s going to have long-term consequences. People out there actually believe Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will destroy everything they know and love about their country. People on the losing side of these elections are increasingly going to get hostile about losing, thinking they’re in real danger, and eventually that hostility is going to turn into something bad. Protests in the streets. Riots, even. Police confrontations on a massive scale. Military involvement. That’s kinda how everything started in Egypt, Libya, and Syria.
Hopefully I’m just being paranoid and pessimistic.
Have fun watching the debate! Ahem, I mean, “debate.”