At the earliest, you’ll read this Wednesday afternoon, nearly 24 hours after polls closed in Florida. As I write this on Tuesday, pundits are saying “this is gonna be a long night” a lot and telling folks what most everyone believed going into the final day of election season: We’re won't know who wins the presidential election before the sun comes up Wednesday.
In my mind, I’m wondering if we’ll have a definitive answer by the time the deadline for next week’s issue rolls around. In some ways, I don’t want to ever find out.
In the final weeks leading to Nov. 3, another thing the country already knew somehow became even more explicitly clear: American politics are scary as hell.
Sure, in the Bay area races for the U.S. Congress, Charlie Crist and Kathy Castor handily defeated Republican opponents who represented some of the worst aspects of the new GOP. Crist’s challenger Anna Paulina Luna ran a campaign that was filled with promotional pictures of her holding semi automatics in front of American flags. Christine Quinn—who took just 39% of the vote compared to Castor’s 60%—came under fire for using hashtags related to QAnon.
QAnon is a conspiracy theory that claims the “deep state”—which QAnon claims runs pedophilia and sex trafficking rings—works against President Trump. The president is supposedly fighting against those forces of evil.
People believe those lies. And that’s what frightens me the most. Over the last four years, Trump has lied more than any president in my lifetime and probably yours. And for the most part, his base, and those who voted for him in 2016 and 2020 were cool with it.
You know the basic moral arguments about kids in cages. History undoubtedly affirms the rights of Black Lives Matter protesters to assemble. A majority of the country—even Trump voters—knows that the president is a bad person and someone who endangers the lives of Black, brown and queer Americans. When it comes to his lack of a plan to combat the spread of coronavirus, Trump literally endangers everyone regardless of race. There isn’t enough room here to list a fraction of the empty promises and ways Trump’s ascension to the White House has hurt most of you.
But still, enough voters in the U.S. seemingly don’t care enough. As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 67 million people cast ballots that basically lookedat all those lies—and all the hate and division Trump's helped create—and replied, "meh, but... " And as evidenced by the nail-biting drama in election coverage, Democratic leadership still hasn’t figured out how to run a candidate who energizes the party the way Obama did. But at least the gains on everyone’s stock portfolios will be taxed at rates everyone likes, amirite?
So as Tuesday turns into Wednesday—and as you perhaps read this on Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday, with uncertainty perhaps still being the order of the day, I’d like to say that I’m as worried and scared as the rest of you. And that’s OK. I don’t know what happens next, but I know the fight doesn’t go anywhere. There’s still a lot of change left to work for. Don’t stop now.
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