There is a lot of anxiety over what next Tuesday’s election results will mean for us. This week President Obama said some very interesting things to help settle the nation’s nerves and to unify us. He said the fate of the world is at stake in this vote – meaning the world will end if Donald Trump is elected. And the President told an audience in North Carolina that Donald Trump is pro Ku Klux Klan, anti black colleges, and will tear out Michelle’s White House garden on day one of taking over – meaning a Trump administration will reverse the Emancipation Proclamation as quickly as humanly possible. I don’t think Obama said anything about Trump taking away all the Halloween candy, but Jimmy Kimmel pretty much owns that anyway. To be fair, plenty of people have said the same kinds of things about a Clinton victory. One way or the other. It is going to be Hillamageddon or Trumpocalypse now.
So what will it look like the morning of the 9th? I guess that depends on your starting point. Politically speaking it is pretty obvious the direction the leadership of the country will try to take us if Clinton wins. It will be more of what we’ve seen the last 8 years. This will be true regardless of whether the House or Senate or both change hands. The question will be one of the damage Hillary has done to herself and whether or not it is extensive enough to have her arrive at her inauguration as a lame duck. This would be the best case scenario for the country in the event of a Clinton win because it may cause gridlock and force all parties to conduct real and honest negotiations to get anything done. (I’ve already spelled out some of the ways gridlock is helpful in my article Trump and My Wife and Kids) Since well over half the country believes we are going in the wrong direction this would probably mean a measure of comfort to those who think a Hillary win is the end of the world.
But what about Trumpocalypse? I said this subtly in my article Trump and Poll Dancers but I’m going to be more direct here. And you know the old saw about opinions so you can take or leave mine and no offense taken. Trump is going to win in a landslide. It isn’t going to be a Reagan size win, but it will be significant and it will shake the electoral map.
You may laugh at what I’m about to say but you should think about it first and see if it has merit. I had a revelation about a year ago, long before Trump was the nominee. It was this: the campaign of 2016 was going to be a reality show campaign. It would play out like a reality show and it would do so because America has become a reality show nation. Obama did as much as anyone to turn national politics into a reality show. He even made an appearance on a reality show, which, know it or not, legitimized reality shows to a point where being a reality show star and being President don’t look strange together. When Obama went on The Tonight Show and said the presidency is not a reality TV show, how utterly tone deaf was that?? Rich. Trump won the republican primary and will win the presidency for many reasons, but one of the biggest will be the environment his opponent’s husband spawned in the White House and the current president made into an art form. The American president wanna be star Bill Clinton and the president who may as well have installed a marquee spouting Now Starring over the door of the Oval Office, paved the way for a real star to take over that empty chair Romney wanted in 2012. And like it or not, Trump is a star.
The other reason Trump will win handily is equally ironic given the way the tech industry has lined up against him with the one notable exception, Peter Thiel. It is his understanding of social media, specifically Twitter. His tweets are the exact opposite of Obama and Clinton’s national tone deafness. Trump Tweets like an American. Please don’t misunderstand me, I am not saying this is necessarily a good thing. Twitter is mean and vulgar and unfiltered, but you have to understand that Twitter didn’t make anyone this way… You see the point? Trump sounds like Twitter and Twitter sounds like America. We are a much more mean spirited people than we’ve ever been and much of it is due to the way technology has created both false access to each other (facebook friend? how utterly MORONIC not just oxymoronic that term is) and immediate access (direct im-mediate = without mediation) to each other. It has coarsened us and contributed to a national bad mood that (like the reality show bit I explained above) makes it seem not unreasonable to have a vulgararian as our president.
OK, so I’m saying next Wednesday morning is going to be a shock to a lot of people. How should you handle it? Well if you supported Trump and thought he was going to win all along and you get the result you want, I suggest you are kind to those who fear Trumpocalypse. Their fears are not all unfounded. Trump is no savior. He’s no great prize. And be aware that nationalism has not always been good for a nation. Be kind to the opposition and be vigilant over the new leadership. The genius of America is really at stake in this election. The great American experiment in self government is being tested. It is We the People who must win and it is We the People who must govern ourselves. Trump can’t do this for us and it would be a disaster to expect him to.
Regardless of whether I am right or wrong I believe the best result is an awakened electorate determined to turn back the tide of self-centeredness and meanness and usurping of power by the few to rule over the many. For my part I am awake now. This campaign has exposed corruption and injustice like never before. It is really all laid bare. I am not discouraged, I am energized by it. I am because I know there are answers and I know that the gospel worked in more corrupt times than these and will work today. I am encouraged because when it is darker the contrast with the gospel is more clear. I am encouraged because I don’t have to make the gospel work, it works. I am encouraged because I get to carry good news and no matter what happens on Tuesday there are going to be a lot of people open to hearing some real good news.