I did my usual voting routine and went to my local polling place between 2:00 pm and 3:00. I was voter #763. In 2008 I was voter #1427 at 2:00 pm and in 2012 I was voter #1425 at 3:00 pm. There was no wait and only five of the 25 voting stations were occupied when I went in. I was in and out in five minutes...tops.
I have no doubt that a significant reason for such a large gap between now and 2012 is due to early voting. This is the first year that Minnesotans can vote by absentee ballot for any reason and it appears they have done so in record numbers. Almost 50% down is a big number however. I strongly doubt all of that is because of early voting and since it is a beautiful day the weather is not a factor. And unlike 2012 when reelecting Obama and rejecting an anti-gay marriage amendment motivated Democrats to turn out, the only ballot initiative this year is a constitutional amendment to put legislators' pay in the hands of a citizen panel(meh).
My precinct went for Obama by 2 to 1 in 2012 and I have no doubt that Hillarye will win it this year. But if turnout is severely depressed in this solidly Democratic precinct, that may be bad news for Hillary. It's also possible that Republicans in my precinct have gone "NeverTrump" and stayed home.
We'll have to wait and see when the officiaql numbers come out in the next few days.
This afternoon I will go to my local polling place and complete the mark next to Donald Trump's name. I can't quite get to the point where I can say I'm voting "for" Trump, but I can easily say what I'm voting against today.
I'm voting against a lazy, corrupt, and truly despicable national media that had a rollicking good time building Trump up in the primaries and then did everything they could to tear him down after he got the nomination. If Clinton wins, and I think she probably will, it will because the MSM collectively dragged her across the finish line. The revulsion and hatred directed at them is not the product of Trump whipping up the masses, the masses can see for themselves how in the tank the press is for Hillary. It's been an awesome party of the celebrity "journalists" and their editors and executives, but no matter who wins today there will be one hell of a hangover to deal with tomorrow.
I'm voting against a culture of corruption in Washington DC that passes 2000 page bills that were hashed out in backroom deals between aides and lobbyists and voted on before anybody had a chance to read them. A culture of corruption that hands both lawmaking and judicial review to faceless panels and commissions that citizens don't even see let alone vote for.
I'm voting against a culture of corruption that gives a wink and a nod to a former president getting $17 million to be an "honorary chairman" of an international multi-billion dollar, for-profit school company while his spouse is the United States Secretary of State. A culture that shrugs as the obvious pay-to-play allegations pile up and the Clinton's get richer and richer. The Clintons have blown past unseemly in turning graft into an art form.
I'm voting against all of the hypocrites who screamed bloody murder over Iraq, who held Bush and America to the standard of "You break it, you bought it" on Iraq, and then slithered away when Clinton and Obama broke Libya and let it become a humanitarian disaster.
I'm voting against a party and foreign policy establishment that casually tossed aside the chance for lasting political and military victory in Iraq and let that nation become a humanitarian disaster as well.
The bills are coming due for Obama's incompetence and fecklessness. Hillary will simply double down on them. I don't know that Trump will do better, but I do know that if he wins the news media will once again discover their power to hold politicians accountable instead of covering up for them. In fact, I'm quite certain that they will not just be unfair to Trump, they will be insufferable. I'll take that over four more years of lies and corruption. I'm voting against that.
Whatever happens, here's hoping for an election day free from terrorist attacks and bitter controversies.
This election was always about one over-riding issue under which all are subsumed. That issue is the corruption and virtual dissolution of our democratic republic by elites.
This election was and is about the rule of elites over the people, something we have all seen in full bloom in the WikiLeaks releases.
This rule by elites is, to say the least, very far gone, encompassing the media, Hollywood, the academy, Wall Street, Silicon Valley, much of corporate leadership, an unfortunate percentage of the religious establishment, both political parties to one degree or another, and just about every lever of power available in our society—except, perhaps, "We, the people..."
If it is not stopped now, it may never be.
I don't know about that last sentence, but he sums up my attitude toward what are supposed to be America's leaders.
The last year has seen a lot of ink and pixels devoted to figuring out why people support Donald Trump. I think no other candidate's backers have been scrutinized as intensely, in fact I don't think it's even close. They have been described as angry, or crazy, or fearful, or racist or all of that and more in some articles. This week James Kirchick argues at Tablet Magazine that they are just not very nice people.
It is preposterous to think that Trump supporters are created by economic or regional characteristics. The rural white working-class may be more susceptible to Trumpism than most people, but I doubt that preference is inherent. Hispanics are barred, but that’s an arbitrary, circumstantial ruling. I know lots of Hispanics who are born Trumpkins and many others who would support Trump tomorrow morning if given an opening to do so. Trumpism has nothing to do with class, ethnicity, or even gender. It appeals to a certain type of mind.
Kirchick has decided that "personal integrity," or more precisely the lack of it, is what defines the Trump supporter. He goes on to quote Dorothy Thompson on people who supported National Socialism in the 1930s and tries to make the case that Trump supporters today are of a similar mindset:
Ask yourself: Among the men you know who support Trump, are they unlikely to be bothered by their candidate’s lecherous musings and admitted sexual predation because they view women in a similarly odious fashion? As for the women who support Trump: Are they the kind who gravitate toward abusive men? Is the uncle or work colleague who always puts an emphasis on the president’s middle name backing Trump? “Kind, good, happy, gentlemanly, secure people never go Nazi,” Thompson observed. “But the frustrated and humiliated intellectual, the rich and scared speculator, the spoiled son, the labor tyrant, the fellow who has achieved success by smelling out the wind of success—they would all go Nazi in a crisis.” Much the same can be said of those who go Trump.
It's an interesting word for this election cycle, and a concept that has been widely used as a mallet against Trump and his supporters. As in "How can you vote for someone with such a lack of integrity?" Well, there's certainly some truth there, but a disappointed and cynical public has decided that integrity doesn't matter anymore, at least in national politics. It may even be a characteristic of a chump. And if you think this is just a Republican or Trump thing you're wrong. Democrats are being just as willfully blind to Clinton's just as serious flaws as well.
"Trump is a liar." Who cares anymore? The president looked America in the eye more than 30 times and deliberately lied to us that we could keep our health insurance plans and our doctors when he knew that Obamacare would impose mandates that would make that impossible. Hillary has lied so many times about her email server, besides so many other things, that it's tough to keep track. Lying has become a way of life for our political elites. People have watched the lies used to savage effect on decent politicians(Romney/McCain) with no damage to the liars and it's not surprising if the other side has decided that they don't care about lying as long as the candidate is lying for them.
"Trump is vulgar towards women and a misogynist." Some people have discounted that, at least partly, due to the media hysteria in presenting the stories. But I have no doubt that some people are shrugging because they aren't going to be lectured about propriety toward women by a bunch of assholes who unwaveringly support Bill Clinton and viciously attack his accusers. Why should they maintain their integrity on that issue when Democrats tossed theirs away 20 years ago and have never looked back?
"Trump will have a reckless foreign policy." More reckless than declaring Iraq a "success" and then walking away only to watch as it fell apart and ISIS rose? More reckless than taking out Gaddafi and leaving a bloody mess of terrorists in his place? More reckless than siding with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt? More reckless than advocating a no-fly zone in Syria and therefore a likely conflict with Russia?
I could go on with a lot more, including all sorts of bad precedents set by Mr. "I've got a pen, and I've got a phone." If Trump wins Democrats will howl about his unilateral actions, but they have made that bed themselves. In fact, in important ways Democrats, their media allies, and the Republican establishment have created Donald Trump the candidate. We are witnessing a lack of integrity being met by lack of integrity on a massive scale. Fire fighting fire as they say.
James Kirchick wants to blame Trump supporters for a lack of integrity while ignoring his own. The truth is that there is precious little integrity left when it comes to politics this year, from the presidential candidates to the parties to the press to the voters themselves.
We will survive this election, but I'm worried that this is a symptom of an even deeper lack of integrity that is hollowing out our society. There's a growing lack of respect for truth and honesty when it butts up against our preferred politics and ideology. There's a growing lack of respect for each other when we are on opposite sides of issues. None of that is exactly new in American politics, but I don't believe I have ever seen it on this scale. I fear we have reached a tipping point in our politics akin total war, where all is fair.
“This is not about Huma’s e-mails,” a surrogate told me. “It’s about the e-mails generally. There’s a lot of things that got us to this point. But if Weiner hadn’t taken pictures of his weiner, we wouldn’t be in this thing.”
If the Clinton surrogate had stopped at “It’s about the e-mails generally" I might hold out some hope that the Clinton camp is capable of learning the real lesson of the email scandal, that she never should have needed to hide her emails from scrutiny on a private server in the first place. But the last sentence in the quote tells the real tale. That if Weiner hadn't screwed up again they would have gotten away with it legally and politically.
One week to election day 2016. This campaign cycle is the main reason it has been so quiet for so long around here. Like millions of Americans I have struggled to make sense of the news and events of the last 6 months or so. Every time I've thought I had figured a few things out the ground has shifted and I've gone back to square one before I could get a blog post out. Other things, good things, have been happening as well, but this extraordinary election has basically bottled up my writing. And truth be told, I've been avoiding some things I need to come to grips with regarding America and some of my fellow citizens.
I have a bad feeling about the next week. I have a bad feeling about the week after that too. Hell, I have a bad feeling about a lot of things and for as far as I can see. But the only thing I am certain about is the bad feeling won't go away after next Tuesday. While it will resolve some important uncertainties, it will create significant others in the process.
Will Trump and his supporters accept the results if Crooked Hillary wins? Will the people who have spent the last year demonizing him as the next coming of Hitler accept the results if Trump wins? Most years I would ask, 'What else are you going to do?" This year I'm afraid of the answer I would get. Too many people are out there itching for not just a fight, but a war, and they are not limited to a handful of nuts in the radical coffee house or the militia woods. No, I don't know any of them personally, but I'm seeing a lot more talk of violence in places that used to be free of such rhetoric. The ugly mood and air of violence are making it into mainstream opinion columns now. At least one columnist is actually stoking things up.
Here's Leonard Pitts, Jr. in his nationally syndicated column last week:
It is written, in other words, on an average day in the pest-ridden, plague-infected swamp of rumor, rancor, conspiracy and flat-out bollocks that now counts as Republican political discourse. More to the point, it is written out of concern over what and how the country will be after next week’s election.
So yeah, I don’t want the GOP defeated.
I want it immolated.
I want it razed to the foundation, reduced to a moonscape, left unlivable even for cockroaches, much less newts. I want it treated like boot heels treat ants and furnaces treat ice cubes, treated like a middle school basketball team playing the ’71-’72 Lakers.
Defeat is not enough. Let there be humiliation. Let there be pain.
You can read it in full context at the link, but basically somebody sent him a stupid email and some people behaved badly towards Obama on the internet. Oh, and Trump. This isn't the first time Pitts has penned an outrageous column and it won't be the last. And I might be able to come up with a similar rant by a nationally syndicated columnist on the right. But I think that sort of indulgence is particularly dangerous this year.
I have a bad feeling about the economy and stock markets as well. In fact, I've moved to cash in my IRAs and my dad has too with the exception of some guaranteed return funds he has through TIAA. Neither of us are in the mood to take the hit we took eight years ago and there's too much uncertainty and volatility these days, in the US and around the world. With some caveats, I'm optimistic for the US economy in the long-term. In the short-term I think there is very little upside and lots of potential downside in the markets. Besides the election and terrorist attacks to disrupt it, there is the probable belt tightening in retail spending as some consumers run out of room to avoid health care cost increases, potentially dangerous weakness in the European financial system, Middle East instability and opportunity for miscalculation between the US, Turkey, Russia, and Iran, similar opportunities for miscalculation in Pacific Asia, and doubts about China's economy. I could cite more, but I think that's enough for now. That's why I have moved what I can to cash in the short-term.
Another source of unease to me is the sense that as a society we have tipped into a sort on post-integrity status. Many of our important institutions no longer care about the truth or are run by, frankly, incompetent fools who are not held accountable. I have always had the feeling that no matter what bad thing happened to us as a country, we are rich enough and strong enough, and our institutions are trusted enough, that we can weather the storm. I'm not so sure about that anymore.