Sunday, October 16, 2016

Election 2016 Overview - 23 or so days to go.

Okay, so the final Presidential debate is on Wednesday.  As of today we're roughly three weeks and a couple days away from the upcoming election.  There's a bit to digest here but I"ll try ot keep it brief.

First, let's look at Donald Trump, since he seems hellbent on taking up all the damn oxygen in the room.  After a somewhat accusatory performance in the second debate where we later learned his refusal to answer questions was an actual strategy and the most notable thing was his sniffling every minute that has a lot of people debating whether he is ill, dealing with allergies (it's likely someone like the Donald isn't used to our Midwestern allergies) or that he was snorting some shit beforehand he then seemed to go downward. 

In post 2nsd debate appearances Trump has attacked Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, accused the RNC of possibly rigging the election against him, doubled down on his claim that his political opponent Hillary Clinton should be in jail, and implied that the women claiming he sexually harassed or sexually assaulted them in the past were lying because they weren't attractive enough for him to assault.  Add to this claims on a rally last Thursday that "global elites" are trying to rig the election against him; a claim that has your average person wondering what the hell he's going on about but appeals to his base, especially the white supremacists whom Trump for the most part refused to disavow (both Donald Jr. and Eric went on white nationalist radio shows for their dad even after he supposedly disavowed David Duke a few months back). 

What has emerged here in the days since Trump tweeted that "the shackles have been taken off him" is his embrace of possible fascist leanings in his rallies as he riles up his base, some of whom are now hoping for a coup if Trump loses and are getting increasingly hostile towards the media while seeing themselves and their candidate (a supposed billionaire media celebrity who basically  got a shit ton of free publicity in the primary race).  Between his claims to want to lock up political opponents (something that seems more like third world dictatorships than the U.S.) and his denial that he sexually assaulted women even though he has been captured on tape claiming that he may have kissed women against their will and walked into the dressing room of the pageants he used to own while the contestants were near naked, if not totally naked (some of them may have been underage). 

Meanwhile Trump's base has suffered some bleeding but he's still managing to draw people to his rallies.  This includes the conservative Christians (you know, the fundamentalist/evangelical/charismatic folks) who have said we should forgive Donald and that while they wouldn't want him teaching Sunday School or going after their daughters, they still support him.  Despite proving again that much of the religious right has less to do with morality (despite sometimes claiming to be morally superior) and just view Trump as a useful idiot to force their interpretation of their faith onto others (just like Trump views them as useful idiots to get him into office), the fact they're sticking by Trump  (though would cry bloody murder about a lack of character if a Democrat did the same thing) shows just how mercenary they are when it comes to seeking perceived access to power and how angry they are over nearly eight years of not getting everything they want.

Is what I just painted scary?  Yes.  However, Trump has to go beyond his base if he wants to win next month.  And while his performances in the two debates have appeased his base, they have done little to convince those on the fence that he's President material.  Also, while the leaked Access Hollywood tape hasn't caused mass defections from his base, it has caused some of the people that weren't all in for Trump to back away from him, especially among women.  While there are some who still support him while saying he "doesn't have the temperament to be President," others who may have been kind of willing to support Trump but were uneasy with the hatefulness of his rhetoric found this to be too much.

As for former Secretary of State Clinton, she's been busy with debate prep, with just a couple of appearances (including one most recently, with Al Gore,who was vice president under her husband's term).  She's been letting surrogates make the case for her for the most part.  Yes, the Wikileaks leaked e-mails have made some dents but when dealing with a media obsessed with sexual scandals, the news has been buried somewhat compared to the over a dozen women who have said Trump either sexually harassed or sexually assault them since the leaked tape broke nine days ago. 

So does that mean, as the opening skit of Saturday Night Live suggested last night, that it's all over for Trump?  I wouldn't say that so quickly,  For starters there's still Wednesday's debate its possible that Trump's lowered expectations now means just not acting batshit fucking crazy could be seen as a victory.  Also, there is a chance for another October surprise out of Wikileaks e-mails that could hurt Clinton at the last minute. 

However, even though there is a chance these things could occur we also have to look at Trump's  actions over the past week.  Given that he's now attacked not just Clinton but his own party in the past week and has doubled down on claims that are raw meat to his supporters but turn off a lot of people who aren't in his camp, I have to say it's possible that Donald Trump could win the election but at this point it's even less likely than it was just a few days ago.

That doesn't mean that people should rest on their laurels and think Clinton will automatically win.  Trump supporters are already saying they plan to "monitor polls" in case of anything "illegal," an action that seems to look more like voter intimidation - especially in urban areas -than any real concern over the election.  Add to that Trump's hint that he might not accept the results of this election and it's apparent that this election and the stress and polarization springing form it, is far from over.

The election is still 23 or so days away as I type this.  While we have an idea who will likely win the election, it still requires people to get out there and vote as well as spread the word and make sure people aren't apathetic over what may seem to be a lack of selection.  Yes, some are predicting that the election's end and the lame duck period for Obama will be a great Holiday present but if there are challenges and Trump decides his damn ego is more important than the country then the scary ass bumpy as hell ride could continue well into the Holiday season. 

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