Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Two Nightmares

Here's a couple of nightmare scenarios for you to ponder on this fine Tuesday morning five weeks from election day 2016.

Nightmare number one.

The final polls before Election Day show Hillary Clinton with a sizable lead as Donald Trump's campaign begins to unravel in an orgy of incoherent ramblings and eleventh hour kitchen sink vitriol. Every major national poll has Clinton winning by 7-10 points, with an electoral college rout in the making. But as the votes are counted, the punditry class is shocked to discover that the polls were wrong. The race is razor thin close. Apparently, an awful lot of people lie to pollsters. The number one trending topic on Twitter and Facebook becomes the Wilder Effect. The nation is shocked to wake up on November 9th to discover that Donald Trump has pulled off the upset of the century, eeking out a 49%- 47% victory. When the results are announced, riots break out in almost every major city in the country as an alliance of Black Lives Matter, Occupy Wall Street, the AFL-CIO, and  La Rasa take to the streets. Accusations start to fly. The election was stolen! The Koch Brothers are blamed for rigging the machines. The basket of deplorables are accused of depressing the black vote. Barack Obama declares martial law to quell the violence.

Nightmare number two.

The final polls don't give much comfort to either side. Some show Clinton ahead, others give Trump the edge. An exhausted country trudges to the polls to get the whole thing over with. To the surprise of literally everyone, Hillary Clinton outperforms her poll numbers in record breaking fashion, winning a huge percentage of not only the black vote, but the Latino vote as well. The much feared angry white hick vote fails to materialize, especially in rural areas where Trump had polled so well. A broad coalition of minorities and women rise up to deliver Clinton a landslide popular vote victory of 56%-42% and an electoral college blowout. When the election is called at 10:30 eastern standard time, news reports of violence begins to spread. Trump supporters are convinced that the fix was in. They take to the streets and begin attacking gatherings of celebrating democrats in every major city in the country. The nation is horrified to see the violence spill into hotel ballrooms on all the television networks. Barack Obama orders the networks to go dark and declares martial law.

Unfortunately, neither of these scenarios seem far fetched to me. I live in a country where either of these outcomes seem plausible. We are so decided. The rhetoric has gotten so shrill. The distrust and even hatred across the aisle seems so intense. Either of these could happen.

Here's what I hope. All I want is for whoever wins, to win convincingly and for there to be no shocking result either way. Because if somebody comes out of nowhere in this race, the other side isn't going to accept the result. Confidence in the system is at an all time low. We better have a clean decision, or it could get ugly.