The Pointlessness of Following Politics

Hillary Clinton - PoliticsIt’s not a happy time to be a Democrat. It still looks like Hillary Clinton will be the next president. But FiveThirtyEight gives Trump a 30.3 percent chance of winning if the election were held today. Real Clear Politics now has Clinton up by only 2.2 percentage points in both a two-way and four-way race. In absolute terms, this is actually good news. But it’s much worse than things were even a week ago when Trump looked like he was heading for a devastating loss. The whole thing just drives home the fact that those in the mushy middle might as well be random number generators.

It really doesn’t matter that James Comey’s letter last week said nothing. How are the know-nothings to decide on who to vote for other than which candidate is currently getting bad press? If the vote had been right after the Trump “sex tape” was released, Clinton would have won big. Now that there is talk of some email that no one has looked at that might have something to do with something that might conceivably be important, people swing in the opposite direction.

November Surprise

Politics is maddening. We used to talk about the October Surprise. Those were the days! Now the attention span of the American voter is so short, it is really the November Surprise. Or perhaps: the Day Before Election Day surprise. What nonsense this all is.

Donald Trump - PoliticsNow I should be clear: I don’t think that Clinton voters are turning and running. I suspect we are just seeing a lot of queasy Republicans deciding that Donald Trump is the safe choice. It’s amazing to think about. Even if Clinton were as corrupt as the right wing media make her out, Trump is far more corrupt. Trump has benefited from the fact that he is so publicly vile that it isn’t even considered newsworthy to discuss.

This election has affected me in a profound way. It isn’t about Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. It’s just become so clear that the electorate is made up of three pieces. First there are the dependable Democrats. Second there are the dependable Republicans. Third there are the people in the center who really will make up their minds based upon whether their favorite sports team won the weekend before. If you couldn’t make up your mind between Clinton and Trump a month ago, you really are a nitwit. But maybe we who follow politics closely are nitwits in a different way.

Why Follow Politics?

It doesn’t really matter to me in the sense that I largely understood this dynamic before. But it makes me wonder why I follow politics. There really is nothing to it that bears attention. Jesus could come on national television and say, “Hillary Clinton is innocent of all the charges you are lobbing at her.” And you know what would happen: all the conservative Christians would renounce their faith and vote for Trump. There is nothing really to talk about.

I think I should be more like Godbole in A Passage to India. When asked if he cares what happens to Aziz, Godbole replies, “Yes, but it is of no consequence if I care or do not care. The outcome is already decided.” Maybe the people of Ohio who vote based on how the Steelers do against the Ravens next weekend are the enlightened ones.

Afterword

The good news, however, is that that it still looks like Clinton will win. And it looks like the Democrats will take the Senate. All Americans should be glad at least that the the White House and Senate won’t be split. Otherwise, the Republicans in the Senate would surely cause a constitutional crisis. But as Godbole said, “The outcome is already decided.” I do, however, think you all should vote by the end of the day on 8 November. Think of it as part of the universe’s plan.