It’s been another normal few weeks in this presidential campaign, starting with the exhilarating first debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. In front of a captivated audience of millions, the two put on a clinic of political maneuvering and gamesmanship that us politics obsessives (or “wonks,” as I often refer to myself) will remember fondly for years. It was a privilege to watch the two most qualified people for president make beautiful music with each other, and as I watched each persuasively make their case for the office, I couldn’t help but feel like I missed an opportunity by not pursuing a career in politics. “This,” I thought, “is something I want to be a part of.” It was impossible to watch and not feel a deep sense of pride in our country, and watching the debate made me want to give back, which is why I’m writing this insightful politics post.
The so-called experts on CNN afterwards called it a “shitshow” and “a dumpster fire inside of a trainwreck,” but don’t listen to them. They are just unqualified talking heads who don’t understand the intricacies of high-level politics like Donald Trump, Joe Biden, and I do. While the debate was received poorly by those ignoramuses, I suspect in the future those same people will celebrate it as a landmark moment in politics, similar to Radiohead’s initially misunderstood classic album Kid A (which coincidentally just had its 20th anniversary, something I wish more people were writing about).
Unfortunately, after his inspiring debate performance, our president contracted COVID-19 somehow, news that got me in such a state of despair that I had to listen to songs like “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang and “Dancing in the Streets” by Martha and the Vandellas to try to salvage my mood. And yes, I’ll admit that during this time, I may have done some research into the expected fatality rate of people in Trump’s age group, but it was solely out of curiosity. I would never wish for our president to die because that just isn’t the kind of person I am.
Our beloved leader continues to trail by a large margin in the polls, a deficit that only increased after his avant-garde debate performance apparently turned off many voters. This is in line with my original prognostication and argument, which is that Trump, contrary to public opinion (at least at the time) is actually a comically easy candidate to beat. This is a president whose polling numbers decreased after he contracted a deadly virus. That’s the level he’s working at. When the leader of this country had a potentially fatal illness, the reaction of the majority of Americans was “yeah, he probably deserves to die.” I haven’t researched this fully, but I can’t imagine that historically correlates with success in elections.
The debate and COVID reaction illustrate why I’m voting for Joe Biden and am probably happier to do it than the average person: beyond simply politics, Trump is a corrosive public figure who brings out the worst in everybody on a moral/spiritual level. We shouldn’t be in a position where many of us hope the president dies and eagerly anticipate his funeral (again, I didn’t do this and never would, but I know of people who did). Politics has always been nasty and polarized to a degree, but I’d be surprised if it has ever been this bad when you factor in Fox News, the internet, and Trump’s personal behavior. While obviously Trump and his supporters are the driving source of toxicity, I’m also tired of the hysterical wing of the left, which frantically loses their mind over every action the president does, even when it’s clearly driven only by his own ego/stupidity and not by any kind of political scheming.
Just like many mistake Trump for an effective campaigner because he beat Hillary Clinton one time, they also overrate his ability as a political operative. I keep seeing talk that he could rig the election or refuse to give up power and I just don’t understand how anyone could think Trump is capable of that kind of action. Maybe it is easier to think he’s an expert con-man because it retains some myth of meritocracy, but the reality is that a lot of our country has been duped by a two-bit salesman who is barely aware of his own surroundings. When Trump loses badly, which is where I think this election is going, he’ll probably be annoying and a jackass, but I don’t see any reason to think he’ll be able to keep his grip on power and pull off some kind of coup.
So, I’m looking forward to this Election Day because it’ll be satisfying to see Trump lose and to have a hand in throwing him out of office. I strongly encourage others to do the same, though I understand that nobody enjoys being told who to vote for and this is a sore subject for many leftists. Biden isn’t perfect by any means, but I still don’t think there’s ever been a bigger difference between the two candidates and this will likely be the easiest vote of my entire life. I’m struggling to see how this decision is difficult for others, especially if you purport to care at all about other people, but I guess that’s their business — I’m not going to try to sway anyone politically since I know it’s a waste of time.
It’s possible I’m too much of a realist and don’t have big enough expectations for politicians. I don’t see voting as some grand act of democracy where the candidate needs to “earn” my vote with policies I 100% agree with. I’m going to drive to a local high school, fill out some bubbles for the candidates I think are the least ruinous, get a sticker, and then move on with the rest of my day. I’m not signing my soul over to Joe Biden, or even showing complete approval of him. But in the unideal world we live in where the majority of people clearly don’t share a lot of my political views, I’m fine making a simple and obvious altruistic choice. A Biden win won’t fix everything, or probably even most things, but it’ll certainly make day-to-day life better than it is right now for the vast majority of people.