I was up late–for me, which isn’t all that late– watching the returns. I went to bed long before the overall results were known. This morning, I need time to process the results, to see what I think the votes–and the games that were played and the lies that were told and the money that was raised and spent– are telling us.
We know some things, of course.
To paraphrase a Texas pundit, this wasn’t a persuasion election. It was a mobilization election. Americans are as polarized as I have ever seen them; the question was never how to appeal to the undecideds, because there weren’t enough of them to matter. The question was whether the majorities of Americans who have steadfastly disapproved of President Trump would register that displeasure in sufficient numbers to constitute the hoped-for “blue wave.”
The people I know personally–Republican and Democrat alike–understood what was at stake, and they lined up at the polls as soon as early voting began. For their part, Trump voters have enthusiastically embraced the party’s rejection of everything America stands for. Fear and bigotry predicted their presence at the the polls.
Those were the givens.
What we didn’t know and couldn’t predict was whether the enormous numbers of Americans who don’t follow politics and rarely bother to vote would be more engaged this time around. We didn’t know and couldn’t predict how many votes Democrats would lose to Republicans’ vote suppression, gerrymandering, fear-mongering and race-baiting. We hoped but couldn’t know whether young voters would finally begin to turn out, or whether the polls were more accurate than in 2016.
We hypothesized–but couldn’t know for sure–that increased turnout would give us that hoped-for “blue wave.”
To say that I have been a basket case leading up to yesterday would be an understatement. But I certainly wasn’t alone. (Two of my sons sent me this SNL clip, which they said was an accurate portrayal …)
I think it is fair to say that the huge blue wave I wanted didn’t materialize.When I went to bed last night, the results were far more mixed and ambiguous than I had hoped.
It seems inconceivable to me that the revulsion that I (and everyone I know) feel for Trump and his intentional appeals to the most despicable elements of our society wouldn’t manifest itself in the election results. I thought the enormous increase in turnout–and the polls– were confirmation of my assumption.
The data is still coming in. I need to examine it, and determine just how precarious our situation is, and just how much danger the voters in our stubbornly Red states pose to what used to be America.