I can’t help but be cynical and think the debates won’t end up mattering too much. Those of us people living on the prosperous edges of the country along the Acela corridor or California coast have too much faith in that facts and reason are convincing when they are not important to a lot of people. We also underestimate the narcissism of those voters on the left who’d rather risk the republic than vote for Clinton because they believe she’s just the lesser of two evils.
Note this is not factually true, but it doesn’t matter.
Tribalism and fear usually win out. Nice coastal liberals are usually shit in a fight and haven’t woken up that hardcore Trump supporters are a danger and need to be stopped with our votes and will. There’s no convincing of deplorable people. Their poverty and lost of an imagined past is no excuse. There’s no demographic blue wall and the belief that things will turn out okay and that your fellow citizens are smarter than that been has proven wrong over and over again in history and of late, look at what’s happened to the UK and Philippines.
You can call it the remnants of third world survivalism or being hood or whatever signifier you want, but I haven’t had enough cycles of generational safety and prosperity in my story to let my guard down and be complacent of such things. To realize that people will be violent bullies because bystanders do nothing. That such instability is a possible cycle of ruin that can spread like a virus.
You ever wonder why gun control can’t be solved? Because you have a fragmented coalition of people who otherwise outnumber those who won’t give an inch, but those devotees are united in an identity and narrative that no amount of facts or policy vision will convince. Only a more determined and united coalition can stop them. One cohesive identity group of only a sub-sect of gun owners continues to nullify lives in this country because they are one narrative and one voice versus a large vague cacophony of appalled people.
Clinton’s fragile coalition of American others have no binding narrative, nothing close to the Hope message of Obama or even Bush’s folksy everyman cloth. This has been the failure of the campaign, to confuse policy and facts with a binding narrative against a fascist mad man who has precisely that.
People like me care about policy points, facts, and numbers. The rest of this country, whether you think it is okay or not, needs a narrative of a villain and a hero. A national culture to believe in and to belong to. Only one candidate is offering that, and he’s offering it to people who would at best consider my existence as stealing their job and at worse who cheer on George Zimmerman. A page out of a very old playbook as America plays out its remix of Weimar Germany.
Some people are uncomfortable with calling so much of the country deplorable. I’m sure some of these people would be polite to me on the road and aren’t bloodthirsty racists in the put on a pointy white hat sense. I don’t question that some people supporting Trump as an expression of valid grievances with the government, in the way that even non-White Britons voted for the Brexit because of real unhappiness with the EU outside of immigration policy. However, going along with racists to get your piece on the agenda is the definition of complicity.
Those of us the other side, people who aren’t interested in voting, you are even more complicit. There’s a material threat here to fight. I use to like to say, at the end of the day this election isn’t really about you and me, it’s about the vulnerable. Not people like us who go to the farmers market to buy organic on weekends. I would actually venture to say I’m wrong, and he and his supporters are a material threat to all of us. History’s worst atrocities happened because of a determine and united group, even if smaller than the others, with a sense of aggrievement, false victimhood, and people to blame.
Give your money. Give your time. Go vote. Don’t give me some bullshit about living in a non-swing state, do you not realize there are other items on the ballet that can actually affect your life more than the the president? Get it together America.
PS: Also, maybe unlike a lot of you, I know what my life could be like if I wasn’t American. Maybe the American dream is more out-of-reach than it use to be, but there’s a reason why immigrants come here, want to become American, and succeed beyond our wildest dreams. If you don’t like how things are going, do something other than wax poetic about “not compromising for the revolution.” That is some bullshit excuse to avoid the hard work if what it actually takes to make change and you know it.