It’s Almost Over

Written By Ryan Stancil

Posted October 11, 2016

It’s not too different from watching a NASCAR race in the hopes that there will be a fiery crash. At least, that was how I justified turning on Sunday night’s presidential debate instead of finishing the last few episodes of Luke Cage.

But like all train wrecks, there comes a point where you find yourself somewhere between stunned disbelief and dispirited acceptance of the reality in front of you, wondering how you got there and if there’s any going back.

That’s really been the narrative for the majority of this election cycle, from Jeb Bush’s inability to shake the spectre of his brother’s presidency all the way to the in-progress derailing of Donald Trump’s campaign and the related fallout in the most recent debate.

And while I’ll fully admit to finding the whole thing entertaining in the same way B-movies from the 1970s are, the fact that things have reached this point just shows how much the word ‘theatre’ applies in the term ‘political theatre’.

At Least Hillary Isn’t Trump. At Least Trump Isn’t ISIS.

You’ve no doubt at least heard about the audio of sexually-charged comments Donald Trump made back in 2005 if you haven’t heard the audio itself. When confronted about it on the debate stage, he quickly stated that he apologized for the remark, dismissed it as “locker room talk”, and jabbered his way through a tangent on ISIS with the finesse of a nervous high-schooler on his first date.

In a roundabout way, you could say he admitted fault as well as someone like him could, but it ultimately shouldn’t matter what he said because the terrorists are still out there! That he managed to squeeze that in between the personal volleys at his opponent was admittedly impressive.

On the other side of the stage, Hillary Clinton spent as much time speaking about her policies as she did illustrating the ways in which she isn’t Donald Trump. At times she responded to claims he made against her with personal attacks of her own.

This all happened in front of an audience of undecided voters, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that 90-minute display of punch/counter-punch did nothing more for those people than cause them to shake their heads and reach for the first bottle they could find once the cameras stopped rolling.

That is to say, I don’t think either candidate did much to inspire what few undecided voters remain.

Meanwhile, Republicans are scrambling for the exits in droves, leaving Trump with only his die-hard supporters and people who are in too deep to do anything but go down with the ship left to prop him up.

Hillary, on the other hand, still hasn’t convinced huge swaths of people — like Bernie Sanders’ supporters and independents who are tired of career politicians — that she’s worth paying attention to for any reason other than not being her opponent. That she isn’t trump is the main argument I see her most ardent supporters making online when it comes to browbeating the unconvinced as to why she “deserves” their vote.

Some of those who are uncommitted have resolved to vote third party as a result, while others are simply going to stay home and let things play out however they may.

Remembered for All the Wrong Reasons

You’ll get little argument from me that this election is a historical one, but I think the fact that it has largely been a portrait of the dysfunction of the modern American election process will ultimately overshadow most other aspects of it. At least until we have to watch this movie again in another four years.

The reality of it all is that, as America becomes more divided, the two major parties will continue playing the Great Game for the entertainment of their constituents. The rest of us are just along for the ride whether we like it or not.

The best we can do is keep aware and steer clear while doing everything possible to ensure that as little mud as possible gets on us when it starts flying.

Keep your eyes open,

Ryan Stancil