Four years ago, I wrote about the heartbreak of the 2016 election. Somehow, I’d managed to garner some hope last time, even though a big part of me was already sure what the results would be. Maybe I’m too cynical, or maybe I’m too realist. I’ve always been one of those “um, the glass is half empty AND half full…” people. And even though I hoped in 2016, I knew what was going to happen. This election? I didn’t even bring hope into it.
Sure, I voted. And yeah, I’ve worn my F*ck Trump lipstick every day for the last week. I stayed up until 11pm watching the election coverage, just like last time. Then I slept poorly, woke up at 5:50 to check the results again, and eventually gave up trying to go back to sleep. Instead, I’m having a very indulgent breakfast of pumpkin muffins with butter or Nutella and a large mug of coffee. Nothing is decided yet, and it doesn’t look like it will be for days, but I can already feel things slipping back into Trumpland, and it’s depressing.
So maybe you’ll tell me to keep my hopes up, to stay positive, or point out that there are promising signs for Biden. But as I’ve said to several friends before, I won’t believe it unless it actually happens. I think we’re doomed for another four years.
And guys? This is not because I’m anti-Republican. Sure, I’m on the more liberal side of the fence in most things, but like I said in the post I linked out to, there are Republicans that I respect and even ones that I’ve voted for in rare elections. (Not presidential – but I vote during all the times I can, on all the local and national races.) I can also see that there is some good coming out of this election. In 2016, Clinton won the popular vote 65.8 million to 62.9 million. As of when I’m writing this (7:30am on the 4th), the current popular vote stands at 69.1 million (Biden) to 66.8 million (Trump). Without even all the ballots counted, 7.2 million more votes came in this year compared to 2016 – and more voter turnout is always a good thing!! I do wish that I could see Biden’s current 2.3-million lead as a good sign, especially with so much left to count being mail-in ballots (which trend more Democrat), but I can’t. Clinton won by 3mil, and still lost the election.
The Electoral College: the thing that makes it so our votes don’t count. The idea is that the EC and popular vote almost always go the same direction. But over the last twenty years, this is no longer true. Two of the five elections between 2000 and 2016 had the EC go opposite of popular vote. When it was down to something like 1000 votes in 2000, I could accept the fluke. When it came down to three million votes in 2016…that’s a dangerously-disenfranchising system. It’s not fair that a state can be split almost 50/50 and have all the points go to one candidate. This is true in red states, blue states, and swing states alike. If a candidate wins a state with 60% of the vote, he/she should get 60% of the electoral votes. To do otherwise strips the power away from the losing party’s voters. It means that 45% of Virginians this year have no voice in their vote for Trump, just as 45% of Texans (me included!) have no voice in their vote for Biden. It’s no wonder we have such low voter turnout under these conditions.
Of course, the electoral college has a long history of Bad Stuff, including its use to basically disqualify the “uneducated” from voting because “they wouldn’t be properly informed,” and the bolstering of votes given to slave-holding states as slaves could count toward the population (on a 3/5ths level) without being able to vote. There is literally no reason to keep up this antiquated and broken system. There’s a movement toward states agreeing to put all their electoral votes toward whichever candidate wins the popular vote, but until enough states agree, it won’t happen. In any case, it seems like it would just be a better choice to abolish the electoral college altogether. This CAN be done, and SHOULD be done, and everyone always forgets after the dust settles post-election. Sigh.
There’s not much more to say. I don’t know where we’ll be in a few days or a few weeks. I don’t see much changing for the next four years, and I feel much as I did in 2016, like hunkering down and staying very, very small. Only this year, there’s not so much fear as numb resignation, not so much heartbreak as “yeah I figured.” Even if Biden DOES end up winning, the appalling actions we’ve seen in our country these last few weeks just make me so tired and so sad. I miss logic and reason and kindness.
There’ve been arguments over this sort of thing here for years – we have 650 constituencies, each of which elects a Member of Parliament, so parties other than the 2 main parties tend to get far fewer MPs than their total share of the vote would suggest, as it’s difficult for them to win in any one constituency. My constituency’s a “marginal”, but a lot are safe seats for one or other of the main parties. It made a lot more sense in the days when the economy was very regionalised, so a local MP’s priority would be looking out for the cotton industry or the coal industry or whatever, and which party they represented wasn’t such a big issue, but times have changed. On the other hand, it means we don’t usually end up with coalition governments propped up by extremists and collapsing every five minutes, which has happened in some Continental countries!
The British parliamentary system is extremely confusing to me. Political science is one of my two worst subjects, heh. Well, three really. Polysci, physics, and poetry. The three Ps my brain can’t handle.
And still we wait here, and hope that some sanity can take over. The current riots over whether or not all votes should be counted are insane. Trump keeps talking about fraud and how mail-in ballots aren’t real or valid, and not only do you have riots of people saying they should be counted, you have people who believe Trump rhetoric going down to election halls and trying to bang their way in to destroy ballots that are in the process of being counted. It’s a nightmare.
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