I Guess the Landslide Is Off

Events or at least polls have overtaken the dumb argument I had with Damon Linker over the meaning of the Clinton landslide. Would it be a positive mandate for her kind of change or merely the negative choice of the one who is not Trump?

The ABC/Washington Post poll, which showed Clinton up twelve percentage points when Damon wrote, now has her up two.

I was clearly wrong again, underestimating again the appeal of Trump (and/or the repulsiveness of Clinton). I still think Clinton will win easily, but there’s no evidence of a landslide (winning by 10 percent or more) at this time.

The nervousness of the Clinton people was highlighted by the reassurance Americans received today on CNN. Don’t worry! The new FBI investigation won’t make much difference. Too many people have already voted. That is, of course, an argument against early or at least very early voting, especially in a campaign animated by dramatic revelations about both candidates’ reckless behavior, bad character, and possible criminal wrongdoing. It could even be, after all, that the landslide will be back on sometime this week, owing to another “bragging about groping” or even worse Trump tape. Surely nobody should get to vote until we’ve all heard it all. (I do agree with the president that Election Day should be a holiday, although darned if I know what we’d be celebrating this year.)

On the FBI director: It might be the case that he’s just trying to do his job. He has, after all, managed to tick off both parties. That doesn’t mean he’s actually doing well.

Studies, in any case, must show that those who make predictions are typically biased by the outcomes they want.

Although I’m not going to vote for Clinton (or Trump), there’s no denying her decisive victory would have a settling effect on the country.

It’s true some Republicans mistakenly believe that Trump’s electoral humiliation would allow them to forget all about the real challenges he posed to the complacent and clueless establishment of their party. (Well, there’s the occasional pathetic Republican who believes once again that the new closeness of the election holds open the possibility that McMullin will actually be elected president by the Republican Congress. He carries Utah, nobody gets a majority from the electors, and Congress has to pick from the top three. That’s the way the clueless Republicans will come to power much more! If that were to happen, it would be the most illegitimate choice of all time.)

And of course the Clinton supporters, such as Damon, hope that her huge victory, with down-ballot support, will allow her to impose her will upon our country.

There’s a third group of Americans, such as me, who just think a close election this time would convulse the country in dangerous and degrading ways. That of course is no argument for any particular person voting any particular way.

Still, there was comfort in casting a protest vote for Mike Maturen, knowing that the outcome the election is not in doubt. But now there’s a little doubt. I’m still voting for Mike.

One good thing: It looks like the Republicans will hold the House, and their prospects for doing the same in the Senate have gotten more hopeful. In our screwed-up electoral world, divided government will be a comfort for those who distrust the reform schemes — and personal characters — of both our major presidential candidates.