For many Democrats, tomorrow represents the culmination of a four year effort to regain political control at the national level. While "winning" has always been the goal of an election, this year feels noticeably different as we, as a country, are more polarized than ever. Both sides have people convinced that their world view is the right one - fueled in part by a confirmation from their social network and consumed media (compare how few stories overlap on home page of [CNN.com] and [FoxNews.com] ).
However, one side will win, hopefully definitively, and the other will lose. With polarization, those on the losing side will fear the winners and winners will fear those on the losing side. Fear is one of the most dangerous emotions... as famously spoken by FDR, "we have nothing to fear but fear itself".
What advice do you have to emotionally prepare? What might you say to other Americans who voted for the other side in the case your side wins that would help bridge the divide?
I am in the UK but I have been following this very closely. The saddest thing I came across was from a fellow AG member in Illinois. If I was to use a brief description I might say a nice old lady with cats. She has bought a gun for the 1st time in her life. She is that genuinely afraid of what might be in store win lose or draw. And that my American friends is what Trump has done to your land of the free.
Unfortunately, the way to emotionally prepare for this election (IMO) was to have emotionally prepared to face reality, long before this election started. If a person hasn’t done that, it’s probably too late now.
Life doesn’t promise us we’ll get our way, or that it will be fair, or that “it will work out in the end.” When we set up Win/Lose contests, SOMEbody is gonna lose.
Emotional discipline is not H.sapiens’ strong suit. In order to avoid being overwhelmed by our emotions, we have to take up a mental discipline and practice it for years or decades to see any practical results.
My advice to people who are EITHER dismayed OR overjoyed by the election results is to take up a mental/emotional discipline practice... twenty years ago.
The only thing I know of that might help bridge the divide is for people to develop a habit of seeking consonance in all things.
Fighting and destruction and displaying animal instincts is easy. Rising above our animal nature requires sustained effort.
I think the best way to stay calm is to realize that this election isn't as important as everyone is making it out to be.
Regardless of who wins, we will have an irrational for profit health care system, the war on drugs will continue, the prison population will continue growing, we will continue polluting and being the biggest contributer to climate change, American imperialism will continue it's exploitative practices overseas, students will continue drowning in debt, the homeless population will probably increase, the police will continue murdering unarmed people, American laborers will continue working the longest hours in the developed world while enjoying the most meager benefits and wages, whistle blowers will continue to be persecuted rather than honored, the military industrial complex will continue producing weapons and selling them to brutal foreign regimes, and the corporate owners of this country will continue calling the shots behind the scenes via the use of bribes to political officials.
I just hope one of them wins decisively enough to avoid conflict.
Everyone needs to remember, no matter who wins, it will be okay in the long run. You're not going to die. Your party will win again some day (unless you're part of a third party like many of us).. Just don't panic, and for crying out loud, don't go out and vandalize or attack people physically..
I have no advice. What I know is that everything should have been bipartisan rather than the hate that I see. Any POTUS that is truly president of us all would have worked toward that goal rather than making it worse for 4 years. The Trump ego makes him his own worst enemy. Seeing and hearing him on any issue also makes him mine. If he goes I will be glad. If he stays I will again try to ignore him for 4 more years. There is no reason for either side to become involved in violence. The problem is, some are encouraging it. You can hardly say that the Proud Boys are radical left. In fact, I see no BS coming out of the left.
My best hope here is that the Senate may get enough Democrats if Trump gets re-elected. Would we then have a lame duck Trump? If Trump loses by a landslide I will say "it could not have happened to a nicer man."
Depends on the outcome, might need to take a break from social media for awhile. Whoever loses is going to accuse the other side of cheating, so with that in mind hope there will be an easy and surefire way of proving that no cheating occured in which to calm people down on that much.
The problem with this lies in the fact that our society more or less has convinced everyone that they must take a side (as in strictly Democrat or Republican), instead of focusing on who would be the best candidate for President (including all third party candidates). These days it's all about what side you're on. As for what to say to those who voted for the candidate who lost, should I get into any deep conversations with them think I might simply avoid the topic of politics for awhile. I do not see any sense in gloating over my candidate winning (should mine win). Our politics have become truly screwed-up, sure doesn't feel like the "United" States.
In the end I'll go on with my life. I hope the Trump victory won't negatively impact my coming retirement. I will need Social Security and Medicare as I can apply for Medicare in a year and a half. I don't fear that if by some miracle Biden can take office, the suburbs will not disappear. Police funding won't go away. We won't become Venezuela. These are lies. Unfortunately the American people will believe this and vote in Trump.
I don't doubt that you are correct about the "both sides fear" but just to be clear...
GOPers fear losing their money and guns whereas Dems fear losing their life.
45's regime has, through their ignorance and inactions, killed thousands upon thousands of people, stolen children from illegally deported parents they most likely will never find, forced women to bear children against their will, harmed untold LGBTQ people and people of color and financially destroyed millions of families... not really the same, not equal.
After the 2016 disappointment I have tried to stay in my mental middle ground but I do feel hopeful because of all the early voting. I think this favors the Dems in a big way. I plan to watch the election with plenty of tequila and chocolate, either for celebration or consolation.
I believe you are correct about the electorate being more polarized than at any previous time in our history. In my view, the internet, social media, and cable TV are the driving force behind this phenomena.
These sources fuel the flames of confirmation bias and foments an unhealthy divide that pits us against one another like never before.
Too many of us regard a person with a different opinion to be an enemy to be attacked and vanquished by any means fair or fowl. Civil discussion of the merits of differing approaches to problems become rare.
Character assassination and ad hominems are no substitute for reasoned analysis and only serve to impede solutions.
I don’t know how long it will be before a winner of this election will be declared. When it is finally done I hope we can all get back to our lives in a meaningful and productive way.
Most of all, I hope broken friendships will be restored.
Just keeping in mind that every election is between a giant douche and a turd sandwich (thank you southpark) is generally enough for me. And like test anxiety, it's best to stop studying by 8pm the night before because you know what you know, and the rest is about remaining calm (and not forgetting your towel, thank you Mr. Addams).
Also, re-reading Plato's allegory of the cave isn't a bad move either.
The majority of people will continue with their lives as usual and wait for the next election no matter which side wins or loses. The danger is the fringe elements, the extremist members of the losing side that might do something stupid. The problem is that for the first time, we have a leader that is giving his extreme followers an indication that it is ok to cause chaos and not accept the result of a free election. That is not a leader that America needs. This happens in third world countries, and countries where the losing party usually start a war and kill and incarcerate the opposition or poison them. This has never happened in this country, and that is why America was regarded with such high esteem by people in other countries. A model for other countries to follow. That is why a lot of people dreamed of coming to America. This country was founded by immigrants with a dream of something better than what they left behind. One of those things is the fear of reprisal for having a different idea, and supporting a different candidate. I hope that people recognize and remember who and what actually makes this country great. Not fear, not racism, not a leader who lies and doesn't respect the rule of law.
Polarization is a product of the demonization of groups of marginalized people by a Party to wedge voters away from the Party that supports them. We accept it as some natural byproduct of politics, but it is in fact concocted for nefarious purposes. The weaker Party (Democrats) join Republicans in lock step to demonize many of the same groups to establish some bizarre Centrist cred.
That said, I have no need to gird myself against the outcome of the executive office winner. I’m focused on local offices, the results of which determine my focus for the next couple of years.
I think Biden will likely win, but that begs the question that causes anxiety in me: What stunts/damage will Trump cause in the two months before he leaves office. Miscreant that he is, I cannot envision him not doing damage to the country before he leaves especially in regard to the fact that he has issued more executive orders than any president since Jimmy Carter. A graceful exit is not in his sociopath psyche. In short, I will be anxious until after the Biden January inauguration.
Well, the good news is that there won't be any reason for political TV or Internet ads after tomorrow -- just a lot of news noise for or against the legal games supporting the various machinations supporting or denying the election results -- however spinnable they turn out.
I hope the news noise will be more substantive and more interesting than the ads.
The trump side has descended into such a deep hole of cognitive dissonance that they may never emerge. They have doubled-down on their bets repeatedly, until everything they possess is riding on this. I hope they turn their anger inward instead of turning it on us.