Hope and Chance
Right now, the New York Times gives Hilary Clinton an 88% chance of winning the presidency next month.
In their own words: “A victory by Mr. Trump remains possible: Mrs. Clinton’s chance of losing is about the same as the probability that an N.F.L. kicker misses a 34-yard field goal.”
In case you’re not much of a football fan, I’ll tell you (and so will Five Thirty Eight) that NFL kickers don’t miss those things very often these days.
Speaking of Five Thirty Eight — they’ve been the most conservative of the polling sites that I trust, and they have Clinton’s chances of winning at 86.1% using polling-only data — but a massive 90.3% if the election were held today.
In other words, and at the great risk of an historically brutal upset, the presidency is going to Hilary Clinton. As a rational actor and decent human being, I am voting for Hilary Clinton, so this is great news for me.
On the other hand, I won’t pretend that Clinton makes me as excited as Barak Obama did in 2008 and 2012. By many accounts, she’s one of the least popular presidential candidates of the last 40 years. She’s saved, in this case, only because Trump is hated more. Weeeeee!
I also won’t pretend that this election cycle has made me happy or hopeful. It’s been the intellectual equivalent of discovering that half our country is gangrenous and rotted.
But, by that token, this election has also been the well-timed MRI that uncovered some terrible damage before (fingers crossed) it’s too late to fix it.
Nobody wants to lance a boil. Nobody enjoys chemotherapy. Nobody has a party to celebrate an amputation. But, we do celebrate survival. We do celebrate adaptation. We do celebrate resilience. The fight is over early if we don’t do the hard part first.
So, the diagnosis is rough. The country is filled with homophobic, xenophobic and angry people. The GOP is filled with people who will compromise their morals (both real and imagined) to vote for a man who represents a virtual black hole of morality.
Keep in mind: this is not just GOP citizens in rural towns, sometimes disconnected from the broader picture. Oh sure, it includes them — but more importantly, it’s the once-moderate men and women holding senate seats and positions of great power.
John McCain — I’m looking at you with a sadness that is hard to elucidate right now. You used to be a bridge between two angry parties. You stood up to the brutality of foreign internment and torture, only to be break against the much less formidable specter of party politics.
I’ll never understand it.
So there it is, we’ve learned that there are a lot of people who believe:
· that blacks only live in the inner city.
· That women are props and not people.
· That all Muslims are directly responsible for all terrorist attacks (aside — when do we start making the same claim about white Christians who shoot up or blow up buildings?)
· That Mexican immigrants are flooding our borders, stealing our stuff and raping our women (Donald and his followers MIGHT be thinking about Pirates of the Caribbean?)
The people who believe these falsehoods (and more — do we even have time?), also seem to be extremely angry and extremely mobilized.
So yeah — we need to educate those people. We need to undo the damage they’ve done. We need to talk them off the ledge and back into society with the rest of us.
But, and here’s where we find hope: They aren’t winning.
Let me repeat that in a big way: They. Are. Losing. Badly.
Clinton is the second most hated presidential candidate in over forty years. Trump has the support of every terrified, white, angry, racists, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic and misogynistic voter in this country. He even has the vote of some of their wives. He even has the vote of republicans that can’t bring themselves to vote for Hilary Clinton or anyone with “Democrat” next to their name. He has the support of party leaders, and party funding.
And he’s getting crushed.
Yeah, the hateful voices are loud. They’re unsettling. But they are in the minority. Even at their fiercest pitch, under their most favorable conditions, the voices of hate are losing. They will almost certainly lose the presidency, and there are decent odds they’ll lose control of the senate in the process.
How beautiful is that?
It doesn’t mean we’re all safe yet. It doesn’t mean we’re all healed. It doesn’t even mean we can rest a moment until this election is over — nor in the months after, when we have to prove that our voices of hope, and love, and progress are the right voices.
But, for now, it’s something. And I’m not cynical enough to spit on any kind of hope.