This is the night before the U.S. election. Unless you figure you can’t lose – or unless you figure you can’t win – you have to have two speeches ready for election night, a victory speech and a concession speech. I’ve been commissioned by both campaigns, the Trump campaign and the Biden campaign, to write both for each.
Normally I’d want to be gracious in all four cases. And Trump’s victory speech still could be. But given his claim that if he loses the election was rigged, I can’t see him going down graciously unless he does some walking back on that claim first.
It would be out of character for Biden to be a sore loser, but he can hardly wish Trump the best when he’s been warning his supporters to expect even worse from a second term. It would also be out of character for Biden to be a sore winner. But how could he resist, at least as the first thing out of his mouth, “Donald Trump, you’re fired!”?
I’m not going to embarrass myself, as I did four years ago, by predicting with too much confidence that Trump will be defeated. And I don’t want to be accused of armchair awfulizing if he’s not. But I do want to comment on what I think this election means, both for the U.S. and for the rest of the world. What it means, I think, is this:
We don’t need an election to tell us there’s always a Hitler or a Mussolini or a Salvini waiting in the wings. But by telling us who they want, elections reveal what people want. All the people? No. Most of the people? No, because even if Trump wins in the Electoral College he won’t win the popular vote. But enough of the people for the rest of us to be worried that this is the direction America is heading. If Trump’s defeated, most Americans will be heaving a sigh of relief.
But how bad could it get if he’s reelected? One of the first priorities in Germany was the Nazification of the courts, the bureaucracy, and education. The courts and the bureaucracies are being politicized in the U.S., but education will have to be a much more hostile takeover. Schools and universities too are being politicized in America, but, as it happens, in the very opposite direction. So if Trump is reelected, it’ll be interesting to see who’ll win the war between Trump-ism and Woke-ism on campus. Let’s just hope that those of us currently in the Resistance against Woke-ism don’t end up regretting our having joined it.
My wife and I are hosting a big election-watching party tomorrow night. Which, in these times of Covid, means we’re having two people over for dinner. Since the fall of Saigon I’ve been complaining that we’re no longer living in interesting times. I’ll be curious to know whether Wednesday morning marks the end of my whinging.