In “Vote for Your Health and for Your Life” Mr. Blow says that on Election Day, you have the power to turn things around. Prof. Krugman, in “How to Rig an Election,” says heroic voters are facing down badly broken institutions. Here’s Mr. Blow:
America, Election Day is our national day of reckoning, the day we do battle at the ballot box to beat back the advance of the butternut squash-tanned barbarian.
I know you’re exhausted and exasperated. I know the lunacy has taken its toll. I know that your incredulity has grown in you like a tumor.
I know that media coverage has been infuriating and the parade of Donald Trump deflect-and-detract minions a source of endless frustration.
I know that there have been some out-of-body, what-the-hell-is-going-on moments as details about Trump’s past have come to light — revelations that would have spelled the end of a candidate during previous cycles — and people have simply pushed past them with bizarrely twisted rationales.
I know that those of you with friends in other countries have been bombarded by baffled callers wondering, “What on Earth is America thinking?”
I know that you know what I know: Trump is truly one of the worst candidates to ever seek the presidency. And, a large part of that is due to his instability and malleability, all part of his no-holds-barred pursuit of power.
He is simultaneously hostile and fragile. He is bombastic and whiny. He waffles on ideology even as he pursues ideologues. He is vengeful and vacuous. He professes his championing of women while consistently insulting them and boasting of assaulting them. He reaches out to African-Americans while hiring an alt-right advocate as his campaign’s chief executive and a campaign adviser who brags about suppressing the black vote.
Donald Trump himself is at the center of his value system. He doesn’t care about America, or the Republican Party or any particular principle. Trump is about personal enrichment and unending, unequivocal affirmation. Trump is a megalomaniac, in addition to many, many other awful things.
When he’s reading prepared remarks from a teleprompter, some people forget who he is, but I simply can’t. I can’t get past it; I can’t get over it. Trump as president is America’s nightmare scenario, an election that would herald the end of the empire.
No person who fully comprehends just how young and fragile this experiment is that we call a fully representative democracy would ever even entertain the concept of taking a chance on this destruction in a tie and under a mysterious mane.
But too many Americans seem very much O.K. with Trump, so much so that he is very much in the running to win, although Clinton clearly has the upper hand at the moment.
And so, the stress is real.
According to a New York Times/CBS News poll, 82 percent of voters said that this campaign has made them feel more disgusted about American politics.
A Colby College-Boston Globe poll last month found that 64 percent of likely voters felt this year’s election was much more negative than previous ones, and 80 percent thought that America should be embarrassed by our election process based on this election.
As far back as July, 59 percent of Americans said they felt “worn out” by the amount of election coverage, according to the Pew Research Center.
The American Psychological Association has even issued an advisory about the stress that this election has caused. It points out:
“Facing one of the most adversarial contests in recent history and daily coverage of the presidential election that dominates every form of mass media, 52 percent of American adults report that the 2016 election is a very or somewhat significant source of stress. The survey was conducted online among adults 18+ living in the U.S. by Harris Poll on behalf of the American Psychological Association.”
With Trump our boat isn’t just driving toward the falls. He has powered the motor and is propelling us at full speed, while half of the country shrieks in fear and the other half, in deranged delirium, giddily greets destruction.
But Tuesday you have the power to turn things around. You no longer have to passively take this torture; now you can do something about it (if you haven’t already): You can vote!
Indeed, the American Psychological Association issued five tips for managing the stress of this election, the last of which was this:
“Vote. In a democracy, a citizen’s voice does matter. By voting, you will hopefully feel you are taking a proactive step and participating in what for many has been a stressful election cycle. Find balanced information to learn about all the candidates and issues on your ballot (not just the presidential race), make informed decisions and wear your ‘I voted’ sticker with pride.”
On Election Day, you get to have your voice heard and choice registered. You get to say yes to normalcy and rationality and no to insanity.
On Election Day, you can do something that counts and make a stand for your country, for your mental health, for your life. Exercise your power.
And now here’s Prof. Krugman:
It’s almost over. Will we heave a sigh of relief, or shriek in horror? Nobody knows for sure, although early indications clearly lean Clinton. Whatever happens, however, let’s be clear: this was, in fact, a rigged election.
The election was rigged by state governments that did all they could to prevent nonwhite Americans from voting: The spirit of Jim Crow is very much alive — or maybe translate that to Diego Cuervo, now that Latinos have joined African-Americans as targets. Voter ID laws, rationalized by demonstrably fake concerns about election fraud, were used to disenfranchise thousands; others were discouraged by a systematic effort to make voting hard, by closing polling places in areas with large minority populations.
The election was rigged by Russian intelligence, which was almost surely behind the hacking of Democratic emails, which WikiLeaks then released with great fanfare. Nothing truly scandalous emerged, but the Russians judged, correctly, that the news media would hype the revelation that major party figures are human beings, and that politicians engage in politics, as somehow damning.
The election was rigged by James Comey, the director of the F.B.I. His job is to police crime — but instead he used his position to spread innuendo and influence the election. Was he deliberately putting a thumb on the electoral scales, or was he simply bullied by Republican operatives? It doesn’t matter: He abused his office, shamefully.
The election was also rigged by people within the F.B.I. — people who clearly felt that under Mr. Comey they had a free hand to indulge their political preferences. In the final days of the campaign, pro-Trump agents have clearly been talking nonstop to Republicans like Rudy Giuliani and right-wing media, putting claims and allegations that may or may not have anything to do with reality into the air. The agency clearly needs a major housecleaning: Having an important part of our national security apparatus trying to subvert an election is deeply scary. Unfortunately, Mr. Comey is just the man not to do it.
The election was rigged by partisan media, especially Fox News, which trumpeted falsehoods, then retracted them, if at all, so quietly that almost nobody heard. For days Fox blared the supposed news that the F.B.I. was preparing an indictment of the Clinton Foundation. When it finally admitted that the story was false, Donald Trump’s campaign manager smugly remarked, “The damage is done to Hillary Clinton.”
The election was rigged by mainstream news organizations, many of which simply refused to report on policy issues, a refusal that clearly favored the candidate who lies about these issues all the time, and has no coherent proposals to offer. Take the nightly network news broadcasts: In 2016 all three combined devoted a total of 32 minutes to coverage of issues — all issues. Climate change, the most important issue we face, received no coverage at all.
The election was rigged by the media obsession with Hillary Clinton’s emails. She shouldn’t have used her own server, but there is no evidence at all that she did anything unethical, let alone illegal. The whole thing is orders of magnitude less important than multiple scandals involving her opponent — remember, Donald Trump never released his tax returns. Yet those networks that found only 32 minutes for all policy issues combined found 100 minutes to talk about Clinton emails.
It’s a disgraceful record. Yet Mrs. Clinton still seems likely to win.
If she does, you know what will happen. Republicans will, of course, deny her legitimacy from day one, just as they did for the last two Democratic presidents. But there will also — you can count on it — be a lot of deprecation and sneering from mainstream pundits and many in the media, lots of denial that she has a “mandate” (whatever that means), because some other Republican would supposedly have beaten her, she should have won by more, or something.
So in the days ahead it will be important to remember two things. First, Mrs. Clinton has actually run a remarkable campaign, demonstrating her tenacity in the face of unfair treatment and remaining cool under pressure that would have broken most of us. Second, and much more important, if she wins it will be thanks to Americans who stood up for our nation’s principles — who waited for hours on voting lines contrived to discourage them, who paid attention to the true stakes in this election rather than letting themselves be distracted by fake scandals and media noise.
Those citizens deserve to be honored, not disparaged, for doing their best to save the nation from the effects of badly broken institutions. Many people have behaved shamefully this year — but tens of millions of voters kept their faith in the values that truly make America great.