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Election Day is Only 14 Days Away

October 25, 2016

“…Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed. Consequently he who moulds public sentiment, goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions. He makes statutes and decisions possible or impossible to be executed.”

– Abraham Lincoln

It’s as predictable as a dog’s tail wag. After each debate, Donald Trump claims that he won. After babbling on about polls and policy issues he doesn’t understand, lying about every last thing and hurling personal insults against anyone who opposes him or is in his way, he simply declares that “everyone” says that he won.

I laughed out loud when I heard him say that after the first of the many big media events that the Republicans staged. Politicians are always trying to convince us of one thing or the other, but that was ridiculous on the face of it and I couldn’t believe that people on the other end of the microphones were letting him get away with it. But, of course they did. They let him get away with that and a whole lot more. We all did. It’s no laughing matter.

And so here we are, just fourteen days from Election Day and Trump is still with us, dangerously close to power and authority he would have no idea how to exercise. He makes Richard Nixon look like the Quaker his mother wanted him to be.

I see this morning that he and his fellow travelers now want another debate with Hillary Clinton, because doing so would be the “purest form of democracy.” This coming from what has to be the most anti-democratic candidate any of us have ever seen. And of course, there will be those that agree with Trump – “let’s have another debate!” To which I ask, why? Just what could we possibly learn that we don’t already know?

In the summer and fall of 1858, Abraham, Lincoln and Stephen Douglas traveled across Illinois campaigning for the Illinois State Senate. Douglas was a popular incumbent. Lincoln was a lawyer who had served in the U.S. Congress for two years a decade earlier. In July, Lincoln made a speech on a stage in Chicago the day after Douglas had done the same. A week later, in Springfield, only a few hours separated the two speakers. Noticing how the two candidates’ paths were crisscrossing, a newspaper suggested that they tour the state “old western style” to combine their speech schedules. Lincoln seconded the motion, suggesting that they debate fifty or even a hundred times. Douglas would have nothing to do with that, but reluctantly agreed to meet in the county seats of the state’s remaining seven congressional districts from August 15 through October 15.

The candidates settled on a format that provided voters a three-hour discussion. Four times, Douglas spoke for an hour, Lincoln followed with ninety minutes and then Douglas finished with a thirty-minute rebuttal. In the other three debates, Lincoln lead off and closed. Douglas was a talented orator. Lincoln was inconsistent, but progressing towards the eloquent public speaker he became. Lincoln won the vote in four of the seven counties and in both Cook (Chicago) and Sangamon (Springfield) Counties, but never gained the affection from many voters in the south end of the state.

From The Smithsonian

From The Smithsonian

As bad as the “debates” are today, I don’t know if a Lincoln-Douglas format would have been an improvement. In any case, we know how difficult it would be to witness. We hear his discombobulated responses to simple “yes or no” questions. We scratch our heads with his string of incoherent statements about the simplest of topics. We’re stressed and despondent after sitting through the videos of the red hat hate speeches he gives to his followers out on the tarmac. On a good day, he might make sense for a ninety-second stretch of time, but can you imagine listening to this guy for ninety minutes? (No? Now think again how it will feel to go through four years with this guy in the White House.)

I’d be fine if today was Election Day. No matter what WikiLeaks presents, there is no October Surprise ahead of us. What could possibly surprise you about the Clintons at this point? Think about it. What could you learn that would change your views on them? What do you need to hear to change your vote from Clinton to someone else? As for Trump, what else do you need to know? Didn’t we figure out this guy fifteen months ago?

The abysmal state of our political climate won’t end on Election Day. You could make the case (and be correct, in my opinion) that it will only be the beginning.

Whether Trump wins or loses the election, he will not go away. If he wins, we will not be able to ignore him. However, if he loses, I hope that the country will have the fortitude and good sense to forge ahead in this noxious environment without him.


These are Trump’s words during the third debate, when we heard him say “bad hombres” and “nasty woman.” We didn’t learn much about him that day. We’ve heard it all before. When he wasn’t acting out like a third-grade bully on the playground, he behaved like the boorish seventy-year old that he is. However, he was considerate enough to repeat what he had previously said, that he hadn’t decided yet whether he would support the results of our decision on Election Day. He will “keep us in suspense.” Okay?


  1. What? We didn’t see a new Trump at the Third Debate! Wait, wait, maybe we will at the 4th one his campaign manager proposed yesterday …


    • One gets the feeling that even if 100% of voters said he was the president of their dreams, he and his surrogates would start grading the voters for the quality and strength of their support. There has to be a bad guy (hombre?) in there someplace. Find him.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Of course he wants another debate … so when the media says it’s not possible and Hillary says she’s not interested he can say, “SEE! SEE! The media and Hillary are in cahoots. What’s she trying to hide? Why not have a debate? She must be trying to hide something. I don’t know. I just think a debate would be a good idea. Let America see. But, see, the media is protecting her from something.”

    (I could go on, and it frightens me that I suddenly channeled Trump so well for this comment. Please don’t think less of me.)


  3. Thank you. I just finished reading [sort of] an email from my brother-in-law who forwarded “a preacher’s” long winded exhortation for all Christians in America to vote for Trump as the last opportunity to “save” America. Alas, Babylon…


    • Mat, that’s one of the unsettling aspects of this election. We knew that many of the “values voters” weren’t quite as concerned about the “values” they held up the past couple decades. But it’s disturbing how firmly they pivoted to some other specious argument so expediently.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on Tombers’s Blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Bruce, you always put into better words what I feel and can’t communicate as effectively. What a mess DT has made of this election.
    My simple FB post this evening, after listening to the evening news on NPR was “So THAT’S what I lost the election last year. It was rigged”.
    My effort to bring a bit of humor to this horrible situation.
    Sadly, he will not go away


    • LB, have you and your staff performed a cold-eyed review of your campaign? Were you blaming others frequently enough? How much did you whine? Did you threaten your opponent with post-election prosecution? Tell the electors that you would be in touch about voter fraud? Bully the press? Taunt your opponent’s spouse? Did you prefer innuendoes whenever possible?


  6. I had not heard about the proposed fourth debate until reading your post. Somehow I’m not surprised they have come up with this. Trump is a narcissistic 12-year-old with ADHD. And I apologize to narcissistic 12-year-olds with ADHD for making that comparison.

    The Trump campaign is living in an echo chamber of its own making. That is, if they even believe the crap they are spewing these days.


  7. Hillary has rightfully chosen to ignore Trump and focus on getting enough Democrats elected so we don’t have several more years of a government incapable of action. Now if the media would just do the same.
    Trump whines about how the media is abusing him, refusing to recognize how they created him. Trump can’t ruin the nation after he goes down in defeat unless the media insists on hanging on his every word.
    Good post, Bruce.


  8. “He makes Richard Nixon look like the Quaker his mother wanted him to be.” Loved this line! The thought of him as president is truly upsetting to me. I’ve seen over the last 8 years how divided we are, but I never dreamed that people could justify a vote for someone I consider dangerous. And now here we are. We’ll know soon.


  9. Wow. Great post, Bruce. You’ve captured my own feelings about this seemingly endless election season precisely. But with better words: ‘He makes Richard Nixon look like the Quaker his mother wanted him to be.’ (!) Awesome and then some. I feel better having already voted (absentee ballot), but wish I could do so again. And again. Just to make sure his Trumpiness doesn’t win. I honestly don’t want to be kept in suspense any longer.


  10. The fact that Trump is a household name has me so hurt/angry/disappointed in our country that I don’t know what to do. In my daughter’s home, where all the adults (and grandparents on both sides) are not on the Trump-side in any shape or form, her 4-year-old declared, “I wanna invite Trump to my birthday party.” Of course, her little boy has no idea what he’s saying, BUT he knows the news and the name heard most around the world. You got it in the beginning of this post, Bruce – in the beginning, the media/citizens thought he was funny. A joke. Few are laughing now…


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