The wrath of the whatever from high atop the thing

It’s not over. I know, I know, I’m as sick of it as you are. November 8 is 10 days away. Donald Trump has run an abysmal campaign; Hillary Clinton a much more focused and professional one. She’s ahead in the polls, and she’s likely to win. Still, it’s not over. We cannot relax.

On the West Wing, President Bartlett is about to be re-elected. His staff begins to celebrate prematurely. Toby Ziegler is asked if he wrote a concession speech. His furious response: “Of course I wrote a concession! You want to tempt the wrath of the whatever from high atop the thing?”

Don’t jinx it! Is the point. Don’t risk angering the ancient Gods. Call it hubris or karma or the pride that goeth before the fall, but celebrating early is nearly always a bad idea. Don’t take a chance; go outside, turn around three times. Curse. Spit. Or both.

Not to wax hyperbolic or anything, not to overstate, but the future of Western civilization as we know it depends on Donald Trump losing this election. Never before have we seen a candidate so astonishingly ill-prepared for the Presidency; never before have we seen one so contemptuous of the democratic traditions of our nation’s history. Never before have we seen someone willing to joke about not conceding defeat. Or answer ‘I’ll keep you in suspense’ when asked directly if he would abide by the clear mandate of the electorate, if he loses. Not to mention his appeal to racist, xenophobic, white nationalist and misogynist elements in our culture. He can’t win. Still. He might.

There’s still time for him to pull it out. And the drip drip drip of wiki-leaks revelations continues. And there’s still the email thing.

Today, for example, FBI director James Comey sent notification to House committee chairs that he was reopening the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails. This may mean nothing. In his notification, he wrote that “the FBI has learned of the existence of emails that may be pertinent to the investigation.” He provided no details, and added that the FBI “cannot yet assess whether or not this material may be significant.” Still this is terrible news.

The infamously and flamboyantly corrupt former governor of Louisiana, Eddie Edwards, with a big lead in his race for reelection, famously said once that the only way he could lose was if he was caught in bed “with a dead girl, or a live boy.” I think it unlikely that Hillary Clinton is going to wrap her car around a tree while driving drunk. But what might bring her momentum to a halt is something like this, a reminder to voters of the email ‘scandal.’

The narrative on the Right is that Hillary Clinton is the most corrupt candidate for the Presidency in the history of our country. She isn’t. In fact, that’s silly. But if you say something like ‘that particular narrative is unsupported by evidence,’ the response is bafflement. Of course she’s corrupt. Look at everything. Look at her whole career. It’s nothing but scandal after scandal. And if you defend her, you’re accused of drinking the koolaid.

It hasn’t really mattered that much. Of course, there are always going to be people who don’t like Hillary Clinton, for whatever reason, and will take you to task if you say you support her. And she’s in front, winning.

We cannot get complacent. We cannot stop campaigning, or stop supporting Clinton for President financially. We cannot anger the whatever atop the thing. She has to win. She hasn’t yet. Don’t jinx it.


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