“Football season is over.” – Hunter S. Thompson
One card. One goddamn card.
I can remember tracing the outlines of the card with my fingers, that 5 of Clubs looking just so weird. A “no” card, and a healthy one at that. What a strange card for a defeat, I thought, it’s almost if….no. That can’t be right.
The great irony is I could have simply asked “Would Hillary Clinton win the election?” and rolled with that. The cards would have given me the right answer then and there.
But I didn’t. Because nobody expected this to happen…
Voting day was crowned by a pleasant sun and I went outside with a cold beer in my hands to soak up the energy. This was it, the final day, a whole series worth of articles and research coming down to this. Only two things really mattered to me: that a bullshit amendment to force solar owners to keep paying FPL fail and that the amendment to set up medical marijuana pass. After that I saw the whole thing as nothing more than a horse race.
I stayed surprisingly sober….ish. I felt plenty good but wanted to keep my wits about me. I went to my local polling place dressed as “a very successful coke dealer from the 60’s,” or at least that’s how I was described by one person on the bus. No line, surprisingly, and a straight shot in. As I turned in my ballot scrawled with the words “fuck you” and myself written in for president I thought nothing more of this charade and beat a hasty retreat home where I could crawl into bed with my wife.
Time dragged on and the tv reporters laughed. I flipped between MSNBC and CNN, both debating the pros and cons of a Hillary administration and how Trump would spend his days after defeat. Everything seemed locked up, a sure bet.
A tingle, an itch, something not right. I kept thinking of that last card. That last motherfucking card. Health, fullness. What a weird card, what a strange thing for somebody that was going to lose.
7:00pm rolled in, and polls began closing.
Every two minutes there seemed to be a “key race alert,” a weird prediction based on only 2% of the States votes which seemed incredibly stupid. I watched as Florida, a “sure thing” for Trump, suddenly become a “surprising lead” for Hillary. The “journalists” paraded before me sounded like old men at a Miami dog track, counting statistics and past victories, the distance between the “champs” and those betting on them like the sun and the moon.
It was business, all a game, and you couldn’t help but giddy. But one thing was certain: Hillary was going to win.
By 7:48pm Florida was running neck and neck. The state switched projected hands no less than four times in the course of 50 minutes and it looked like it might be more of a nail biter than we anticipated. Talking heads became drunk on possibility, eagerly grinning that Florida would decide if we had a real race on our hands or not. If Trump didn’t win Florida his ship was sunk, nothing short of a fanatical alliance of small states led by Ohio and a low Latino turnout in Texas granting him victory.
Hands were gripped across the country, every eye on the same insane swampland where someone “chopped off his victim’s head, removed part of the brain and an eyeball….walked 12 blocks to a cemetery…and then ate them.” Trumper’s were driving dune buggies into trailer parks across the state, banging on doors and firing shotguns in the air if they found families that hadn’t voted. Not to be outdone, college campuses were scenes of abject horror: students were being grabbed and searched for their “I voted” sticker. Those found without it were viciously verbally beaten, foreheads marked in lipstick with the word “Privileged” if they were even suspected of voting third party.
Wolf Blitzer still framed everything in terms that seemed to question if Trump would have a chance at all “If the republicans don’t win Ohio they’re finished. If they lose Florida victory would be almost impossible.”
“Who do you think will take Florida, Boo?” Each candidate had been to Florida over 20 times and hosted over 40 events. Whoever managed to take the State would surely take it as an omen for even greater victories.
“Tough to say…I think Trump will win Florida. It’s so obvious that Hillary’s going to win, all the reporters keep talking about is ‘Clinton, Clinton, Clinton.’ They got to let him win at least one Red State, why not the state that’s shaped like a dick?”
Poll alert! Hillary leads in North Carolina! Hillary leads Ohio! The results are streaming in like American-made rounds from an ISIS-manned machine gun. Tension, power, the national psyche sees almost brought to a mounting climax. Hands on the couch and faces pushed into pillows, when would it end?
“84% is in Florida! Only SIX THOUSAND VOTES are separating the candidates! Wait, Donald Trump has taken the lead! 700 votes are the only thing separating between….wait! 918 votes! 918 votes are all that’s giving Trump the lead! WAIT! Hillary is in the lead, 1,600 vote lead!”
Commercial. A chance to catch my breath. Wolf Blitzer tells me that the Empire State building is lighting up with people’s photos from Instagram. It was a game, a psychic high. Bets were furiously being made, broken, recast on long distance phone calls to faceless bookies in cities people had never visited.
Screams, whoops, shouts, and gunfire.The State had flipped again, now in Trump’s hands
Flipping through news channels I came across “Escape the Election,” an 8 hour montage of light classical music and scenes from nature put on by The Weather Channel. The break neck speed had suddenly grinded to a halt. You could…breathe. Take a second. I grabbed another beer and checked on some candle work I had going upstairs. One could almost forget the millions of missiles pointed eastward or the horrible screams of children as ISIS militants fought window to window in the shootouts of Aleppo.
Snap back to election coverage. Trump takes Texas, Nebraska, Arkansas.
“He got fucking Texas. He called Mexicans rapists and thieves and he actually took Texas.”
Ohio had flipped now, with a heavy lead for Trump. Wolf Blitzer laughs nervously. This wasn’t supposed to happen.
Republicans kept the house. The only state Hillary was carrying that was up in the air was Pennsylvania. Huge swaths of territory were coming in Trump now and all the gaiety had left people’s faces. Still, all everybody could talk about was “deer tracks,” how a Hillary victory was still quite possible.
Nobody wanted to talk about the very obvious turd in the punch bowl. Nobody dared mention what seemed like an increasing possibility.
By 9:57 Virginia was back in Hillary hands but everyone seems shocked at the voter turnout. Faces are long and the jokes have all but ceased. Chris Matthews outright refuses to believe Trump will win. Surely there are some votes still not counted?
10:21 and Trump nabs Ohio, the same state Beyonce and Jay Z had pushed heavily to vote for Hillary. Now everybody is really worried, noting no Republican that has won Ohio, barring Nixon, has ever lost the general election. 8 minutes later and Wisconsin and Michigan, both states that polled thickly for Bernie, seem firmly in Republican hands. They do everything not to mention them.
That’s because if Hillary loses them she has no way of winning.
11:05 Trump takes North Carolina, along with a solid leads in Pennsylvania, a place thought impossible for Republicans to win. James Carville notes “If Trump wins the presidency the Democrats will have the least amount of power I’ve seen since….well, since ever.” Republicans would control the House, the Senate, the Presidency and now even possibly appoint two supreme court judges.
“Well,” I mused aloud, “looks like I won’t have to worry about paying that tax penalty for not having healthcare, eh?”
By the time 11:26 rolled around we all knew who would win. Hillary’s campaign had refused to say anything to the media for over an hour. Her supporters, held within a massive convention center with a glass ceiling had begun to weep openly. MSNBC and Rachel Maddow became rabid, blaming Russia for Wikileaks and Millennials for not thinking Hillary was “cool enough.” Iowa came in for Trump at 11:30 and hot mics captured curses and loud, pronounced sighs.
Everyone knew what had happened but nobody wanted to say it. We would end up waiting till 2:30am for Hillary to concede and she would do this only after she made sure every supporter left what was supposed to be her victory chamber. She refused to be seen and would say nothing to the media, and one imagines she did not want hungry photographers to descend upon a wailing crowd of 500+ people set to commit mass suicide.
America had turned. There would be no female president. There had been a war in the political heavens and the sure thing lost.
The cards are always, always right. The only thing that can ever be wrong is the user.
I, like so many Americans, thought Hillary had this thing so far in the bag I didn’t even bother to ask just WHO would win. I made the fatal mistake of frontloading my results, asking for a reaction to a possibility that would not play out. Even now I can look at my reading objectively and see where the hints were. Tears and anguish certainly came about, and an emotional explosion created a Republican turnout like we haven’t seen in years. The “rotting corpse” of the establishment certainly lead to a new life, a new home, and Trump’s victory isn’t just a “healthy barn” but a goddamn mandate to do what ever he wants.
This election has been the domestic equivalent of the CIA backing Hugo Chavez only to realize he had no intentions of going along with the plan. The Clinton team picked the candidate that was so repulsive, so idiotic, so openly backwards that the American people would vote against him just to save themselves. “Look at this guy! He’s going to ban Muslims! I mean, the American people will never go for that.”
The morning after tells a different story.
We may be a violent, stupid people but we do not enjoy being lied to. The Democratic Party could have easily won this election with Bernie Sanders but they never intended to. He was a dogwhistle, a weather gauge, a tool to see what would need to be said to calm young progressives and get them to accept war with Russia was a good idea.
They fixed it and they didn’t care. Silicon Valley and Washington D.C. had united. The people would accept what they knew to be best, regardless of how loathsome their own politics were perceived. They’d figured they’d given them no other option.
But nobody could account for Mussolini marching on Rome.
Despite every poll and almost every media outlet against him Trump channeled the naked disgust Americans have for their rulers. Tired of war yet wanting to be powerful, they really don’t care if they have a rich king so long as black people stay in line. Trump not only has the people behind him but a firm grasp on every branch of government. The Republican party will have to move as he directs or face an angry electorate and a leader with an openly vicious character. Entire careers will depend upon personality shifts. The Bible-thumping Republicans of the Bush era are gone. The Alt-right has seized power. Racists of all stripes will be emboldened, capital now knows it can do whatever it wants, and immigrants are going to be facing some very, very heavy pressure.
This is the exact lesson radicals of all stripes needed to learn.
The Left sold out on everything except identity politics and it absolutely devastated them. Radicalism in this country is in tatters, and “pragmatic” anti-capitalists are learning their votes for Hillary haven’t changed a goddamn thing except proving how bankrupt they are. Anarchists and Commies of all stripes wedded themselves to college liberals in the hope they could “push them leftward” and the only thing they can show for it is the reeking stench of defeat. You can’t claim to be anti-war and back a nuclear exchange between the US and Russia, can’t say you’re for the “working class” and vote the same ticket as hedge-fund managers.
Your politics, your tactics, even your ideas were all terrible. You deserve everything you get. May you be blighted from history and Occupy become a scorned name.
The mainline Democrats are no better. The minute they knew they would lose they started blaming everybody they could think of: third parties, Russia, millennials, the internet. I was halfway expecting a serious discussion on the traitorous actions of Pepe. They refuse to admit they picked the most batshit candidate to run against, the living avatar of 4chan, and he fucking WON because the candidate they picked was so terrible. The worst of the Republican party beat the “best” candidate the Democrats had to offer. What does THAT say? The country REJECTED any of the barest HINTS of the neoliberal agenda and would rather have a fascist than a IMF-style technocrat.
Gleefully I watch them wail and cry. May the sink faster beneath the mud.
Let it be finally understood the current society you stand against is a barbarous army that wants peace abroad and death at home. They will oppress you, persecute you, and pursue you. You are in an enemy camp, surrounded and harassed. The bosses, judges, soldiers, and cops have achieved militant unity while your allies quibbled about language and “safe spaces” for discussion.
Nietzsche said “the strongest and most evil spirits have to date advanced mankind the most: they always rekindled the sleeping passions – all orderly arranged society lulls the passions to sleep; they always reawakened the sense of comparison, of contradiction, of delight in the new, the adventurous, the untried.” The American people will have 4 years of naked fascism to fight against and conflict is what breeds results. Voting and establishment politics will either be closed off or ineffective, forcing anti-capitalists and radicals to get some actual groundwork established. Symbolic victories won’t mean shit when your buddies can literally be deported; we’ll see how important “non-violence” is when the Klan continually gets off the hook.
The choices are now clear: submit to the vote for authoritarianism by the exploited or accept combat against the entire social organism for what you desire and your own autonomy. Priests vs Sorcerers, Navy vs Pirates, Cop against Criminal, it’s a struggle by those that wish to impose their own vision of order on those that want the freedom to choose their own path.
Republican, Democrat, nobody was really fighting for you. Best to start fighting for yourself.
The Hyena sees neither bad nor good, only opportunity. If anything picking the bones of the Imperium will now be all the easier: we have clear enemies again, something to hate, and maul, and rend! Good! Any moral qualms you may have had are out the window and you can finally start charting courses to collective freedom built upon the bones of adversaries and physical results. The country you live in shares none of your values and votes to take them away. Why should you allow them? Why should you care for their laws, their institutions, their rules or fair play?
So start acting like you mean it. Research solidarity networks, start an Anarchist Gun Club, study the works of Sergey Nechayev. Plant collective gardens, stop foreclosures, organize an AntiFa, actually get out there and DO SOMETHING. Seize territory. Defend it. Become something to be feared.
It’s all about control: do you have it or do they?
The game is now on comrades, just as it’s always been from the moment you were born.
“Here lies the difference between self-liberation and emancipation (manumission, setting free). Those who today ‘stand in the opposition’ are thirsting and screaming to be ‘set free.’ The princes are to ‘declare their peoples of age,’ i. e., emancipate them! Behave as if you were of age, and you are so without any declaration of majority; if you do not behave accordingly, you are not worthy of it, and would never be of age even by a declaration of majority.” – Max Stirner