The Election Junkie (#154)

Everyone wants the U.S. Election to be over – by whatever means necessary.

Mothers are tired of explaining to schoolchildren that “pussy” means something other than a cat. Millennials are tired of hearing that they’ve paid more in taxes in the last five years than Donald Trump has since 1991.

Everyone’s mad that the end of Daylight Savings means there’s a whole extra hour of election season before the U.S. votes on November 8th.

The only people who aren’t over this election?

Nate Silver, polling statistician extraordinaire.

CNN, who has YUUUGE ratings and Big League revenue from covering Donald Trump’s every racist, sexist rambling.

And me.

Yes, me. I’m a Presidential Election Junkie. My husband flinches when I charge into the kitchen, yelling, “Did you hear?!” and update him on any/ all of the following:
a) Trump’s Foundation under investigation
b) Trump’s groping hands outed by another woman
c) Clinton’s emails
d) FBI and that damned Weiner

Andy says he pines for the days when I complained about his father instead of underhanded Republican tactics. (But Andy also sneaks off to the polls with my filled-in sample ballot, rather than his own empty one, and so MAYBE he should be grateful for his well-informed wife.)

I am what happens when you grow up in the political environment of Washington, D.C.

My father worked on Capitol Hill, staffer for a Congressman (nope, not telling you his name). In D.C., elections aren’t just about the nebulous future fate of the country. Even as a six-year-old, I knew that my father’s job depended on whether his Republican boss won the election.

No. That wasn’t a typo. My father was a Republican. And so were his six children.

My mother was the lone Democrat. She took all kinds of crap from her self-important progeny on her voting record:

“I can’t believe you voted for the peanut farmer! He was terrible!”

“You voted for John B. Anderson? Instead of Reagan? I don’t even know who that is!”

“Mondale and Ferraro?! But she was a crook! She didn’t release her taxes! How could you?!”

My mother was wise enough not to engage. She knew we knew nothing, really, besides loyalty to our father’s party. She had faith that we were smart enough to escape our polo blazer brainwashing, just as she had overcome her debutante days.

Besides, Mom eventually realized she and my father were a terrible fit, and not just politically. Mom moved out and left us Republicans behind.

Mom or no mom, Dad’s job on the hill seemed glamorous. He told us stories about the special buzzers, bells, and lights signifying votes and recesses. He laughed about Congressmen scrambling through tunnels to get to the floor to vote. Dad even met with a KGB agent once upon a time, and didn’t know it until the FBI interviewed him afterwards. (We kids thought it was cool that our phone was probably tapped.)

Conversation in DC revolves around political rumors, and we ate up those same rumors with our dinner.

My dad also brought home more tangible political items — enormous boxes of taped, stapled, and glued surveys from the Congressman’s constituents. (This was before constituents could bitch to their representatives via email or algorithms tabulated online surveys. Back then, WE were the servers.) We underaged servers weren’t allowed to watch TV unless we were armed with stapler removers, letter openers, scissors, knives, and forks (yes, forks, because some of those staples were a bitch and Big Brother didn’t share the stapler remover). It wasn’t that bad, though, since those were the dark times before we could fast forward through commercials; opening surveys kept us from beating each other up with sofa cushions. (But not with forks.)

My siblings and I fought over the front page of The Washington Post as much as we fought over the comics. Only we didn’t call it The Washington Post — we  referred to it as The Washington Pravda, as all good little Republicans did. (Don’t get the joke? Here. Be grateful that you have the internet along with online surveys.)

My father was always invited to the Inaugural Ball. (There are actually multiple balls, but his invite was one of the official/ good ones.) You have to freakin’ buy a ticket after you’re invited, though, as those balls are ultimately a typical Washington fundraising scam. Dad always threw the invitations away, never mind my then-stepmother’s longing looks at the trashcan. One year, my sisters and I fished out the invitation, paid for two tickets, and presented them to Dad and then-Stepmother as a Christmas present. We even threw in free babysitting for Space Cadet Sister and Boyfriend-Stealing Baby Sister. I think we had a better time watching them head off to the ball than they had at the ball, though, since the President and the First Lady only made a short appearance.

We eventually left D.C. for colleges all over the country. By the time we graduated, my sisters and I had emerged from our conservative blazer cocoons as raging liberals. Not only had my history courses opened my eyes to the horrors of the Industrial Revolution and unchecked capitalism, but I realized that the GOP had shifted from intellectual capitalists promoting small government to conservative Christian hypocrites promoting the military industrial complex and an oligarchy. Even worse, Republicans didn’t believe in birth control or a woman’s right to choose. And I did.

I worked as a spy for Planned Parenthood, going into so-called “Pregnancy Crisis Centers” and collecting information on the misinformation they gave (and still give) pregnant women. I’ve been locked in rooms and forced to watch propaganda films on aborted fetuses rife with medical inaccuracies. I’ve been lectured on abstinence as the only viable form of birth control and other bullshit where religion was elevated over women’s welfare.

The GOP would never be for me.

Judgmental Genius Doctor Sister’s transformation had more to do with the horrors of battling medical insurers for cancer treatment. She believes in nationalized healthcare.

Brilliant Blonde Lawyer Sister clerked for Important Judges and discovered inequities in employment law. She’s still in the D.C. area, and worked on Tim Kaine’s successful run for Governor of Virginia. Kaine has earned such accolades from Lawyer Sis as “my favorite white guy” and “a man who walks the walk.” She was thrilled when Kaine joined the Clinton ticket (though he refused to take her advice and leave the harmonic at home).

I follow politics on Twitter now, especially the reporters from The Washington Post. I check FiveThirtyEight’s Presidential map and Senate map multiple times a day, and I watch the TV coverage, too, despite the fact that just the sight of Donald Trump’s smug orange face makes me want to puke.

The Presidential Election is my Superbowl, and I’m invested in players from every state in every election cycle, thanks to my dad’s career. But this year, I’m more addicted to the election than ever, and it’s got nothing to do with my father’s impact. It’s all about my mom.

My mother died before any of her daughters went to college.

She never got to see her liberal butterflies sail into battle.

She never got to hear me say, “Damn it, Mom, you were right. I misjudged President Carter and Ferraro.”

She never knew that her ex-husband denounced his fellow Republicans, finally left D.C., joined the Sierra Club, and became a staunch Hillary supporter. (Which is too damned bad, because she would have laughed her ass off.)

She never got to see Hillary Clinton accept the Democratic nomination for President.

She never got to see a well-prepared woman utterly annihilate a puffed-up male pumpkin in the Presidential debates.

But I did. I watched it all, and I pumped my fist in triumph. Repeatedly. And I thought of how happy Mom would be, if she had only lived. It’s the closest I felt to my mom in a long time. When the election is over, I’m going to miss that feeling.

Until Inauguration Day.

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Published by

Autumn Ashbough

WF writing about the humorous perils of life with Chinese-American significant other.

35 thoughts on “The Election Junkie (#154)”

          1. I don’t think Comey screwed over Hillary Clinton, although he tried.

            There aren’t any true undecided voters anymore (and if they say they are undecided, I bet they’re lying), so I doubt that his attempted smear will alter anyone’s vote.

            But the Republicans should be concerned. I bet there is more compromising information out there regarding Trump, things much more damaging than gropergate, and who knows if that information will be leaked before the election?

            I expect the election to be close. The voting electorate has been divided between the Rs and Ds by around 6% anyway. No landslide next month.

            1. I dunno. I think Trump was right when he said he had people who would support him even if he shot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue. If they are still voting for him after everything that’s already come out, we’d need video of him killing puppies.

              1. Both Clinton and Trump have diehard supporters; that’s nothing new.

                But it looks like Comey is beginning to flame out and revelations that he witheld information potentially damaging to Trump is beginning to surface. Looks like Comey miscalculated.

                And Clinton’s poll numbers are steady, as well as Trump’s. No surprises so far. It’s a matter of voter turnout.

                1. Clinton’s supporters seem to be quieter, though. (Bernie’s supporters were almost as loud as Trump’s, though somewhat better behaved.) I hope Clinton’s ground game is effective. I guess we will see in a week.

                  1. Ground game definitely counts.

                    Remember the 2012 Presidential election? President Obama won 51.1% of the popular vote, or 65.9M votes. In comparison, Romney won 47.2% of the popular vote, or 60.9M votes. Obama edged out Romney, winning by only 3.9% more votes, or approximately 4.9M votes. Put in perspective, the population of LA County is around 10M people, and the population of NYC is about 8M. The difference is equivalent to half the population of LA County and less than the population of NYC.

                    2012 was a close election, vote-wise. 2016 will probably be close as well.

  1. Damn. “She never got to see a well-prepared woman utterly annihilate a puffed-up male pumpkin in the Presidential debates.” Lol. Too bad, it was rich, wasn’t it?! Yeah… can’t wait for her landslide victory over the pumpkin.

  2. I agree with you on many levels but will be glad to see the election over. There are some notable differences though besides the orange (how does he get his face so orange anyway?). I live in a battleground state. Both candidates are here weekly. We are bombarded with TV ads both national and local (our senate race is important as the incumbent is a Republican). What I don’t see are posters on people’s lawns or get political callers. I don’t miss them. They are MIA in this election (and I hope I didn’t jinx myself).

    1. Oh, the election inundation is so much worse when you’re a battleground state. I think PA is as bad as it gets this year.

      Except maybe NH, where anyone with a “Hillary/ Kaine” sign loses it within 24 hours. Interestingly enough, the Trump signs stay up.

      Trump needs to lay off the bronzer like his supporters need to lay off the opposition’s signs. 🙂

      I think it only got nasty in California during the primary, when I saw several “Hillary For President” signs turned into “Hillary For Prison” signs.

    1. Issa is surviving…so far. The fact that he knew California National Guard re-enlistees were getting their bonuses revoked by the Pentagon for two years and did nothing, might hurt him, though, especially since he’s running against an ex-military opponent.

      Yeah, it’s not nearly as bad in our state as it is in many others. Only the local election for the California Legislature has gotten nasty, what with mailers implying that one candidate supports perverts as teachers. Nice, huh?

  3. Oh the US elections that is some serious madness. I mean I always thought we have some messed up system and candidates here but you certainly have some fearful stuff going on. In case I’d be an American citizen i would also vote for Hillary even though I do not think she is the best possible person who could be elected but I would do so in order to stop someone certain insane, terrible, disgusting and whatnot all else Drumpf!

      1. Just look at the current German situation and you will feel sick as well…we have now some right wing party gaining more and more popularity getting seats in different states each elections for the past half year or so. In some states they are even the second highest ranked party!!! They want stuff like getting rid of state help for single moms, ban homosexual and eforcing them to register officially as being gay (same stuff as Nazi Germany with the Jews back then), lower taxes for the rich and increase tax for the poor, getting rid of state help for foreigners (would count me in as I payed most taxes to a foreign country and barely anything here + my foreign wife…) and many more insanities and still people vote for them! Even my own brother !

  4. Politics is such a battlefield. What has been going on in America over the last year has been astounding. I wonder if any of us saw Trump coming, and how far he has come is rather amazing. As Timo said, if I were a US citizen I’d vote for Hillary just because I don’t want someone who constantly puts his foot in the mouth. In Australia, politics here is equally wild, with a lot of open sledging and criticising of parties and political opponents be it on TV or open debates.

  5. Meanwhile in Spain we finally have a government after 10 months and 2 elections. And it’s a government that has dozens of open cases for corruption, embezzlement and other beautiful things. Yaaay!

    I see in the image that there are more parties in the US apart from Democrats and Republicans, who would have thought 😛

  6. I love this post Autumn!! I’m so jealous of your childhood and your ‘inside scoop’ into the DC life and politics. What a fun (or perhaps complicated?) household to grow up in! And I’m sure your mom is proud.. I’m glad you left the dark side of the force 😉

    The president and issues in foreign policy are so, so important. After studying North Korea and Syria extensively this quarter, it’s obvious to see how Bush Jr. and his senseless actions contributed to the mess that is Syria and strained US-North Korea relations.

    That’s why I fear a Trump president. All of the professors in my program publically denounced Trump, and I fear he will do way, way more damage than Bush Jr. Go Hillary!!!

    1. Thanks, Mary!

      The Dark Side wasn’t as obviously dark when I was a youngster…that’s how it seduces you!

      UGH. Bush. UGH. So many wrong steps on so many levels. The Middle East is massively destabilized, thanks to those fake WMD.

  7. I’ve never lived in DC, but even in our cool NW corner of the country, my husband and I watched the news every night. When we were dating, we sat in his car or on the stairs of my apartment building arguing about the Vietnam War. Predictably he was more of a hawk than I approved of.

    Then we moved overseas, and even though one of our neighbors was a pilot who was always away on bombing missions over Vietnam, it became really hard to keep up with American politics. So, we became interested in the politics of the Philippines and other Asian countries were my husband worked and traveled.

    I remember one home leave when we visited friends who lived in DC and sat around their living room watching the Democratic Convention, listening to Mario Cuomo’s excellent speech.

    Then, about ten years after we moved to the Philippines, CNN International arrived, and we were ecstatic.

    I’ve also been an election junkie this year. I’ve tried not to say too much on Facebook. I hate to antagonize some of my classmates and my in-laws. (I already had a brief run-in with my brother-in-law.) But let me just say, Trump is a narcissistic monster and a clear danger to our country and the world. Enough said. Most of what’s been said about Hillary is unsubstantiated and based on years of Republican inventions. She’s too much of our time for people who want to turn back the clock. Worst of all, she’s a woman.

    1. Yes, CNN was a huge break through for news — that must have been fabulous! Now I tend to watch the PBS News Hour, because I cannot stand Trump coverage by Lewandowski on CNN and the fiction that he’s impartial. Such bullshit.

      FB is where I can say what I really think as Autumn, since none of my conservative relatives/ friends are friends with me. I have to be a lot more circumspect on my real FB page. It’s amazing how many people bought into the “Hillary is the Devil” propaganda. There are fascinating articles on how it happened, but it’s basically Republican propaganda feeding misogyny.

      1. Ah! That’s what I need, a pseudonym for Facebook.

        CNN isn’t my favorite now, but it was all we had in Manila for foreign news.

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