Elections bring out the worst in people, like storms bring out earthworms and manure piles bring out flies.
To save you some heartache, I’m going to look into my crystal ball and tell you exactly what’s going to happen between now and the midterms. That way you can take a vacation from cable news and social media until it’s all over but the voting.
First we’ll have the candidates, some who think that just because they’re opinionated they should be in charge. There are also plenty who are motivated by power, greed, or a chance to see themselves on a billboard. But most are running for office because they sincerely want to make the world better. And I, for one, am just grateful that someone wants the job.
I also admire their fortitude. I cannot imagine the courage and stamina it takes to survive that gauntlet that is a political campaign. I’m only watching and I can barely stand it.
The campaigns will be as brutal as ever. Candidates will have access to the most expensive free speech money can buy, and how will they use it? They’ll recount every mistake their opponent has made dating back to fifth grade, call them dim-witted evildoers or worse and then challenge them to run a positive campaign focusing on the issues.
And at the end of every ad, they’ll say “I’m So-and-So and I approve of this message.” And I’ll think, “Really. You do?” Because I would never talk about other people that way—at least not when they’re in earshot.
Then there’s us, the electorate, though electorate is a funny name to call us when the only electing many of us do is electing not to participate. I know you vote though. And I do. And we both mind our manners too. But as we near the election, plenty of people we know will behave as badly as the party they think behaves badly.
The two sides will agree there are some real whack-a-doodles out there. They just won’t agree on who they are. Nor will they ever see a whack-a-doodle in the mirror.
The pundits will blather on. Those who agree with them will think they should be canonized. Those who don’t will think they should be cannon fodder.
Facebook users will rant and rave and share stories so bizarre they could only come from a tabloid journalist, a Russian fiction writer or the other candidate’s campaign staff.
Some of their friends will like what they post and some will unfriend them. And some will threaten to move to Canada if the other side wins, much to the pleasure of the other side and the dismay of the Canadians.
There will be polls and more polls. One side will point to them and say “See. They love us.” The other side will say, “We don’t pay attention to polls.” And when the polls switch, so will their opinions about polls.
Eventually Election Day will arrive, and not a moment too soon. If the campaign went on any longer, there would be a civil war.
Some people will vote; many will not. And in the end, someone will win. I’m sorry my crystal ball doesn’t tell me who. And you read all this way. But it does tell me that billions of dollars will have been spent, enough to repair every road and bridge in the country, bring every school up to par and pay every politician’s legal bills.
The two sides will finally agree on one thing. They’re happy it’s over—for now.
And no one will move to Canada, much to the relief of the Canadians. They’ve seen how we act during election years.
(Dorothy Rosby is the author of several humor books, including I Used to Think I Was Not That Bad and Then I Got to Know Me Better. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.)