Now that the President seems to be getting his comeuppance from the Virus, everybody backs off about his outrageous and unrelenting lies, fraudulent businesses, dereliction as Commander-in-Chief of the Public Health Service, torture of asylum seekers and their children, his avowed abuse of women, and his accelerating assault on democracy itself. Americans don't kick a man when he's down. Not sure about women. The "base" (as interviewed on NPR) is spinning this as the courageous hero who risked death by defying "The Deep State" only to get struck down out of the blue by an illness that could happen to anybody, and nobody could have predicted, life's so unfair.
Now what? There are six- and ten-point listicles up and down the web explaining now what. Without bothering to look, I can guess that the President wins under every conceivable scenario except the President's own demise, and I'm not at all sure about that.
For instance, suppose he recovers. Now he's invincible, and goes back to spitting incoherence in whatever "debates" are staged, and Biden smiles condescendingly, or worse, takes the "Aw, come on, man..." approach. You can't debate a bully, because, well, that's what bullying is: winning by turning the board upside-down. He insisted on seeing Biden's medical records? Fine, bring your tax records and compare dementias. But none of that. The next one will probably be a contest to see who can hit himself with a hammer the most times. That'll demonstrate leadership.
Or, he's not rendered permanently hors-de-combat, so he's running from his sickbed. Campaign ads will show a bloody-but-unbowed Red Badge of Courage trailer. OMG, they're already trotting out Glenn Beck footage on the PBS channels.
Or, Heaven forfend, he expires. Now we have his under-study, fresh from being face-planted by Vice-Presidential Candidate Harris. In other words, he will have won by being persecuted, just like Jesus. The Son of Man will then "debate" Joe Biden. I'd almost stay up to watch that. Probably an argument over what unspeakable sin Biden must have committed to get Jobed so harshly by the Almighty.
We might be asking ourselves how long we're going to continue pretending there's an election going on. Even before this great honking sabot was thrown in the gears, the election process was already sabotaged until the remains were unrecognizable without dental records. The President, recently identified by intrepid journalists as the hands-down winner in the contest to start the most conspiracy-theories, had succeeded in utterly destroying public trust, from the highest office thereof in the world.
We don't have a backup plan for that. We're playing out the charade even though everybody guessed right away what it represents, like bored guests at the Masque of the Red Death.
The public discourse, which had never been all that coherent even with the advent of the Information Age, is so polluted now that there is no way to gauge the political terrain, and "polls" are a major part of that difficulty. The media don't give a rip, their business is booming. Marketing and "herding" algorithms have given each of us a separate worldview, so none of them are even close to the worlds they represent, and they all seem to entail desperate urgency to do something, anything. Anything at all.
Maybe it's not so bad. Possibly the armed thugs the President has put on "standby" won't materialize in anywhere near the numbers we are encouraged to fear. But who wants to go to the polls and see? Possibly there really were no "white suburban housewives" lining up to catch one of the infected MAGA hats flung by the Dear Leader at his rallies, as he lost his sense of smell. (Taste? Never had any of that in the first place.)
Possibly the hundreds of thousands of voters who have been purged, deleted, misdirected, intimidated, deprived of access to a ballot, or otherwise dissuaded from even trying, will show up anyway, and all demand provisional ballots, in such numbers that even the Supreme Court will have to permit a do-over for the first time in American history.
Do you believe any of that?
I'll go out on a limb here. Well, just kidding, the following has to be a joke, and I fervently hope it remains so (but somebody is probably tweeting it already): Maybe, just maybe, this whole election is rigged to elect Joe Biden, by pitting him against a rapidly decompensating psychopath, this being the only way to make him "electable" in a world that's now so intimate with itself on Zoom.
In this vehemently untrusting climate, it's just the sort of thing I'd expect from the party -- my party -- that repeatedly dangles and jerks away the candidates everyone really wants, in a bait-and-switch Lucy-and-the-football ploy almost certain to blow the game. Again.
Without that Peanuts scam we might have give Bernie a landslide. Golly. Probably would have saved at least 150,000 people from preventable, agonizing death.
But only a story predicts the future. And stories are all we've got now. Facts have been given "alternatives" and rendered useless. There's no way to do the math now.
We'll just have to wait and see.
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