(Warning: This post discusses political theory. If you do not care for such things, might I suggest this lovely photo essay about our cat A? We will return to our regularly scheduled chaos tomorrow).
I assume as you are reading this (and certainly as I am writing this) that no clear winner has been determined the Quadrennial Hunger Games we call the Great American Presidential Election. The General Services Administration quite rightly stated that until the election was certified, there is no winner (in my one fit of pique: Media does not declare winners. The system established in The Constitution does).
But not having a winner does not mean there are many losers. There are plenty of those to go around:
1) The US Voting System: If this election has shown anything which I think that all sides can agree on, it is that that US Election system is only slightly above that voting for a 5th grade class president. Voting should be a serious business, and the way we go about it is not: drive through, walk-up, parachuting in, carrier pigeon, unsigned, scrawled, lost in the mail, found in a trunk. The rest of the world must seriously be looking at us and shaking their heads. As they should be.
It makes a certain sense: both major parties benefit at different times from such a system and so they do nothing to fix it. If a politician truly wanted to make themselves the head of a movement, voting reform would be an easy one to do.
2) The Reds: It is rare to have members of a party vote against an incumbent and the Reds have done little if anything to curb that. That is the current office holder's benefit and curse: to paraphrase Yoda, "Like or Hate, there is no Maybe". I know individuals that voted for in the last Quadrennial Hunger Games that did not vote that way this time; it may prove to be the undoing.
That said, the current office holder is not going away in the event of a loss. To think any other way is to ignore that fierce loyalty engendered and demonstrated over the last month. Whoever the next candidate is for the next Quadrennial Hunger Games will have to figure out a way to capture that loyalty - or at least no offending it.
3) The Blues: The Blues, should they win, will be trapped by the fact that their coalition consists of two groups: moderates and the "Burn It All Down". They cannot cater too much to the "Burn It All Down" lest they destroy their moderate base; they cannot cater too much to the moderates lest the "Burn It All Down" decide (literally) to burn it all down. The spectacle of watching they support positions which they mocked as recently as six months ago and the unmitigated scorn and hate they will receive is will be amusing as it is tragic.
4) The Media: As with item 1, it should be relatively apparent that the medias has lost any pretense of being neutral. They now view themselves as "King Makers" - determiners of policy instead of reporters of it. "A Free Press" as enshrined in the 1st Amendment should not be confused with a "Free to Determine the Fate of Countries" item.
If the Reds win, it will be business as usual. If the Blues win, the media will be in the awkward position of having to maintain a veneer of neutrality. As an observer, I sincerely doubt they are up to the task. More likely, the Blues will have to offer periodic sacrifices of lower level apparatchiks to demonstrate they do not play favorites.
The other issue is that this is pressing forward the rise of the alternative InterWeb Press. They can pretend they still hold the only keys to legitimate reporting, but that will ultimately be determined by the consumers, not the gatekeepers.
5) Social Media: As you know, I continue to maintain a presence on The Book of Face, mostly to occasionally post pictures for my parents and track my group activities. After years of hearing people say they are doing it, I am shocked at the amount of people I see bailing on The Book of Face for alternative social media venues. I cannot vouch for any of these (current favorites seem to be Parler and MeWe), but that fact that people are finally doing it is amazing (and, might I say, a bit delicious in the fact that they are posting about leaving The Book of Face on The Book of Face).
This is a problem for The Book of Face, and Tweetter, and other associated social media platforms. If people leave, you eventually lose revenues. And, you run the risk of being labeled a site that only caters to one element of the population. When people stop connecting because they no longer want to connect, your purpose as a social media - a platform for people to connect - becomes a bit unsustainable.
Which leads us to:
6) The American People: If this year's Quadrennial Hunger Games has demonstrated anything, it is that the American People are farther apart than ever and that cries of unity are pretty much going to fall on deaf ears. As the Blues made no effort since the 2016 Quadrennial Hunger Games to "just get along", the Reds are under no compulsion to do so (nor, frankly, should they. What is good for the goose is good for the gander). And no matter who comes out of top, it going to leave a slightly more fractured mess to go forward than before.
There will ultimately only be one winner. But sadly, there are plenty of losers.
(Alright, I am taking a chance. Principles only, not politics please. Do not disappoint me.)