It is pretty easy to live online without being aware you are in a bubble. If all you read are liberal or conservative sites your understanding of the current American Presidential election is likely to be deeply distorted. There are even different sets of polling numbers depending on which side of the aisle you are getting your information from.
Whether you are in the “Literally Hitler” bubble or the “Most corrupt presidential candidate ever” bubble, you can pretty much avoid contact with any information which does not reinforce your views. But, in six days, the bubbles will collide and one of the narratives is going to collapse in the face of actual electoral results. The other bubble will take its victory as confirmation that its narrative was right all along and that the people who did not accept that narrative are either stupid or evil.
Which means that one group of Americans are going to wake up on November 9 disoriented, stunned, angry and feeling a deep sense of betrayal. Unlike previous elections where there has been at least a veneer of objectivity and non-partisanship in the media, in this election, the major media has been all in for Hillary. Which, in the post-election period may make it even more difficult for the losing side to understand and accept its loss because the “talking heads” will either be completely at a loss themselves or will spend their time congratulating each other on their perspicacity.
The collision of the bubbles will be especially nasty if, as I suspect it will be, the election is not even close. A tight win for either side will allow the other side to console itself with just how close it came. But a romp will bring into question the entire narrative of the losing side.
For Trump supporters a loss, especially a large loss, will bring up the dark underside of American politics: vote fraud, rigging, Soros controlled voting machines, a rigged media, the failure of the FBI to indict when it had the chance. But, realistically, many Trump supporters have already baked this into their narrative and their understanding of the Trump phenomena. They want to win but, grimly, they expect to lose.
Hillary supporters faced with a big loss will, I suspect, resemble the losers in Brexit who were in shock that a bunch of provincial yahoos could somehow destroy the metropolitan consensus. Supporting Hillary is regarded as something of an IQ test by her supporters. It’s pass/fail and if you fail you are obviously not the sort of person a Hillary supporter would want as a friend.
A Trump landslide would suggest to Hillary supporters that America is on a forced march back to the dark ages of the 1950’s where women stayed home and “negros” knew their place. It is not an America they are prepared to accept. Worst of all, hardcore Hillary supporters expect to win as of right. After all, they got the top marks, went to the right college, have the responsible jobs. As a class Hillary supporters see Hillary winning as an affirmation of their own status as the leaders America needs.
On Tuesday one of these bubbles will burst. If Trump comes up short I expect his supporters will accept the result and look forward to the indictment of Clinton and her enablers. But if Hilly loses I am afraid we can look forward to a very long, very loud, whine and about a million words in print on “How America Lost Its Way.”
Trump’s people are cynics. They have been beaten too many times, ignored all too often, taken for granted by their own party and despised by the other party. They don’t expect to get a fair shake and will be astonished and elated if they, somehow, manage to break through. They will not be in the least bit surprised if Trump loses.
Hillary’s people are true believers. They can trace the great, progressive, wave in American politics all the way back to FDR and have been taught to regard the Nixon and Reagan Presidencies as aberrations and Bush I and II as abominations. Elections in which the Democratic candidate loses are historic mistakes, disastrous deviations from the path to righteousness laid down in the sixties and seventies. Hillary’s defeat is a falling away from this great procession to the liberal city on the hill. For Hilly supporters defeat, especially defeat at the hands of a New York rube billionaire, is a repudiation not only of their crooked candidate but also of the New Deal and the Great Society and whatever it was that Obama stood for. It is “The End”.
Now, personally, I don’t much like Trump but, the happy thought of Hillary’s awful, self-entitled, elite supporters bawling their eyes out and saying really pompous things about the end of the American Project, fills me with dirty delight. There are plenty of reasons for my American friends not to vote for Hillary, but a vote for Trump will not only “drain the swamp” it will also annoy all the right people. Worth doing just for that.