Craig Frucht | Road to November
The storm before the calm
Published: Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 07:11
Tonight, God willing, we will reach the end of the road to November.
I say that because there are innumerable ways that the election could get drawn out beyond tonight, or even tomorrow morning. In fact, the worst−case scenarios — a recount or a protracted court battle — could leave us without a clear winner until well past Thanksgiving.
As you read this, thousands of attorneys are descending upon the swing states, preparing to unleash a barrage of lawsuits if their candidate loses by a narrow enough margin. No, the room temperature didn’t just drop 20 degrees; that was just your skin crawling.
There are a number of reasons to dread the prospect of a drawn−out legal dispute. The most frightening is that it would prolong the possibility that a man who thinks ending gender discrimination means making sure women can be home to cook dinner on time could become the leader of the free world.
The sooner the election ends, the sooner the media can stop subordinating coverage of Hurricane Sandy’s destruction to endless — and mostly clueless — prognostications about what’s going to happen tonight. And the sooner Congress can turn its attention to the looming fiscal cliff, which, if not acted upon, will trigger automatic spending cuts and tax hikes at the beginning of 2013 that will cause the economy to slide back into recession.
But none of those reasons really explains why I’m so, so desperate for this election to be over.
I’m hoping against hope that we have a winner by tomorrow morning because this has been the most dispiriting campaign in our lifetimes.
Over the last four years, we’ve watched in horror as one political party held the nation’s economy hostage to their bitterness over having been ousted from office after eight years of abject failure.
If you think I’m just blowing liberal smoke then consider this: Since Democrats regained control of the Senate in January 2007, there have been more filibusters than there were from the start of World War I all the way through the Reagan Administration — a 74−year period.
And yet we’ve watched Romney put on the same plastic smile day after day and blame President Obama for the slow−to−improve economy after his party’s obstinacy held it up, and even brought the nation to the brink of default. And we’ve watched Romney nakedly exploit every American misfortune from high unemployment to the Benghazi terrorist attack for political gain.
We’ve watched as a candidate for president wasn’t taken to task by the media for walking away from the centerpiece of his economic plan, a windfall tax break, on national television. We’ve watched as Romney has cherry−picked Obama’s most popular initiatives — coverage for preexisting conditions, federal funding for education and tax breaks for the middle class — and claimed them for his own agenda without offering so much as a hint about how he would pay for them.
And for all his flip−flops on taxes, gay marriage, abortion and immigration, we’ve watched Romney criticize Obama for sticking with the same agenda for four years — an agenda that’s been largely successful — even as Romney himself offers no sensible proposals for how to lower the nations’ unemployment rate or bring down its healthcare costs.
I want this election to be over because I want to know the government will build upon the progress of the last four years — health reform, student loan reform, tax reform and Wall Street reform — instead of working to undo it. And I want to know that this country’s political system is above letting a candidate exploit other peoples’ hardships as a campaign tactic.
I want to know that we can do better than the likes of Mitt Romney.
Craig Frucht is a senior majoring in political science and psychology. He can be reached at Craig.Frucht@tufts.edu.