So here we are, in the closing hours of this abnormal and abysmal election, moving inexorably toward a zero-sum decision about our future. The magnitude of the stakes has generated a level of anxiety and concern that feels unmatched in recent times. People can’t sleep or concentrate. I don’t recall this level of fear about a McCain or Romney presidency, as odious as those prospects may have been to Obama supporters, and for good reason. It is almost impossible to imagine the scope of damage a Trump presidency would do to the nation and the world. Yet to core Trump supporters the stakes are just as irreversible. The America they long for is disappearing and if the candidate who has disingenuously promised to bring it back is defeated by the candidate who believes we are stronger together, what options will be left to them to roll back the social and economic changes of the 21st century by ordinary political means?
The anxiety level among Clinton supporters spiked after the Comey story broke and the media abandoned the narrative of certain Clinton victory. It defies logic that a nation as polarized as ours could lurch from a potential Democratic landslide to a possible Trump victory in less than a week, but in the emotional realm where we experience elections anything short of certainty is terrifying. The prospect of a Trump presidency is so frightening that just entertaining the possibility is enough to cause sleepless nights.
So let’s get back to basics. I have always contended that this election boils down to the simple observation that there are more Clinton voters than Trump voters, where the key unknown is whether they will turn out. We now have ample evidence that they will. We don’t have to wait for Election Day to know this, because they already are.
Look at North Carolina, where the New York Times suggests Clinton holds a strong lead in early voting built on the ballots of new or infrequent voters. Or look at Florida, where Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said early voting was up 52% over 2012 as of Friday, with Latino participation up 120%, Asian-American participation up 90%, Millennial support holding firm and educated suburban women turning out in support of the Democrat.
In Nevada, early turnout parallels 2012, when Obama easily won the state, and it is being fueled by the coalition of ascendant voters that decided the last two presidential elections. Without Nevada it is hard to see a path for Trump, and those who know Nevada politics say there may not be enough Trump voters left to make up the deficit he faces going into Tuesday. Click here and take a look at the images in this NBC story of the final night of early voting in Las Vegas. It is the image of a market in a Latino precinct packed with voters waiting late into the night to cast their ballots, a human line of defense against a Trump presidency.
The most unsettling thing about this election remains how the outcome is more likely to spawn a resistance movement than the usual coming together around shared democratic values. We will need to confront that possibility in the days ahead. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. If it will help you get through the next 48 hours, take charge of what you can control. Canvass if you can. Vote. Take comfort in the many signs that the Clinton coalition is materializing in large numbers in the early balloting. Avoid the manufactured hysteria of cable news and remember that the miracle of democracy is taking place at this very moment. Try to get through the next few days. We’re almost there.