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Staying-Sane 2020

by Kevin Kelton

As we count down to election night and then a week or two of uncertainty following it, it’s important that everyone take a step back and settle in for the possibility of BOTH outcomes. With that in mind, here’s a few tips on how to survive the next two weeks:

1) Remember that no election is ever a sure thing. It’s okay to like your chances and feel optimistic. Just remember that no matter which way the polls are leaning, either candidate could win. It’s when you go in to an election night thinking the outcome is certain, that you come out devistated.

2) Realize that history is longer than you and me, and America isn’t falling apart due to any election or presidency. Even given another four years, this guy can’t undo 240. America survived James Buchanan (barely), Andrew Johnson, Grover Cleveland, Warren Harding, Herbert Hoover (barely again), Richard Nixon, and two Reagan terms. (And believe me, plenty of us thought he was pretty awful at the time.) If you don’t know much about these infamous stains on the presidency, listen to a few episodes of the Very Presidential pocast. You’ll learn that Trump is just the latest in a long history of crazy, narcisistic, incompetent a-holes who somehow fooled enough voters to get to the Oval Office. Sure, Trump is worse by far, and a second term would be dreadful. But he won’t dismantle America. He’ll just reset the bar a few notches lower.

3) Know that we’ve had conservative SCOTUS courts before. But a somewhat sane middle tends to emerge. Look at John Roberts. Look at Anthony Kennedy, who was a conservative appointee. Look at Sandra Day O’Connor (a Reagan appointee), David Souter, John Paul Stevens, Earl Warren. All Republican appointees who moved considerably left over time.

4) Read some history to get some perspective. American presidential politics tend to swing to extremes, from Coolidge and Hoover to FDR… from Eisenhower to JFK… from Nixon-Ford to Carter… from Carter to Reagan… from Reagan-Bush to Clinton… from W to Obama… from Obama to this guy. I suspect it will swing again in 2020. But if it takes until 2024 or even 2028, a progressive Democrat will occupy the WH eventually and there will be a new progressive era, with a progressive congress to help move this country in the right direction. Shifting demographics and the arc of history dictate it. You can take that to the bank. (Even to a Chinese bank account.)

5) Reset your priorities. Our job in life is not to obsess over D.C. and MSNBC/FOX all day. All you can do is volunteer in campaigns, donate, advocate, and vote. Then you have to let your representatives (loathesome as some may be) do their jobs while we return to our lives. As everyone in Open Fire knows, I love politics. You probably do too or you wouldn’t be reading this. But it’s not healthy to become obsessed with it. Live you life! Eat good/bad food. Play golf, or travel, or see a show. Make love. Enjoy your kids and grandkids. Do great things at work and build a nest egg. Find Facebook friends you genuinely like go meet them in person to make new real-world friends (as I did recently). Politics – like work, sex, family, sports, and cleaning up your dog’s poop – need not dominate your mind and soul. You don’t have to live every day under Trump’s spell.

6) Finally, take heart. Because I promise you this: this man you detest, he will get his comeupance. He’s too vulnerable and too crazy not to. And because of who he is, it will be gnawing and painful. His marriage is vulnerable. His children are (very) vulnerable. His business is vulnerable. And there will be legal consequences. Nixon fell. Weinstein fell. Cosby fell. OJ fell. Epstein fell. This guy will too. He’s a walking timebomb and his mouth is the lit match. So sit back and wait for the fireworks.

Because THAT show, whether it’s in 2021 or 2023 or 2025, will be freaking awesome!

Kevin Kelton is a cohost of The More Perfect Union podcast and founder of Open Fire Politics.