For me, the outcome of the election has been clear for a long time. Disregarding statistics, surveys, polls, and pundits, and relying purely on my gut (what Stephen Colbert might call the inherent truthiness of the matter), I know Romney will lose.* This intuition is the same that told me that it would stop being cool to put feathers in your hair, and that tells me now that Gangam Style isn't going the route of Stairway to Heaven. Not only do I know that Romney will not be elected president, but I know why.
Look back to the election of 2008. What do you remember? I personally recall a time of ideological excitement, of real passion for the political process and its potential to realize the hopes of the people. America was charged with energy for both of the candidates — but especially on the side of the then-newcomer Barack Obama. This enthusiasm manifested itself in a variety of forms. The memes that sprouted from the campaign season are still enjoyed and parodied today. Who can forget the SNL impersonations, Obamagirl (who sang the YouTube hit "I've Got a Crush on Obama," channelling the lusts of young liberal women everywhere,) and the endless realizations of the HOPE stencil posters? It wasn't just popular culture that reacted to the political frenzy. Record numbers turned out in support of both Obama and McCain, with the highest number of ballots cast in the history of the U.S. ultimately leading to a win for Obama that was the biggest in 12 years.
Now go back four more years, to the election of 2004. There, though the memories are foggier, a little googling and common sense tells me that people weren't as fired up about Kerry. But did Bush win because of his overwhelming popularity? Not so much. Rather, faced with two uncompelling options, people stuck with the Texan that had once drawn them to the ballot box.
Maybe I'm crazy, but this sounds awfully familiar. Tomorrow, Americans will be forced to choose what seems to many to be the lesser of two evils. The two big names on the ballot fill Americans like me with mixed feelings: remembrance of a promise of change, but also disappointment in a lackluster commitment to those ideals, and the nagging notion that switching things up might be the key to jumpstarting the economy. After a bloated and frankly miserable campaign season (make that two campaign years) the candidates have merged into a Hydra of dull discontent, where cutting off a talking head only sprouts two more identical and equally dismaying creatures that can only truly be banished with the slash of the pen across the ballot on November 6.
In the end, I think this will play out in Obama's favor. There are individuals who were once fervent Obama supports, but I can't say that I've met many people, if any, who are fired up about Romney. I will admit that I voted for Obama. But, in all honesty, it wasn't out of dedication to the Democratic party or love for the president's first term. I can only wish that once the election is finally over, the president will have the chance to be more than a faded fad, but the electrifying leader we remember from this time four years ago. Mainly, my vote went to Obama because of my pure antipathy towards Mitt Romney. Nothing in him inspires me; something about Obama once did.