In the days, weeks, and months leading up to any presidential election, the punditocracy and the news media are full of bold predictions and guarantees as to who will win the election. At the risk of sounding absolutely correct, I will declare that most of these people will be wrong. In such a tight race, anyone who claims to know the result is fooling themselves.
On the Daily Show Monday night, Jon Stewart pointed out that there is no reckoning for pundits. He compared pundits predicting elections to a game of musical chairs where the chairs are never removed. “They just keep adding chairs!” Pundits can consistently make wrong predictions and never own up to them because that is the nature of their business. Nobody knows who will win the election but they get paid to pretend to know and then when they are wrong everybody forgets in a couple of days.
In spite of this, I will throw in my two cents and make one prediction, that this election will leave a lot of people really pissed off. In an election this close, about half of the voting population will see a candidate they’ve been trained to demonize over the past six months win. And with the overheated rhetoric as to the supposedly historically significant choice this election represents, the more passionate/extremely opinionated voters on either side will not take it lying down. My prediction is that there will be massive protests no matter who wins.
The only scenario I will discuss is the one I think would result in the greatest uproar, similar to the madness that was the Tea Party movement during the health care debate. Suppose Barack Obama wins the Electoral College but not the popular vote. The people on the right wing fringe of the Republican Party, which is becoming more and more mainstream in the Republican Party, have been trying to deny that Barack Obama is the President of the United States for the past four years. They have tried to depict him as the undesirable “other,” now with a close election at hand, the Republican punditocracy is poised to unleash some of the rage they have cultivated in their followers throughout the past four years.
First Obama was a secret Muslim, then he was born in Kenya (see Donald Trump), then he was a racist black nationalist (see Reverend Wright scandal/Rush Limbaugh/Glenn Beck), then they demonized him for his very moderate health care reform, then (thanks to Dinesh D'Souza) he was an anti-colonialist who wants to weaken the U.S. military. Last but not least, the new Obama conspiracy is that he allowed the attack on Bengazi to happen out of the sheer ruthlessness in his heart. Despite the fact that these wild accusations have no basis in reality, huge parts of our population believe them. Also, remember, these parts of our population live in a bubble. A bubble of Fox News and conservative talk radio which tells them they cannot trust any other news sources because of a mythical liberal bias.
If Obama is re-elected and it is very close, as projected, I would predict that the Glenn Becks and the Rush Limbaughs will declare voter fraud. They and the corporately funded Tea Party “grassroots organizations” (see Americans for Prosperity) will try to de-legitimize the election, at least in the eyes of their followers. They will organize protests and they will not accept a Romney defeat in this election if he wins the popular vote. This would simply be too good of an opportunity for these narcissistic, megalomaniac pundits to, once again, manipulate their fan base into causing a major uproar against the president and the fictional agenda they claim he has for the country.
Yes, despite my disdain for pundits predicting elections, I did make a pretty bold prediction but in my defense I am not predicting the result of this election. I am only predicting a reaction to a specific scenario that could very well happen in this very close election, and I am making that prediction based on the four years of irrational hatred disseminated from these right-wing demagogues/infotainment masters to their well-intentioned but horribly manipulated followers.
I hope Obama wins in a landslide and that the right realizes they will have to find a way to cooperate for the sake of our country, but I think that’s unlikely. At least it is unlikely to come from the Rush Limbaughs and Glenn Becks. If Romney loses this election, it will be on the Republicans in Congress to back away from the ideologues on the fringe of their party and find a way to compromise with this moderate centrist democrat they have been trying to make out to be socialist radical.
PolicyMic is following the election coverage here.
Update 11:05 Great to see Elizabeth Warren won Massachusetts and Obama won Pennsylvania. Florida could take weeks. While you're waiting for results, check out the Daily Show's coverage. Hilarious.
Update 11:13 In reference to the title, I think there will be massive protests only if the race is close, and I would not expect so much if Romney is elected.
Update 11:22 Congratulations President Barack Obama