US Election: Long Term Effects

I’ll cut right to the TL:DR- No matter who wins, everybody panic, because we’re all going to die.

So, here’s the thing that worries me about the upcoming election: In EVERY possible outcome, I see a major disaster. Everybody I talk to seems focused on the sole goal of defeating Trump- It’s not that that isn’t extremely important, it’s that it is the only answer I ever get to any kind of question.

Historically, I can’t think of a single horrific event that didn’t start with telling the critics “yes, yes, but RIGHT NOW…” I’m not in any way saying that Trump would be any kind of good thing- I’m asking if people have given serious thought to what happens next.

There are fundamentally three things that scare me:

#1: Blowback.
Both parties are on the verge of schism or collapse, the country is insanely polarized, and both major candidates are complete lighting rods for every ounce of the opposition’s hate. Meanwhile, Bernie supporters are rightfully ready to abandon the Democrats for getting screwed in the primaries; while actual conservatives are abandoning the Republicans over Trump.

If Trump wins, I think he will effectively destroy the GOP completely.
If Clinton wins, I think the DNC will be severely weakened at a time when the GOP is most able to whip it’s base into action.

I honestly feel like whichever party loses this election will be able to leverage their rage against the other side’s disillusionment and sweep the following midterms.

This brings us to #2:

#2: Trump is not the biggest threat.

Don’t get me wrong- He’s a walking talking nuclear strike. But the worst case scenario? No. It’s the Republicans getting enough power to rewrite the Constitution at will. It doesn’t matter who sits on the Supreme Court if the document they’re defaulting to literally says “No abortion, no gay marriages”.

Do you actually realize how close they are?

6 State legislatures.

The GOP currently controls 31 state legislatures. They need 37 to ratify a constitutional amendment. They control Trifectas (governor, house, senate) in 23 states. In Iowa, they only need 2 seats. In Kentucky, it’s 4. 9 in Maine, 6 in New Mexico.

If they only pick up IA and KY- 6 people- They have enough of a majority to call a constitutional convention.

I am terrified that a Clinton White House win will rally enough red states to control that magic 3/4 of state legislatures that will let them ratify an amendment.

How likely is it that we could lose the war by winning the battle, or vice versa? Again, I’m not advocating one position or the other, I’m asking if anyone has thought this stuff through beyond the next 2 months. Is it worth 2 years of Trump to virtually destroy the GOP? Is it worth letting them repeal the First Amendment if it stops him?

I’m freaking out because neither option seems worth the risk.

And just because there’s always room to make things worse…

#3: Climate change is a ticking time bomb. So is the economy.

I don’t trust anyone running to actually address these things in a meaningful way. By meaningful, I mean something that will have a measurable effect in not just slowing, but reversing the trends that are pointing towards an inevitable collapse.

Yes, Trump and Johnson would do nothing. Clinton would probably push higher fuel economy, maybe some subsidies for renewable energy, enhanced cap & trade.

All of which, quite frankly, are as good as doing nothing. We need a complete end to fossil fuels, and it has to happen 20 years ago. Not tomorrow. Not 8 years from now. Sometime around 1995.

I mean, for fuck’s sake, the oceans are dying. If they go, we all go with them. We’re literally headed towards an extinction level event, and the best we can do is make a few token gestures at reducing our pollution output to a slightly less catastrophic amount.

And the truly awful thing is, that this 4-8 years of inaction and just waiting for the biosphere to collapse, is our best case scenario.

I mean, sure- We’ll all be dead or living in some post-apocalyptic hellscape, but at least we stopped Trump, had a woman president, and were briefly able to buy a rainbow wedding cake before the food riots kicked in.

Oh, and there’s also the thing that even our best case scenario, Clinton winning and against all odds actually taking on Wall Street and the oil companies, normalizes the idea that having one family in power for multiple administrations is an okay thing. Maybe Jeb can run again in '24. Chelsea should be primed and ready to take over in '28, when we formally discard elections in favor of a back-and-forth system between the royal houses.

And that’s our best case.

Jesus. I need a hug.


Elon Musk’ll have Mars colonized soon, right?


From Charlie Stross:


Even if he did, what makes you think us proles gets to ride in his ship? We get to stick it out here, while the elites get a lift to the red planet.


Can we maybe just tell them that the Earth is doomed and that the rocket will bring them to Mars?

They don’t have to know it’s only a model.

Primed with a powerful explosive.


i don’t think the democratic party is being weakened by this election. the biggest threat to the democratic party is going to be from an influx of former republicans looking for somewhere to go if the republican party breaks up into a trump/tea party faction and a traditional republican faction. especially of the trump faction gains the upper hand in the party hierarchy. you have to know that the greatest hope of the establishment republicans is that trump just doesn’t have the attention span to turn the party in his image.

the state legislatures are probably the greatest threat progressives face from this situation since many of the most important voting blocs in the democratic party don’t get out and vote during off-year elections which is when most state legislatures have their elections.


Aw, why can’t we just Golgafrincham-B-ship them?


Ah, yes. I had meant to mention that one as well before I got distracted by the sheer abject horror of, well, everything else.

Take all the big money donors who are abandoning the GOP and putting their money into their other best option for a return.

Now add the fact that instead of moving further left to reclaim the Bernie supporters they’ve alienated, the Democrats are instead trying to go after the disaffected Republican voters.

The closest thing we have historically, is the reversal of party positions after the southern strategy-except this time around, instead of the Republicans becoming conservative and the Democrats becoming liberal, we’ll have the Democrats becoming conservative, the Republicans becoming radical right wingers, and nobody on the left side of the spectrum-despite the fact that that where the majority of the countrys attitudes are moving.


That would be because their actual constituents are very conservative (in the “we want nothing to change” meaning) immortal megacorps, so of course there’s been a shift in that direction.

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I’d expect immortal beings to care about the next few years, decades, centuries, etc.

You need a medal for this post.

#2018 is a point of no return AND it’s a midterm election.

Midterm elections are hard to get people excited about. We need to win seats this election to barely lose next election. (And we will lose.)


Not when they’re forcibly fixated on quarterly returns. It’s a perfect storm–immortal so long as nothing chanes, and a forced focus on the short term to keep from acknowledging possible change.


Well, this is a hopeful sign.

(I think we’re so ready for Clinton to tack right that we’re hypersensitive to signs of this - like some Republicans leaning her way - and not paying attention to any evidence of the contrary.)


my understanding of the history of the u.s. party system is that a two party equilibrium state is inevitable because of the electoral college choke point in the presidential elections. every time in our history when there has been a realignment of the parties leading to a split into 3 or 4 parties it has led very quickly back into 2 parties within 1-2 presidential election cycles. if there is a realignment beginning to happen now, which is not guaranteed but certainly more likely than it might have seemed 10-12 years ago, it’s most likely to happen in the republican party.


It’s one of the other frustrating things, is that with the level of disillusionment that everyone seems to have with both established ones, this is the perfect time for a third-party to actually win.

I’m not saying necessarily could happen, I’m saying that if it were ever going to happen, now is the time.

And I also kind of feel like it’s the only way to avoid catastrophic scenarios number one and two. Not that it wouldn’t bring its own share of problems-especially Johnson’s economic policy-but again, I’m seeing a lot of doom and gloom in every other outcome.

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jill stein and gary johnson are much worse candidates than hillary clinton. the overall platforms they support are worse in many particulars for the green party and in almost all ways for the libertarian party than the democratic party platform. if i were to support any third party candidate it would be alyson kennedy. i understand that hillary is an incredibly cautious and utterly conventional democrat but that beats the alternatives before us so thoroughly as to make me irritable to have to keep talking about it.


I give you a long well meant virtual hug from over the pond. hug


I feel like voting is one of the least effective forces through which policy and politicians are made or broken.

Money is the strongest of those forces, and also the one most antithetical toward protecting the environment and keeping the masses healthy, happy, educated and free.

Protest is unreliable, but do enough of it for long enough and it does tend to get shit done… eventually… after lots of struggle and suffering. So much of the social progress we have made has been through protest, through shaming society (and its leaders) into recognizing that the status quo they are so comfortable with is WRONG and must be changed.

But as the OP says, there are multiple time-critical crises, and the voting booth will give us either (A) pretending they don’t exist and do exactly the opposite of what we need to fix them, or (B) wringing our hands and making ineffectual low-effort gestures, while being careful not to provoke the wrath of those who hold the purse strings.

Whoever wins, whoever loses, in 2016 and 2018 and 2020, we have to get up in their faces and make them pay attention. It probably won’t be enough, but it is all we can do.


A realignment can’t happen within one party.

But if the Republicans disintegrate, and the Democrats move right, that does open a space to the left, first in “safe” Democratic districts, and then generally.


Welcome to Elysium. I enjoyed the film but I can see it happening way too easily.