As I understand it, the way this system is supposed to work is as follows. There is just one good, solid reason to vote for the Democratic candidate: to keep out the Republicans, who are so much worse than the Democrats. And there is just one good, solid reason to vote for the Republican candidate: to keep out the Democrats, who are so much worse than the Republicans. Now, you may ask yourself, How is it possible for both sides to be worse at the same time? Well, you are right, that's not possible. Obviously, they have to take turns at becoming the worst. Whoever happens to be in office adds another turn to the downward spiral.
This seems like a good, solid arrangement—if the goal is to produce the most bloated, corrupt, criminal, warmongering, terrorist-coddling, bankrupt government the Earth has ever known—it is, indeed, all of these things. But it has just one tiny flaw: getting people to vote for you by teaching them to hate the other side is effective, but it's purely negative. To introduce a positive, aspirational element, it is necessary to somehow make people feel that it is possible to bring about political change by voting for someone within the Democratic or the Republican party. Of course, this is sheer nonsense, because the only people pulling the strings are the ones who write the checks, and you don't get to vote for any of them. But people don't want to believe that they are completely powerless, and the same people who fell for it in thinking that they could bring about change by voting for Obama are now falling for it again, thinking that they can bring about change by voting for Bernie. No, you can't possibly ever change things by voting for the Democratic/Republican duopoly. Oh, and you can't possibly ever change things by voting against it either. Sorry, Jill Stein.
So that's how it goes, generally, getting worse and worse each time. But things can't just continue to going from bad to worse forever; eventually, something has to give. At some point there must come a phase transition, or an inflection point, or some sort of political collapse scenario. And this year seems somewhat atypical because the quality of the candidates is so poor.
On the Democratic side, we have Hillary the Giant Flying Lizard, but she seems rather impaired by just about everything she has ever done, some of which was so illegal that it will be hard to keep her from being indicted prior to the election. She seems only popular in the sense that, if she were stuffed and mounted and put on display, lots of folks would pay good money to take turns throwing things at her. And then we have Bernie, the pied piper for the “I can't believe I can't change things by voting” crowd. He seems to be doing a good job of it—as if that mattered.
On the Republican side we have Donald and the Seven Dwarfs. I previously wrote that I consider Donald to be a mannequin worthy of being installed as a figurehead at the to-be-rebranded Trump White House and Casino (it is beneath my dignity to mention any of the Dwarfs by name) but Donald has a problem: he sometimes tells the truth. In the most recent debate with the Dwarfs he said that Bush lied in order to justify the invasion of Iraq. Candidates must lie—lie like, you know, like they are running for office. And the problem with telling the truth is that it becomes hard to stop. What bit of truthiness is he going to deliver next? That 9/11 was an inside job? That Osama bin Laden worked for the CIA, and that his death was faked? That the Boston Marathon bombing was staged, and the two Chechen lads were patsies? That the US military is a complete waste of money and cannot win? That the financial and economic collapse of the US is now unavoidable? Even if he can stop himself from letting any more truthiness leak out, the trust has been broken: now that he's dropped the T-bomb, how can he be relied upon to lie like he's supposed to?
And so we may be treated to quite a spectacle: the Flying Lizard, slouching toward a federal penitentiary, squaring off against the Donald the T-bomber. That would be fun to watch. Or maybe the Lizard will implode on impact with the voting booth and then we'll have Bernie vs. the T-bomber. Being a batty old bugger, and not wanting to be outdone, he might drop some T-bombs of his own. That would be fun to watch too.
Not that any of this matters, of course, because the country's trajectory is all set. And no matter who gets elected—Bernie or Donald—on their first day at the White House they will be shown a short video which will explain to them what exactly they need to do to avoid being assassinated. But I won't be around to see any of that. I've seen enough. This summer I am sailing off: out Port Royal Sound, then across the Gulf Stream and over to the Abacos, then a series of pleasant day-sails down the Bahamas chain with breaks for fishing, snorkeling and partying with other sailors (I know, life is so hard!), then through the Windward Passage, a stop at Port Antonio in Jamaica, and then onward across the Caribbean to an undisclosed location. Please let me know if you want to crew. I guarantee that there will be absolutely no election coverage aboard the boat.