I am now essentially dysfunctional. I stew, I fret, I sign up for poll work, I play endless games of Spider Solitaire [two suits] and FreeCell, and I wait. Many times each day I check Nate Silver's statistical forecast. Nate says there is a 6 in 7 chance that the Democrats take the House and a 1 in 7 chance that they take the Senate. But then, he said Clinton had a 95% chance of winning the Presidency. So I wait.
My brightest moment in the recent past occurred on Tuesday, when I successfully purchased and used a MetroCard at LaGuardia, enabling me to take the M60 bus from Terminal C to 116th and Bway direct, and then take the same bus from 116th and BWay back, all for a total of $2.75 each way, instead of the $45 taxi fare each way that I have been forking over. The bus takes maybe eight to fifteen minutes longer, but is actually rather more pleasant. A triumph!
It was Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush’s Secretary of Defense, who said memorably, as he launched the Second Gulf War, “You go to war with the army you have, not the army you want.” I take roughly the same view of electoral politics. Is this the Democratic Party I want? No. Do I even want the Democratic Party? No. But this is the army I have, and victory is better than defeat.
There was one brief moment in my life when, seduced by despair, I contemplated voting Republican. It was in 1968, and I thought that things could only get better if they first got worse. In the voting booth on Amsterdam Avenue, north of Columbia University, I reached my hand out to pull the lever for Nixon rather than Humphrey. But deep in my reptile brain was a protective circuit that closed, making my arm go rigid, and after I recovered, I found that I had voted the straight Democratic ticket.
And so I wait.