The Happy Guide to the Midterms
Somehow, it all works out in the end.
This week we’re doing TNB on Tuesday night to talk about the election results in real time. The livestream will start at 9:30 p.m. in the East.
Mark it down now. It’ll be the best way to watch the returns. I promise.
Now I want to try something different. Let’s be optimistic.
1. The Cake Is Baked
Whatever is going to happen tomorrow will happen. You should absolutely go and vote. If you can help bring people to the polls, that’s great, too. There will be some races decided by a handful of votes and you never know if one of those races will be in your backyard.
But at the macro level, this cake is now baked.
I don’t have a Certified JVL Is Always Right prediction, but I’m going with a baseline assumption that, if democracy is your lodestar, you’re going to come out of tomorrow disappointed and/or alarmed.
The future as it unspools from this point onward is likely to be more chaotic than most people imagine. We’ll have fights over Ukraine and the debt ceiling and impeachment. God forbid a Supreme Court justice passes on to the next life. Donald Trump will become a declared candidate for president. Democrats will be contemplating replacing a sitting president on the ballot for the first time since LBJ.
And those are just the known loci of chaos.
Events will probably intercede, too. Because there are always events.
Looking at this future timeline does not fill me with an excess of confidence. You can see your way to Orbánism from here.
Things fall apart.
But also, sometimes—a lot of times—things work out. Not perfectly. Not without some pain.
And not because anyone planned for them to work out.
2. It’s a Mystery!
There is a great deal of wisdom in this scene from Shakespeare in Love:
Henslowe: Allow me to explain about the theater business. The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster.
Fennyman: So what do we do?
Henslowe: Strangely enough, nothing. It all turns out well.
Henslowe: I don’t know. It’s a mystery.
Let me give you a recent example from American politics.