Welcome back to PolicyBear. It’s Teddy, as was….
I’ve missed providing commentary about politics and election stuff, although I could never have predicted the place we find ourselves 100 days out from the general election: a dangerous reality show buffoon versus a former first lady who attended his third wedding.
Anyway, one hundred days out, I’m pondering some election-effect events Our Liberal Media aren’t yet considering. Looking back on presidential elections in my lifetime, as in yours, there always seem to be several unanticipated events that affected the election — things that no one saw coming in mid-summer. Here’s the start of my list of what I think will have an influence on this election, both at the presidential level and down ballot:
- Zika: Southern states will struggle to organize their campaign volunteers, door-to-door canvassers, and Election Day poll workers this summer and fall. Florida now appears to have its first four (at this writing) mosquito-acquired cases — and can’t find any mosquitos carrying the virus, having captured and tested almost 20,000 insects in the affected square-mile area. That’s a problem, right now. That will pose a continued problem scheduling candidate campaign stops, organizing rallies, getting out the vote and organizing Election Day polling stations. Look for some governors to allow voting-by-mail as an emergency measure to keep citizens virus-free. Depressed campaign activity and depressed voting will drastically affect Southern states’ impact on electoral college results and could produce unexpected Congressional ballot results as well.
- A non-terror infrastructure disaster: something major will wear out and collapse. People will die and be injured; commerce and traffic will halt and require re-routing. Immediately, one of the candidates (guess which one!?) will blame ISIS. Very soon after, the disaster will be determined to have been a simple engineering failure: one of America’s many, many major ancient engineering marvels that carries too great a load under degraded conditions with deferred maintenance. The ISIS-blaming candidate will be shamed (to no avail, as usual) publicly. Americans will stop and consider crossing every bridge, entering every tunnel, using every public transit — things we took for granted unthinkingly before.
- A foreign policy crisis with a previously overlooked player or in a hitherto ignored hotspot: American media probably isn’t giving North Korea’s boy-king enough attention for his Trump endorsement currently, so he’ll up the ante. Scarily. Or the Chinese will decide they’d really, really like everyone to pay them to use their South China Sea lanes. Or perhaps Kashmir will erupt in open warfare between our two nuclear allies who are each others’ enemies. America may be forced to act. National security will suddenly not seem like the endless catastrophic drumbeat of repetitive events abroad. Expertise will seem valuable. Dexterity with allies will regain importance. American voters will again care about how our country operates in all parts of the world, not simply the parts we currently cannot locate on a map of the world but hear about daily.
I’m going to leave these three here, so we can all refer back to them in the double-digit days ahead. No points for getting anything right, of course, but I thought it would be fun to re-inaugurate PolicyBear with some augury. I’ll have commentary and consideration of actual happenings going forward.
See you in the Nineties-days, just ahead! And thanks for reading….