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How to Survive Fifty More Days of Winning

We are 50 days away from the end of this election. That’s only 3 more Valium prescriptions. Hang on.

I’d like to use this milestone as an excuse to share a couple thoughts on this election to end all elections. I’ll keep this short. The last thing you need is more election on your brain. I’m already at the point where I’m sending in an absentee ballot from my panic room.

This has been taxing campaign for everyone, and for purposes of this piece, I’m going to treat both candidates as equals; and pretend one of them is not a crazy liar (why not … the rest of media covers it that way).

The most interesting thing about 2016 is that it heralds the clear end of influence. No media source, no candidate, no party seems to be able to convince its membership to follow its lead. I guess that’s cool (in a Civil War sort of way).

This election also marks the cultural moment when political campaigns finally lived down to the way they are covered. In the media age, presidential elections have always been covered like a sporting event. And now they’ve become one. You don’t remember any policies discussed in the famous Nixon/Kennedy debates. But you remember Nixon’s sweat. So why discuss policy when you can nail someone with Twitter flame. Trump’s entire primary was built on zingers and the mantra, vote for me because I’m winning and I’m gonna win. Muhammad Ali’s pre-fight trash talk was more ambivalent than that.

But enough about them. Let’s talk about us. I worry this election, and the way we talk about it, is more damaging to our health than any of our other lifestyle or dietary choices. I just deleted about four examples, but then I realized you don’t need them. You can feel what I’m talking about in your gut every time you read social media jabs or watch cable news exchanges. And I’m convinced the consumers of this content are more impacted by it that its messengers.

I’d tell you to turn it all off and try remember that none of your consternation has any impact on the race. But we both know better than that. You can’t turn away. So grab the Valium, get on the roller coaster, and keep your hands and feet in. Only 50 days to go. (And 51 until the next campaign starts.)

I write NextDraft, a quick and entertaining look at the day’s most fascinating news.

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