Almost every weekday morning for the last five years or so, I wake up around 6 a.m., I go on a three-mile walk and listen to two or three podcasts and maybe an audiobook, I come home, I get the kids off to school (in whatever form that may take these days), and I sit down to write about Donald Trump. Always Donald Trump.
There have been a few breaks along the way — in March and April, that morning article was designed more to keep spirits up (mine included) during a dark period of uncertainty — but for the better part of five years, I have built my morning around Donald Trump. I almost took a break once. There was one point late last fall, where I wrote a piece announcing that I was going to swear off Donald Trump for a few weeks because the toxicity was getting to me, but I swear to God, 30 seconds after I published it, the Ukraine story that would eventually lead to his impeachment broke. I never did get that Donald Trump break.
I don’t know if it’s been helpful or hurtful for what was formerly mostly just a pop culture site to feature so many political articles, but I also don’t know how our friends over at Slashfilm or the excellent folks over on Vulture manage to avoid it. Donald Trump has felt completely inescapable for five years to me. If he loses — and god, there is nothing I want more in the world — there really is something to that SNL ad.
What are we going to talk about when this is over? If it’s over (JINX). How do I start the day? How did I start the day before? Did we just bitch about a trailer or something? I looked back at my output over a six month period in 2014, and the thing that stands out the most is that Donald Trump is never once mentioned, and we didn’t even have a category for “politics.” Obviously, we wrote about politics in the context of pop culture, but it wasn’t front-and-center.
With or without Trump, I don’t think we’ll ever be able to go back to that, exactly. A lot of important movements — MeToo, BLM — have come out of the last four years, and I don’t see us ever going back to 24/7 Gyllenhaal thirst posts.
But there will be space for Gyllenhaal thirst posts. Both Gyllenhaals.
Anyway, this morning — because there are only a few more days left before the election — I wanted to do two things: First off, I want to thank you all for reading these political articles over the last five years. I know we’ve lost some readers because we became more political, and gained some readers because we became more political, and gained some readers we lost because we are all more political, but I appreciate you indulging me over the years, correcting me when necessary, educating me often, or sending the occasional email on those days when some of you detect something is off (like many of you, I struggled in March/April, although that struggle seems quaint compared to the struggle of the last 6 weeks or so).
Second, while we still can — before Tuesday’s results potentially dash our hopes — when you fantasize about a future without Donald Trump in the White House, what do you think about? I mean, Trump is in the White House at least until January, and there’s still a pandemic going on, but I have to believe that we’d all still gain an hour or two of emotional time back each day. Are we going to spend that hating a new political bogeyman, or continue to complain about Trump supporters? Will he become our Hillary, someone for whom we are fixated long after he’s gone? Do we relent a little, or are we even louder, because there might be someone in the White House who will actually listen to us?
I don’t know, but I do know that if the Democrats manage to squeak this one out that I will spend much of the next four years bitching and complaining about voting rights. What is happening across America, but especially in places like Pennsylvania and Texas right now, should never, ever happen again. Biden should hire Stacy Abrams and Jason Kander and devote a cabinet position to voting rights. We should not be back here in 2024 again, and if the Democrats lose in the next election, it should be because the Democrats performed poorly and not because a bunch of state legislatures made it impossible for people who live in cities to register their goddamn votes. We need to figure out a foolproof method for universal mail-in balloting. It’s not as interesting as the POTUS paying off porn stars, but that will be my grind for the next four years if Biden wins.
As a thought experiment, what do you think about when you think about March 2021 without a President Trump in the White House? With a vaccine that will hopefully be efficiently deployed? I’m going to set up a tent in a movie theater, y’all, and I’m going to live on popcorn and peanut M&Ms, and I’m going to post to Pajiba from the lobby for three months, and for the next four days, I’m going to pretend that society will not crumble on November 4th!
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