Feeling the Political Battle Lust:

Me, Finally Enjoying the Election Cycle

was on a Zoom call today with some old friends. All of them are rational, thoughtful, engage, and more than a bit concerned. Maybe even scared. Definitely worried. Perhaps even somewhat freaked out.

So, probably a lot like your friends.

We talked about lost sleep and the intersecting anxieties of eight months under Covid, and — though we tried to avoid it — we talked about the upcoming election and how we’re not quite sure what happens to the world if the bastard manages to once again sneak through.

The conversation got me thinking about how we’re reacting under all this pressure. I’ve noticed — and you likely have, too — that in the rare situation when someone mentions something hopeful about the polling, or the national mood, there is an instinctive reaction to remind one another not to fall into the dangerous territory of positive thinking. We did that in 2016, and ended up ratfucked by the Russians, the Tangerine Tyrant, and a passel of third-rate conmen and criminals into the nightmare of these past four years.

And I get that.

But it also got me thinking that maybe I’m just processing this election season differently than most of my friends. I’m certainly anxious. Just like you, just like your friends, and just like those folks on the call today, my brain is sending out stress messages, and my body is getting hit again, and again, and again with epinephrine and cortisol — only my reaction isn’t flight. I am not tempted at all to run away. I am pumped for this fight. I think I’ve even got a bit of battle lust. I wanna bash metaphorical skulls. I wanna swing the metaphorical morning star into metaphorical spinal columns. I want (metaphorically — I note, for the FB censors) to crush these motherfuckers to dust. So rather than pooh-pooing the scent of good news arising from the battlefield, I’m looking for it.

Now, if you are someone who isn’t politically bloodthirsty, if you are someone who only wants to hear how next Tuesday will turn out far worse than we expect — and you want that, because you know it will make you sprint HARD through the tape, then stop reading now. If you are best motivated by fear, then by all means — understand just how awful it will be if we fall short by one or two Electoral College votes. But, if by chance, like me, you see this not as a situation where we are the prey, fleeing from the hounds of fascism — but rather as a gleeful opportunity to mace these assholes into the dirt, to hack off their legs with a political battle axe — then take a look at how we are ALREADY routing the bastards.

These are small truths, but they are telling:

In Georgia, 2.75 million people have ALREADY cast their ballots, with 9 days to go. In 2016, the total popular vote in that state was 4.14 million. We are already at 66%, two-thirds, of that number. That, in and of itself is promising — as we tend to do better in high-voter-turnout elections. But get this: “More black voters over the age of 65 have already voted in Georgia (201,889) than voted in total in the 2016 presidential election (193,993). There are still 9 days of voting remaining.”

These stats are coming from Tom Bonier, who runs a site called TargetSmart. He’s a Democratic pollster who is compiling data directly from state and county election offices. Here is a bit more of a taste of the information he has shared in the past few hours:

- Although the statewide early vote in Florida stands at 59% of total ’16 turnout, in 7 counties the turnout of registered Dem seniors has exceeded the overall final turnout of age 65+ Dems in ’16. Huge Dem senior turnout.

- With 9 days of voting remaining, Asian voters in Texas have already cast more ballots than they did in total in the 2016 general election. Note, across the nation, the Asian vote tends to break about two-to-one for Democrats.

- 748,973 voters under the age of 30 have already voted in Texas. 66% of them didn’t vote in ‘16.

ook, if you are someone who will run faster and run harder when you are being chased by a demon, they by all means, get a fucking move on. YES, you should worry every single moment from here until Election Day. You should nervously be wondering if you spent enough hours on the phone bank. You should, in a panic, send another five bucks to Jamie Harrison’s campaign and help him scald Lindsey Graham like a cat getting doused in boiling water. You should publicly fret and skittishly harass your progressive neighbors and relatives to vote, vote vote.

But, if you are more like me, if you get a gleam in your eye when you see your political rivals begin routed. If, like me, you have a Conan the Barbarian mindset, or you aspired to pillage and burn your way across the South like Sherman marching to the sea, if you will only get more and more fired up to grind these fascist assholes into molecules, and send them back to the holes they crawled out of when Donald rallied them to his cause, then understand this simple truth: We are whupping them so bad this year, they’ll be burning their political dead in fires bright enough that Vladimir Putin will see the glow over the horizon. So let’s get to work making sure they have to throw another few bodies on the pyre: I’m thinking about barbequed John Cornyn, or maybe a well-done fillet of Joni Ernst.

I’ll tell you the truth — I can’t fucking wait for next Tuesday night. We’re going to drink their goddamn blood — metaphorically, of course.

Nine days to go.

Onward.

Once a history teacher in Brooklyn, Mike took a sabbatical in 2004 to travel through Latin America. He never returned. He lives and works in Guatemala.

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