Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Election Day In New York

This morning when I stepped out of the subway at 72nd street on my way to work the guy handing out free newspapers (AM New York, in this case) was using an old school newspaper hawking voice straight out of Orchard Street circa 1922. "Election! Election! Who's gonna win?"

I could feel a certain electricity in the air as I strolled up Broadway in the crisp spring morning air.  How would this turn out?  I can't remember the last time I was a place making a primary vote that actually mattered. At school some of my senior students were proud to vote in their first election, as was a colleague who was voting in her first American election after gaining citizenship.  It made me feel bad for my high levels of cynicism about the political process.

That cynicism returned later in the day.  I heard the Bernie supporters, perhaps worried about an impending loss, saying that the election was "rigged" due to voters dropped off the rolls in Brooklyn. I tend to think that this is more a case of incompetence and neglect, but in the paranoid imagination of many Bernie supporters saying such a thing is high treason. They seemed to know that a Sanders loss in New York would effectively mean an end to his crusade.

And while Clinton may win, I did not hear any genuine enthusiasm for her in the air. Getting enthusiastic for Hilary is like getting enthusiastic for Microsoft. The few people who really seem committed to her always seem like they are trying too hard to convince themselves of their conviction.

I didn't give the Orange Pumpkin of Doom any real thought until this evening when I sat down to watch the election returns, and saw that Trump had won New York even more handily that estimated.  Of course, the media hype of this win is way out of hand. We all knew that he would take his home state, especially after Cruz so egregiously insulted the people of New York.

It's a reminder that while in this country we tend to stereotype rural Southern folk as the repository of violence conservatism, it's the Northeast that fits the bill.  This area is crawling with white ethnics who guard their whiteness with a savage determination. While Republicans may be a minority in these parts, they are make up for their numbers with violent racism. If you want to find the heart of the white supremacist nationalism, don't go to Alabama, go to Long Island. Even if he goes on to lose, I am disheartened by the knowledge that I am living in a part of the world where Trump supporters still live, waiting to strike.

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