I’ll never forget during the 1992 presidential election, Rush Limbaugh telling me that America would not survive a President Bill Clinton. Rush said “Slick Willie” would take my house, my job and everything else I cared about.
As an 18-year-old conservative at the time, I was mortified. This man had to be stopped!
But of course, none of those things happened. Our 42nd president was a conventional Democrat who was bad in all the ways a conservative or Republican might expect, but the 1990s were also generally a time Americans remember fondly. In terms of conservative worries like growing government and our national debt, President George W. Bush actually ended up being significantly worse than his Democrat predecessor.
As the 2016 election enters the home stretch, many Hillary Clinton supporters now declare loudly that the country cannot survive a President Trump, and many Donald Trump supporters genuinely believe a second President Clinton will destroy the country.
No, they won’t.
This doesn’t mean both Clinton or Trump wouldn’t have terrible policies (I’m voting for Libertarian Gary Johnson in this god awful election), but whether you view either major party candidate’s potential agendas positively or negatively generally depends on where you land on the ideological spectrum. These policies might affect the country badly, and perhaps even you directly.
But it’s not the apocalypse.
I believe Clinton is uniquely terrible by normal Democrat standards, combining the worst of the last Republican administration (particularly her hawkish foreign policy) with the big government agenda of Barack Obama. I’m deeply opposed to her becoming the next commander in chief.
But she will not destroy the country. Those saying that right now, will say the same in 2020 should she become president this November 8, and lo and behold, there will still be an America.
Trump is no doubt uniquely terrible among Republicans, but even he would not end the United States of America. There’s just as much chance that the transparently non-ideological Trump as president would be a political moderate—a mere creature of his Beltway advisers—as there is he would be the authoritarian nightmare he often portrays in his campaign speeches.
Either way, it’s hyperbole to say the country ends with a President Trump.
This kind of election lunacy is not new.
Remember all the celebrities who said they would leave the country if George W. Bush got elected in 2000? Singing a familiar tune, Rush Limbaugh said America would be “doomed” in 2012 if Obama were reelected.
Well… are y’all okay out there? Are most of us still here?
Did we survive?
Recall this nonsense from the last presidential election in 2012, “During the Democratic National Convention, The Huffington Post’s reporters approached several attendees and asked them for their thoughts on the state of the race and their party’s prospects for 2016.”
“Of the 74 attendees they spoke with, 16 said they intended to leave the country if Romney wins in November,” Mediate reported.
“They named several nations that they may retire to, but the most popular and regularly cited destination for self-imposed political exile is America’s neighbor to the north: Canada.”
These Democrats were worried about a national existential crisis over Mitt Romney. Seriously. Seems pretty silly through the lens of 2016, doesn’t it?
The guiding principle behind this election fear mongering that happens every cycle, is that it’s upon each voter to prevent the extinction of the country by voting accordingly. There are Clinton supporters right now who genuinely believe it is one’s moral duty to do everything in their power to keep Trump out of the White House, and there are Trump supporters who believe Hillary Clinton will somehow be the end of the republic.
Don’t fall for other’s hyper partisanship and paranoia. Your only duty is to vote your conscience.
In just a few short weeks all of this will be over. The sky won’t fall.
Please don’t misunderstand. This election certainly matters. Who we choose to govern at our nation’s highest level is nothing to balk at. Who becomes the leader of the free world is not insignificant.
Politics is important. It’s just not quite as important as many seem to think. Elections are rarely, if ever, a final chapter.