I Don't Care Who Wins
You probably do, and I respect that. And you probably think I should, but I don't.
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Two new polls out yesterday from ABC News and NBC News show major red flags for President Joe Biden. Historic lows in approval rating, massive numbers of Democrats saying he’s too old and want a new candidate, and a Trump +10 figure in the ABC poll that has the corporate media scrambling to excuse the result as an irrelevant outlier. Of course, the GOP frontrunner, Donald Trump — while improving — is still facing strong unfavorables too.
Will Biden be impeached… and could he be pushed out by his own party ahead of the convention? Will Trump be found guilty in one of his four trials before the convention and potentially force the GOP to consider a last-minute swap? This, as there’s a viable Green Party candidate in Cornel West, rumblings Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. could change course and run on the Libertarian ticket, and the looming potential of a No Labels candidate emerging as well.
It’s not hyperbole to suggest 2024 will be the craziest presidential election cycle of all time.
And while I cover the political drama as it relates to the media and culture — all the twists and turns — here at Fourth Watch through writing and yapping, I want to say something before we get too far into the thick of the election season: I don’t care who wins.
Journalists have historically attempted to retain a level of objectivity and detachment from the political process. Having previously voted for both Republicans and Democrats for president, when I worked at CNN during the 2012 election cycle, going to all the network’s debates and in the mix for every primary election night and convention, I felt too close to the process to cast a vote that year. I have no doubt most in that CNN newsroom wanted Obama to beat Romney, but nearly all my conversations about what might happen conveyed a healthy indifference if not outright cynicism about the process.
It’s not that I don’t have political preferences — and I can see how certain outcomes will be better, not just for me but for the country. But as I’ll lay out below, there are four specific reasons why I don’t “care” — why I won’t get emotionally invested in the outcome.
I get most people are not like this. I understand that you probably care very much who wins, and I respect that point of view. I can feel the people who are saying “sure, you may feel this way generally, but this time is different — there’s too much at stake.” I also can see how there’s an inherent privilege in not caring (although for me that privilege is what we as Americans should feel, not me personally).
As I see it, there are four types of “care”-ers in 2024. There are the conservatives who want DeSantis or another GOP nominee because of principles (and the best chance to beat the Dems). There are the Trump faithful who believe he is the only candidate who can finish the job he started. (And these two groups are currently at odds in a vicious battle playing out online during the GOP primary process.)
There are the mainstream Democrats who want any nominee to beat the GOP (they’ll take Biden but they’d be happy to take someone else as long as stop Trump and the GOP). And there are the general disruptors who want major change and probably drift toward Vivek, or RFK Jr, or maybe Trump.
I know people personally who fit into all those camps, and I can empathize with their stances. For me, I would “care” if I felt there was a candidate who could unite the country. If there was someone who could lower the temperature, getting the corporate press back focused on what actually mattered — I’d care about that person’s candidacy. But in practice, it’s impossible. Trust in institutions is at record lows, and no single candidate is going to change that. So I don’t care. But I have specific reasons why:
I trust the people
The overriding reason I don’t care who wins is because I trust the people of this country vastly more than I trust any single politician of any party. My daily interactions with real people IRL are so divorced from the divisiveness and nonsense on the platform formerly known as Twitter, and give me great hope that when shit hits the fan, no matter what it is, we can rely on each other and we’ll be fine. In nearly every major story over the past few years, from the COVID pandemic to natural disasters, people helping each other has been a far more successful formula for actual progress than relying on the government. We’re a resilient bunch, and we can take what comes our way.
I can feel the pendulum swinging
The erosion of trust in our institutions, from the federal government to the Acela Media, tracks directly with a general vibe shift that’s happening in our culture and communities. Despite what those in power would like you to say, or think, or do, people are resisting. And not just one particular party. You look at certain issues, like the trans athlete debate, and find that there is bipartisan support that directly conflicts with the messaging we’re being fed from those in power. That means it doesn’t matter who’s in the White House. Americans are smart, and the cultural pendulum is swinging back toward sanity and rationality despite the supposed elite’s best efforts to keep us divided. It’s inevitable.
I don’t buy the hype