I hardly need to tell anyone that the U.S. election has descended into an extremely unpleasant farce. More oddly to me, it's also starting to feel a bit like piling on. I would say it is extremely likely that the next several weeks are devoted to the media bringing out the woman who claim Trump has groped them in twos and threes and let them dominate the news cycle. Given Trump's frankly unbalanced personality, he will spend all the remaining time in this election attacking his accusers and not spending any time on the issues (maybe this will be a relief for him, since he has no interest whatsoever in putting in the work it would take to prepare for a debate for instance). But I would like the election to turn on the fact that Trump is stunningly unqualified and is actively pandering to racists. It will actually be harder for the GOP to look in the mirror and figure out a way to sideline the racists in the future (i.e. add in a bunch of super-delegates or move away from winner-take-all in their primary process) since they can claim this fiasco all came down to Trump's sexist viewpoint and lack of verbal discipline and not admit that the GOP as a party has lost its way.
In any event, I dropped off our overseas ballots at the embassy (braving rush hour traffic on my bike to do so!). I've read recently that only about 4% of U.S. citizens living overseas vote. In some cases, they may be living somewhat under the radar and imagine that voting will draw more attention to them and the fact that they are probably not filling their U.S. taxes. That's not an issue for us, however. What is more of an issue is that my understanding is that overseas ballots are gathered up in each district but are only opened and counted if it is a close election in that state. I decided to do a bit of research, and the Federal Voter Assistance Program (FVAP), which is designed to facilitate voting by overseas voters (particularly though not exclusively members of the military who are disproportionately affected by these issues), says that this is essentially a misrepresentation (by the media) of what actually happens. They say that all overseas ballots that are cast in time are counted. I still have my doubts, since when you look into the sausage making that occurs on election night, it's quite clear that things are not always going completely by the books. However, it does seem that, by statute at least, my overseas ballot is supposed to be counted. I guess that is as much reassurance as I am going to get.
I really can't wait for this election to be over. I thought 2008 was stressful (and there are some interesting parallels in terms of how flaky the GOP candidate became under pressure right towards the end), but this is just dispiriting and awful.* I suppose it could be worse. I could live in a battleground state, such as North Carolina like my father, and be subjected to wave after wave of campaign ads. I've essentially completely given up on TV and mostly get news from Canadian news sources (as well as the Guardian UK site), so I really very rarely come across any of the political ads at all.
* I really don't think cutting back on caffeine has made any difference to how I think about the election. I'm down to about half the caffeine I used to drink. I did have a bit of a headache today, but it was just as likely to be a stress headache as related to the reduction in caffeine. Still, I will monitor how I feel, particularly in about a month's time when I should be completely off soda and just down to tea.