This is the 'Seinfeld' presidential campaign, because it's about 'nothing'
- "Seinfeld" is the enduringly popular sitcom that claimed to be about "nothing."
- Even though this election arrives during a pandemic, mass unemployment, and paradigm-shifting social upheaval, the
campaignleading into this election is also basically about nothing.
- We could be talking about what the next administration will do about Iran's nuclear ambitions, pulling troops out of Afghanistan, climate change, healthcare, or criminal-justice reform.
- Instead, we're talking about QAnon, Proud Boys, antifa, and Hunter Biden's laptop.
- Truly, this is the dumbest timeline.
- This is an
opinioncolumn. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
"Seinfeld" was arguably the biggest TV show of the 1990s, and it remains popular to this day. One reason for the sitcom's enduring appeal is the show's unique-for-its-time self-referential nature that created its own lexicon.nothing."
The 2020 presidential campaign is also about nothing.Don't get me wrong. Presidential elections are always, obviously, of consequence. And while every four years the contest is declared "the most important election of our times," 2020 stands a good chance of actually living up to the billing.
This Election Day arrives during a pandemic, mass unemployment, and paradigm-shifting social upheaval. And yet, improbably, the campaign leading into this election is basically about nothing.
This is the dumbest timelineThe 2016 election was not without its frivolity, but discussions (however unhinged) about foreign policy and immigration and healthcare were had. The
We're also not talking about how little concern Attorney General Bill Barr shows with police departments running rampant with brutality complaints. Rather, he says the public needs to stop protesting or lose the "protection" of the police.
But we did talk a lot about Barr's designation of several "Democrat" cities as "anarchist jurisdictions." It was more absurdist political theater that will most likely be overturned in court, but it gives more oxygen to the Trumpist fever dream that he's the only person capable of keeping antifa — violent far-left LARPers — from coming to a suburb near you.On the other side of the ballot, there's
But besides being A Person Eligible to Run for President Who is Not Donald Trump, there's not much chatter about what he'd actually do as president, or why he'd make a good one.
Do many people have any idea how Biden would handle Iran's nuclear ambitions, now that Trump has withdrawn the US from the multilateral agreement signed by President Obama in 2015? Unlikely. They're more likely to have heard about salacious photos stolen from Hunter Biden's laptop.We're not talking about withdrawing troops from Afghanistan after almost 20 years. We're not talking about America's future role as a Middle East peace negotiator. And we're not talking about healing our rift with NATO allies, or whether Trump even wants to.
To be clear, it's important that we're talking about the president and his party playing footsie with a deranged anti-Semitic conspiracy cult. It's just also incredibly stupid that we have to.Thankfully, we are still talking about COVID-19.
Trump very clearly would rather we not talk about his miserable handling of the coronavirus pandemic; he's said as much. But the phrase "220,000 Americans dead from COVID" is too loud for even Trump to drown out with noise.Not that he hasn't tried. It was, until recently, unthinkable that the president of the United States would even need to express a commitment to the peaceful transfer of power in an electoral loss. Now it'd be unthinkable to expect Trump to commit to such a basic tenet of democracy and the rule of law. Instead, acting like someone who thinks he's going to lose, Trump has tried to delegitimize the election results before they're even counted.
That's certainly an effective way to distract from an abject failure of an administration and gin up a culture-war base.
Maybe at some point we'll debate healthcare policy, the ever-growing national debt, and what the social safety net should look like in a post-coronavirus world.Until then, we'll ride out the waning days of the Trump campaign show, where "nothing" matters.
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