Hard News by Russell Brown


The Long, Strange Trip

Like many of you, even though I cannot vote, I've taken an interest in the US Presidential election that lies somewhere between keen and visceral.

This isn't a new thing. America looms large in our in culture, historically and in the second-by-second sense of social media. The decisions of American voters bear directly on New Zealand's welfare. It's sport and reality TV and the news combined.

But this time has seemed different. The usual voyeurism of election-watching seems to have tilted over into something else. I've wearied myself addressing one bizarre Clinton conspiracy after another on Facebook. The alt-right and the self-professed anti-imperial left have found common cause, quoting and adopting each other's bullshit. Wikileaks has engaged in a barely-credible plunge from anything like journalism. People I actually know believe senseless things. I'm pretty certain I interacted with a Putin troll this week.

And it just seems to get darker. The late flush of anti-semitism from the Trump campaign and its supporters suggested that Godwin's Law should be suspended for the duration of the campaign.

It won't stop, unfortunately, after today's election result. It does appear that Hillary Clinton will get there, but the nihilism, resentment and sheer unreality won't go away. We live in very strange times. But the election of the USA's first woman President, after all those years, will manifestly be cause for celebration.

Anyway, Toby Manhire is heading things up at The Spinoff, which has a useful guide to what time the various polls close, Checkpoint has an extended show this afternoon and the internet will be alive with it all. I'll be hammering away on my Twitter account and popping back here  with thoughts of more than 140 characters. I might even get some work done.

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