I have to admit that this article about testosterone levels in men dropping when their candidate loses in an election resonated with me in a slightly discomfiting way. I went to bed following last week's debate positively depressed in a kind of physical, vaguely nauseous fashion. The last time I remember feeling quite the same way was the evening I read the Supreme Court decision in the Bush v. Gore case as it came hot off the presses. (Before that I think it was the infamous Game Six of the Red Sox-Mets World Series in 1986.)
Now I can't imagine ever letting the feeling prevent me from voting. And I got very used to backing losing candidates in my formative political years. In the first three presidential elections in which I voted (1980, 1984, and 1988) the Democratic candidates carried seventeen states our of a possible 150 or just over 11% of the states. Landslide losses were a way of life it seemed. I followed politics closely, while at the same time keeping some emotional distance from it. It seemed to me that my political world view would never really come close to mattering in the U.S. (I spent a lot of time reading various lefty writers -- Michael Harrington, Irving Howe, Russell Jacoby, Michael Walzer, etc. trying to make sense of why we were where we were.)
I greeted Clinton's election in 1992 with some jubilation despite the fact that he ran as a pretty conservative candidate simply because it broke the Republican stranglehold on the presidency. However, bitterness soon reappeared with the election of 1994, the successful reelection campaign in 1996 soon overshadowed by the impeachment in 1998. And then the heartbreak (and outrage) of the election theft of 2000, followed by the crushing disappointment of 2004, a year in which I could not really imagine Bush attracting more support than he had in 2000. I was wrong. Once again, disappointment appeared to be the norm, but it also felt harder and harder to live with.
The elections of 2006 and then 2008 really seemed to portend a significant change in political dynamics in this country. I still think they may, although the continuing economic struggles, the successful obstructionism of the Republicans in 2009-10, the 2010 election, and the possibility of losing this presidential race could really undo much that was gained.
And the possibility that this malevolent, mendacious, certifiably crazy party could be back in the presidency makes me nuts. I find myself filled with really unhealthy rage at the thought, I don't want to debate these people, I want to kick them in the balls. The thought of losing to them gives me a sense of both red-eyed anger and total despair.
I have to remind myself to maintain some perspective -- that most people in the country aren't really that ideological, that just because people vote Republican they are not my mortal enemies, and that as hateful as the politics the GOP practices are, that things are not going to remain as they are forever.
But I'm still pretty sure I will vomit and go into a deep depression if Romney wins.
Update: God, if I will be sick, I guess Sullivan will just kill himself. My God, but that man is an hysteric. He's acting like the latest Pew Poll is the election itself -- does Andrew really think that this poll was accurate when it showed Obama up by 12%? It strikes me as a really volatile poll and one I wouldn't necessarily stake everything on. Let's see what Nate has to say round about Wednesday before losing our minds. I have a hard time believing that large numbers of Obama supporters are deserting him for a lackluster debate.