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The Real Winners And Losers: Apocalypse Edition

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Winners

Weirdos Who Love Electoral Maps

There’s a certain class of people who love the fire-truck red and royal-blue maps that we use to keep track of the electoral vote in presidential elections. Over the past three elections the map has basically remained the same since 2000, which is boring for map nerds. But Trump’s floundering campaign means that an electoral blowout might be on the table. Some states that haven’t voted for Democrats in decades are up for grabs. Most excitingly, we might get the first third party to win pledged electoral college votes since George Wallace in 1968.

Third-party conservative Evan McMullin is pulling votes from Trump in Utah, where Mormons are not amused by Trump’s demonization of immigrants and Muslims nor his bragging about sexual assaults. Not only is McMullin pulling votes from Trump, some polls have him in the lead in the state. The mapmakers might have to choose a new color for their maps. Perhaps a nice forest green.

The Lost Art of the Low-Post Game

Old-school NBA fans often lament the fact that centers and power forwards in the NBA don’t spend as much time in the low post. Whether that’s because of how players are coached or changes to the rules of the game, the days of legends like Hakeem and McHale going to work on the block are over.

But the art of the pivot was on display at the presidential debate tonight, as candidates made breathtaking moves to change the subject whenever moderator Chris Wallace asked them a question they didn’t want to answer. Clinton deftly took a question about advocating for open borders and made it about Putin’s Russian computer hackers, which reminded me a lot of the magical Dream Shake that Hakeem Olajuwon pulled on David Robinson in the Western Conference finals. Trump took a question about bragging about groping and kissing women without their consent and answered by talking about emails, with this immortal line: “She mentions this which is all fiction — all fictionalized — probably or possibly started by her and her very sleazy campaign, but I will tell you what isn’t fictionalized are her e-mails.” The simplicity and directness of this move reminded me of Kevin McHale's classic up-and-under. Inspiring to see the storied tradition living on in our presidential candidates.

Losers

The Art of the Spiel

Somewhere in Trump Tower, there must be a Magic Trump Ball. It’s the most logical explanation for why Trump repeats the same, predictable fare every single time he is asked a question. All of his lines are exported from his rallies, and reassembled onstage in a completely randomized order. Everything bleeds together after a while, especially after you realize that you’ve been listening to the same sentence for so long that you can’t even remember a time — by the way, did you see that Trump was on the cover of Time magazine — before you were listening — here is something that is completely false that I am really good at saying with utter conviction — to this sentence — and now we’re talking about ISIS ...

I am convinced that Trump’s entire campaign has just been one long sentence, and we will know he is finally done running when it ends.

And then there are the interruptions. “WRONG” appeared again, as did many other footnotes to Clinton and Chris Wallace’s utterances, which seemed fitting, as Trump’s campaign has mostly just been a long list of footnotes about all the news coverage about him. When Clinton mentioned that Trump complained about how the Emmys were rigged against him and The Apprentice, he interjected with a “Should’ve gotten it.” He also said that he never said that his accusers weren’t attractive enough to assault. (He did say that.)

Near the end of the debate, Trump interrupted Clinton to say, “Such a nasty woman.” His antics might be familiar at this point, but that doesn’t make them any less dispiriting to hear every single time we are forced to endure a reprise.

Kellyanne Conway

Trump’s probably gonna lose, and it’s not going to be close. And Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, has made it very clear that she knows it. It’s too late for her to actually quit, like her two (!) predecessors did, but she’s gone out of her way to try to disassociate herself from the candidate whose campaign she’s supposedly running. A few times on TV, she hasn’t bothered to defend things Trump has said, and a couple weeks ago, she joked that she was the heckler who shouted “Stay on the issues” at a Trump rally.

Tonight she tweeted this:

Yeah ... that’s not really how it works, homegirl.

The Parts of the United States Which Will Be Unable to Vote in 2100 Because They Are Underwater

Three debates, no questions about climate change. Guess we’ll have to wait until 2020.

The Past 240 Years of Democratic Norms

When Trump was asked if he would accept the results of the election if he lost, he responded, “I will look at it at the time.” When the moderator pointed out that this was not usually how elections worked, Trump added, “I’ll keep you in suspense.” Although Trump has treated the 2016 election like a never-ending episode of TV, cliffhangers are not something that we want in our electoral outcomes. Since the founding of our country, losers have conceded when they lost a presidential election. Even in the four cases when the losers had won the popular vote, they let it go, because that’s how this whole democracy thing works.

On top of that, Trump’s reason for reserving the option to contest the election results — his belief that massive voter fraud has “rigged” the contest — is wrong, and could easily be classified as stupid if it weren’t such a dangerous thing to say. There is no massive voter fraud. In a recent court case over Wisconsin’s voter ID law, a federal judge said that “a preoccupation with mostly phantom election fraud leads to real incidents of disenfranchisement which undermine rather than enhance confidence in elections.” That is exactly what Trump is doing. And plenty of Trump supporters, who have heard Republicans freak out about nonexistent voter fraud for years, are already convinced that it’s all a sham. “Look, look, if nothing else,” Trump told supporters in Colorado earlier this week, “people are going to be watching on November 8. Watch Philadelphia. Watch St. Louis. Watch Chicago, watch Chicago. Watch so many other places.”

No, Donald. If you lose, it will be because you offended women, sexual assault survivors, people of color, Mexicans, Muslims, Jewish people, soldiers, people with disabilities, the pope, and the entire notion of American democracy.