As you know, in my home country (the UK) we recently had a vote. And it went drastically wrong, making our country a chaotic laughing-stock and drop-kicking our economy into the trashcan.
Well, now you’re in the same position as we were. You’re standing in front of a very scary precipice, my friends, and the scariest thing of all is that you might not get the choice of whether to jump off; you are likely to be pushed.
Pushed by a horde of people who fail to see the precipice in the first place.
So let me share with you some lessons learned from our enormous f***-up, in the hope that this will help you prevent your big and important country from doing the same thing our small and foppish country did just a few weeks ago.
- Get off the internet.
Seriously. No amount of anti-Trump Facebook statuses, hilarious Trump hair memes and pro-Clinton Buzzfeed articles are going to make even one sub-atomic particle’s worth of difference. Same goes for the enlightened comedy stylings of Trevor Noah, Stephen Colbert and Samantha Bee, by the way.
The internet you are on is an echo chamber.
All these Facebook statuses and blog posts and shared videos are simply talking to each other, popping up via algorithms onto the screens of other people who are writing the same statuses, reading the same blog posts, watching the same videos. You are not reaching the people whose minds you need to change. Go out and talk to people.
- Do not assume that reason and logic will win the day.
Yes, Donald Trump is a racist cretinous blowhard whose chosen VP, a man likely to need to step into the presidential role at some point following Trump’s theoretical win, is equally and maybe even more unpleasant. Yes, the number of news stories about him saying or doing unforgivable things is simply dizzying. And yet: this does not make a difference. What wins the day is personality; not the fact of whether you have a good or a bad personality, but simply whether you have personality.
Farage and Johnson had personality by the bucketload. They were rude, tipsy and preposterous. Everyone on the Remain campaign were about as interesting as damp corduroy.
Trump has personality by the bucketload. He is mad, bombastic and wacky. Clinton is drab, sensible and reasonable. That will not be enough to sway a majority. Hilary needs help.
- You need exposure.
Posters. It’s amazing what posters can do. Posters, and signs, and emblazoned buses, all so cheap-looking it seems like someone’s dad put them together in Microsoft WordArt. These things matter.
Leave had their mark everywhere. You couldn’t go more than a few steps in parts of the UK without seeing those ugly posters everywhere. Where was Remain? Who knows. Probably trying to keep it classy with well-written pamphlets and thoughtful interviews on Radio 4.
Classy won’t cut it, people. You need posters and signs EVERYWHERE. You need to make sure your land is coated in posters from west to east, north to south, because Trump’s already got a head start on you in that regard. Go to your print shop and get it done. Your dad will be delighted to help, I’m sure.
- Do not assume that democracy is about voting for what you want.
If only it was. That is the dream. But unfortunately, it is not. Democracy as we know it has nothing to do with the people getting what they want. It’s all about majorities, and majorities are not people. Majorities fail to represent the nuance and the empathy and the variety of pluralities of people. Majorities are swarming masses, intoxicated with the fumes of one ideology. And if a majority looks like it’s going to vote for Donald Trump, you can be damned sure that your third-party vote will disappear like a puff of smoke in the face of the masses.
Your only option is to all band together and create a different majority whose sheer size outdoes the pro-Trump masses – the Trump Lump, as I shall now call it. Even if you don’t like Hilary, voting for her is the only way your vote comes even close to accessing some form of ‘democracy’.
Because like Farage and Johnson, whoever you vote for won’t live up to what they promised before your vote. After your vote, the winner will do whatever the hell seems right to them, not to their majority. But at least with Clinton, the prospects for that are not so terrifying.
I am begging you, America, to do the right thing, in light of the UK doing Very Much The Wrong Thing. 2016 has been a horrible, ugly, vicious year so far. We, the rest of the world, need to be able to hope. We need to believe that things will be ok; that this isn’t the start of some alarmingly rapid decline into a premature dystopian future. We want to believe in America as much as America believes in America.
Do the right thing. Learn from us. We cannot undo our failure but we can try to make it meaningful.