The180

Why this is actually the least important presidential election

It feels like an important election. Depending on what side you're on, America will either elect a corrupt harpy, intent on disarming gun owners and destroying free enterprise, or a racist, bankrupt, misogynist. But Jeff Cox says it doesn't matter who wins, very little will change.
Those disaffected with both major parties cling to the hope that if independent and third-party candidates can win a few states they might deny both Trump and Clinton the presidency. (Kim Brunhuber/CBC)

"This is the most important election of our lifetimes."

So says Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Paul Ryan.
Also former Republican presidential nominee candidate Ben Carson.
And Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
And Barbra Streisand.

But to Jeff Cox, finance editor at CNBC.com, this may be the least important election in a generation.

Cox says that neither candidate will be able to change much in American society, and the hyper-partisan nightmare scenarios won't come to pass. 

"'The most important election of our lifetime' has become the biggest political cliché of our lifetime. Every four years we go through this whole exercise. And really, I guess sometimes it's true, but in this particular election it's just not." 
Voters wait in line to cast ballots at an early polling site, Friday, Nov. 4, 2016, in San Antonio. (Associated Press)

To Cox, because the two candidates are both disliked by a good number of Americans, neither of them will have the political support to get much done, if elected. 

There's no way this could be the most important election of our lifetime, in fact I think it could be an extremely inconsequential election.- Jeff Cox, CNBC.com

"These are the two most universally despised candidates that I've ever seen in a presidential election. So, if you have this high level of distaste, and this near-certainty for gridlock ahead of you, there's no way this could be the most important election of our lifetime, in fact I think it could be an extremely inconsequential election and the winner could well just be a placeholder for the next four years until we get to the real candidates in 2020."

But, you may ask, how can can the election be inconsequential when Trump-supporting militia groups are preparing for violence?

Meh, says Cox.

"We've certainly become a more polarized country there's no doubt about that. But the idea of these militia members rising, this is not a new thing. This goes back to Bill Clinton's administration when these 'freemen' up in Montana were going to launch a full-scale attack on the US government. And that's never happened. And Clinton coming and kicking in the doors and taking all your weapons away from you, to me  just goes along with all the hysteria that I've heard for the last 8 years that Barack Obama was going to declare martial law. You just get these things because of the rise of social media. These things have already been out there but they just get pushed farther and farther to the forefront."

Cox's message for Canadians is to relax, recognize that America is just doing it's election thing, and the sun will still rise on November 9.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now