This episode of The Latest is brought to you by voting, that thing, alongside going to Burning Man, trying a cronut, and finishing “The Wire,” that everyone has been insisting that you do for a very long time.
This episode was recorded on Monday, which means it’s coming out on Tuesday, which means this program, for once, was produced on time, which is another way of saying it’s late.
But today is Election Day, the occasion on which Americans will cast a ballot for a president that’s been on their mind for four years, as well as the dozens of representatives, judges, and ballot initiatives that they didn’t bother to Google while waiting in line.
Later this week, I’m going to cover the result of the election — whether our collective groundhog chose to see its shadow once again, or decided to ignore it because we’re ready for winter to end — but I wanted to make sure that, if you’re a listener of the program, that you’ve already taken the time to vote, or you’re planning to vote today.
Nearly 100 million votes have already been cast, but that’s out of an estimated 233 million eligible voters — since early voting started, less than half of the country has taken the time out of their busy schedules of ordering Seamless and watching “The Queen’s Gambit” to determine whether or not their tax money should keep going to malted milkshakes for the guy who thinks windmills cause cancer.
Now, obviously, more people are going to vote tomorrow, which is today, but unlike every other fun group thread that’s trashing you behind your back, this needs to include you, too, for once.
In 2016, Hillary Clinton lost the state of Michigan by about 22,000 votes — and if that many of its residents are willing to hang out with weirdos in parking lots to stare at old cars during the Woodward Dream Cruise, waiting in line at an elementary school with fellow malnourished midwesterners should be a delight.
In 2018, an Alaska state house election was close enough to go to a recount, and the winner was decided by just one vote — that could have been you, assuming you’re an alcoholic pipeline engineer with a checkered past who’s been pushed to the outskirts of Anchorage.
And if it comes down to a tie, in some states it’s left up to chance: in Idaho, they toss a coin; in Florida, they pick a name out of a hat; in Nevada, they draw a high card.
These things shouldn’t decide elections; they’re barely a smart way of picking a Secret Santa.
But if you don’t want a game of high-low to determine the cost of your health insurance, then you need to grab your AirPods, pop the battery out of the carry on luggage that you haven’t used since March, and go hang out at the library this afternoon.
Maybe grab some food — November 3rd is also National Sandwich Day, so maybe you can grab some Jimmy John’s and remind everyone else in line that Jimmy John loves to murder elephants.
And If the line’s long, if you go to pizza.polls, some non-profit will send everyone in line a pizza while you wait. Maybe you’ll get some Papa Johns, and you can remind everyone else in line that Papa John uses the N-word on conference calls.
Or maybe, just strike up a normal conversation like a regular person. Doesn’t sound so appealing to me, but whatever floats your boat.
And whatever casts your vote. Today. Vote.