"Today we live in a world of terror, madmen, and missiles," the Republican candidate says in the ad. "Our military is challenged by aging weapons and low morale." He goes on to tell us about the "dangerous world" and how "I will rebuild our military. I will move quickly to defend our country" and have a foreign policy "driven by American interests and American values." In another ad for the Republican candidate, a female voice says that the Democrat is "pushing a big government plan that lets Washington bureaucrats interfere" with your medical decisions. Yet one more commercial talks about how the Democrat is a liar who has engaged in unethical activity.
In case you didn't figure it out or are too lazy to click on the link up there, the ads were from the 2000 campaign of Republican George W. Bush against the Democrat and sitting Vice President Al Gore. It's instructive to look back on that election not just because of the fuckery of an idiot man-child being seen as the equivalent of a lifelong public servant, but because, after eight years of the Clinton administration, where the economy was saved from a recession and thrived, where the old conflicts that used to define foreign policy were put to rest, and where an intransigent Republican opposition sought to delegitimize the entire presidency (and end it) and failed miserably, Republicans had to figure out just what the fuck they were running against. Peace? Prosperity?
While there is always a segment of the population that ain't gonna vote for the opposing party no-way, no-how, Bush had to convince a significant number of people that it was against their interests to continue all the good shit that had been going on (and, for the sake of this argument, we're gonna leave out welfare reform, NAFTA, DOMA, and other dubious shit that Bill Clinton did because Republicans actually supported that). What do you say? Well, Bush went with the usual Republican script: Democrats are a bunch of pussies and big government is gonna rape your dog and force you to buy generic prescriptions.
Oh, and there was one other element that Bush used. It was kind of brilliant. See, for the first time in ages, not only was the budget balanced, but the government was running a surplus of a couple of trillion dollars. Bush just outright fuckin' bribed people. If he becomes president, he said, "I believe that once priorities have been funded we should pass money back to the taxpayers" in the form of tax cuts, if not just cash money. It didn't occur to enough people that a Democrat was the one who set the economy on the road to a surplus. No, that bastard Gore was just gonna throw around cash like a coked-up Air National Guardsman at a whorehouse in Houston: "Al Gore plans to spend it all. And more."
And, yes, yes, I know, Bush didn't really "win" in 2000. He sure as shit lost the popular vote, and he was dicked over in Florida. But it shouldn't have been close. Anyone paying attention at all should have thought, "Whoa, whoa, things are going pretty fuckin' good right now. Why the fuck should I change that?" Instead, Bush's campaign convinced a not-insignificant number of people "Whoa, whoa, things are going pretty fuckin' good right now. Fuck it. Let's let that dry drunk dumbass run the show for a while so I'll get paid. Infrastructure can go fuck itself."
Now we face a starkly similar situation. Republican candidate and cartoon wombat Donald Trump has campaigned on a vague promise of "change" and how voters shouldn't want things to be like they've been for the last eight years. And for some fucked-up reason, people believe him. It's as if the long period of job creation, rescuing the country from the brink of collapse, and mostly ending two bullshit wars is utterly meaningless (and that's not even getting into the things that Democrats support, like Obamacare and expanded LGBT rights).
Republicans act like saying that "Hillary Clinton is four more years of Obama" is a threat. How'd it work out for us in 2000, huh? How about we not indulge our animal urge for change for the sake of saying that we changed. How about we not just roll the fuckin' dice and see how it turns out.