Ian Harris: It’s raining on election day
It’s raining on Election Day. Generally speaking, turnout is lower when it rains on election day, and when turnout is lower it’s bad for Democrats. Now, this is an entertainment and media column and you might think that an entertainment and media columnist should stick to writing articles about blockbusters and pop artists and the state of the industry, but today is the first Tuesday in November. I just got back from my voting precinct, and it’s raining on Election Day. Tonight, Twitter and Facebook and all the news networks and most of the late-night shows will be solely focused on the midterms and the incoming results. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t focused on them too.
It’s been a long two years. I think, regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, it’s hard to disagree with that. Do you remember Sean Spicer? What about the Mooch? That Supreme Court battle that seemed to last for an eternity? Or have there been two of those? I may have forgotten. The pace of our collective memory has become so relentless that the controversies of yesterday feel like trivialities compared to today. It’s not just in politics. These past two years since the election of Donald J. Trump have seen major upheavals in the entertainment world as well. The consolidation of media companies has continued unchecked, with Disney and Fox set to merge and join the AT&T and Time Warner mega-conglomerate that solidified early this year. Three Star Wars movies have come and gone, a dozen more Marvel flicks have hit the screens and the DC movie universe collapsed before our very eyes. Also, on their way out the door, a long list of powerful film executives and creatives have been taken down by the #MeToo movement in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.
I sometimes will joke to my friends that the 2016 election, the success of Michigan sports and the quality of various entertainment products I enjoy can be directly linked. Going into Nov. 2016, Michigan Football was undefeated and ranked third in the country. Four days after Donald Trump got elected, Michigan dropped a heartbreaker to Iowa and, at the end of the month, J.T. was stopped short — or at least we Michigan fans think he was. Going into Nov. 2016, the “Star Wars” franchise had made a triumphant return and was poised to recapture its former glory as the granddaddy of all film franchises. Two years and three controversial movies later, the franchise seems doomed to relish in its own past for eternity. Like America, it can’t move forward. Two years and seven episodes later and George R.R. Martin is nowhere close to finishing the books series that has become the basis for the TV phenomenon “Game of Thrones.” He’s trapped in stasis. Of course, a rational mind knows that none of these things are connected. In my mind, however, they will always be inextricably linked.
This year, Michigan seems poised to at long last reclaim its rightful place at the top of the Big Ten conference. A date with destiny in Columbus seems inevitable and you can’t help but feel that at long last our time has come. All of the polling seems to indicate a huge win for Gretchen Whitmer and a strong chance for the Democrats to take back the House. The leaks coming out of Belfast seem to indicate that the last season of “Game of Thrones” will be good. But with Dylan McCaffrey out, Michigan is just one bad play away from having to start a third-string quarterback, “Game of Thrones” has never been the same since they passed the books, J.J. Abrams is surely just going to remake “Return of the Jedi” and it’s raining on Election Day. Maybe I will wake up tomorrow and all of my blue wave dreams will come true. But if these two punishing years have taught me anything, it’s the same thing that has been ingrained into me as a Michigan and Detroit sports fan since I could breathe: “Hope for the best, expect the worst.” I think I’ll put an old episode of “The West Wing” up on the TV to cheer myself up. After all, it’s raining on Election Day.