Alex Massie Alex Massie

America, what has become of you?

And so, at long, long last, the end approaches. In fact, as millions of Americans have voted before election day, the end has begun already. Thank heavens for that. Like Paradise Lost, no-one ever wished this election longer.

It has been a gruelling time, in which patience has been of the essence. For months, members of the reality-based community – in the United States and across the world – have waited and waited and waited for Donald Trump’s campaign to fizzle into deserved nothingness. That patience has been tested time and time again; with luck and the good conscience of America it will finally be rewarded tomorrow.

But to think it came to this at all. Trump’s rise to the Republican nomination was bad enough, his staying power much worse. It’s fashionable, at least on the British left, to now argue this shows the weakness and inadequacy of Hillary Clinton. Perhaps it does, though the wistful suggestion an Elizabeth Warren or a Bernie Sanders would have thumped Trump strikes me as a powerful piece of comfortable confirmation bias, unsupported by any strong evidence to bolster its claims. The world is not always ordered as we might wish.

In any case, you dance with the partner you have, not the candidate you might have desired. Whatever else may be said of Hillary Clinton, she has a certain dogged stickability. For a quarter of a century now, in one role or another, she has defied her critics. Mud-spattered and bruised, she keeps on going. There is something to be admired there, even if you do not find yourself naturally drawn to Mrs Clinton.

But in this election she is, as Barack Obama once put it, likeable enough. In fact, Hillary has never been more likeable, if only because the alternative is so grotesque. The contrast with Donald Trump ennobles Clinton.

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