Have you ever dropped in someone watching a soap opera and gotten sucked in? Or maybe a sick day on the couch brought you back to a daytime drama you watched in college, or a reality show you’ve heard of but never seen?
The show itself: It don’t make no damn sense. It’s confusing. But it’s immediately understandable, and kind of reassuring in it’s consistency and predictability.
Updates from the extreme right wing can be like that. A concerned voter with a full life can hum along, vote for relatively sane people in local elections, care in varying degrees about city council and school board issues, and feel just fine crossing the aisle sometimes. (Hey, I’ve voted for John Warner)
It’s not even worth saying that politics is full of the crooked, the narcissistic, the criminal and the weird. Politics is also full of the boring, the schlubby, the hardworking but mediocre. Nobody cares about that. The soaps are what get the clicks, and you can’t tell me that it isn’t a soap opera.
Day to day, year to year, cycle to cycle, a voter can lose track of who specifically is what degree of evil, and who is or is not back from the dead. Do we care about Newt Gingrich this year? Is Glenn Beck pleading for empathy for the #BlackLivesMatter movement? Is Paul Ryan a P90X anti-choice nutjob ala Santorum, or is he the voice of reason who isn’t so sure about Trump? Are John and Marlena together? Will Khloe ever forgive Lamar? The only way to know the details is to watch it every damn day.
But most of us aren’t addicts. We’re dropping in like we’re watching “Days of Our Lives” with our favorite aunt for the first time in a decade. It’s a little confusing, but the gestalt is always the same.
Why do I bring this up? Not for any particular reason, I suppose. It’s just that Ted Cruz just endorsed Donald Trump, which is equal parts unsurprising and surprising, and equal parts breaking news and business-as-usual. You can read the whole spiel on Facebook, because that’s where celebrities promote themselves. But there’s really no point. It’s boilerplate, as predictable as a soap opera wedding. Just like a soap opera, it can only be watched with detachment and a suspension of disbelief. I don’t know what exactly can be done about that.
Apart from the obvious, which is to vote for Hillary Clinton, and pay attention to local elections.