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This depressing election

Douglas Schoen and Patrick Caddell tell us how terribly depressing (my word) the presidential election campaign has been, and how the future — no matter who wins — is bleak. A few quotes:

Unlike other elections, we saw no mobilizing of a new generation. There were no shining cities on a hill or end to the Washington politics that is crippling our system. This has been a campaign with no other purpose than to be elected. … Neither side has waged a campaign to secure a mandate from the people to govern for the next four years. Obama has forfeited the opportunity to do so. And although Romney may be able to strike a deal with the right of his party on fiscal issues and as a new president-elect may be able to fashion a deal, he has offered no overarching vision as to where he wants to take the country or any specifics on how he would achieve his economic and fiscal goals. He will have been elected merely because the country decided that it didn’t want four more years of Obama.

This grim reality that we will face no matter who leads us will likely head a government that will be impotent and in gridlock.

What typically has happened in American elections, even the most contentious ones, is that we have come out of them with a renewed sense of purpose, with our democracy in its essence reaffirmed and the people of the country and the rancor of the election put behind us. That almost certainly will not be the case this time around.

Put another way, the legitimacy and strength of our system is usually enhanced by elections. In this case, we are sure that the entire electoral process has weakened us as a people, a nation and a force for good in the world. There will indeed be a victor in this election, but it almost certain that America will not be a winner.

The full op-ed is on Politico at Winter is Coming.