In this week’s Rainbow Votes 2020 newsletter, Xtra’s U.S. political correspondent Nico Lang looks at the impact of nearly four years of President Donald Trump—on America and on himself.
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The personal, the political
In his opening essay, Lang reflects on a panic attack that led him to hospital last week—all thanks to years of covering the tumult of American politics under Trump’s leadership. “Nearly every person in my life warned me that after nearly four years of the stress of covering the Trump administration, something had to give,” he writes. “I could feel it starting to unravel but didn’t want to admit to myself that it was getting to be too much.”
Election stress disorder
If you’re feeling especially stressed, anxious or depressed as Nov. 3 approaches, you’re not alone. It might be Election Stress Disorder—a phenomenon where what’s happening at the political level affects our mental and even physical health. Lang chats with researchers to better understand what happens to us when we experience politics on a personal level.
Trump’s month has been, to use one of his favourite phrases, a disaster. He currently trails Biden by 10.6 points nationally in FiveThirtyEight’s poll tracker, which would make 2020 the most lopsided election in 36 years, and his approval numbers with suburban women and seniors are so bad that he has begun to literally beg for their support. “Will you please like me?” he asked those suburban women at a recent rally in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.
During Trump’s town hall last week, journalist Savannah Guthrie practically disassembled the president live on air, fact-checking him in real time and calling out his many, many, many lies. The most talked-about exchange: regarding support for the president among followers of QAanon, a conspiracy theory movement founded on the belief that the world is controlled by wealthy pedophiles. The moderator prompted Trump to denounce them, and after refusing to condemn the far-right group Proud Boys just two weeks prior, he again declined the invitation. “I know nothing about QAnon,” he said. “I know very little.”