Serious minds agree: This is without a doubt the most important presidential election of our lifetime.
How could it not be? After all, stuff is happening. The economy's on life support, the world's blowing up and people are, as we know all too well, really, really angry.
It must be axiomatic, then, that a vote for the most powerful elected person in the world amid these conditions would have to be important on a level quantifiable only to those with a thorough knowledge of compound equations and theoretical physics.
In case you don't believe it, we're constantly reminded this is, indeed, the most important election of our lifetime. Just look here and here and here. If you still don't believe, even Chelsea Clinton thinks so.
If so many experts declare that it's the most important election of our lifetime, then it simply has to be.
Not convinced yet?
Good for you.
The truth is, not only is the 2016 election not the most important election of our lifetime, it may in fact be the least important, at least as it pertains to the 13 I've been around for. Assuming the final match-up is Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump, this election compares to Nixon-McGovern, Reagan-Mondale and Clinton-Dole for races over the past 50 years that either were comical mismatches or for which the stakes in history were bound to be comparatively low. The 2016 race probably falls into the latter category.
No matter which president is elected, their impact is likely to be minimal, at least compared with past Oval Office residents. That's what happens when you choose from the two least substantial, most universally despised candidates in presidential history.
For those with limited attention spans, here's a basic summary of what to expect over the next four years no matter is who is elected: more fighting but nothing in the way of decisive maneuvers against radical Islamic terror; little economic growth in U.S., with a likely recession that will be countered with more zero interest rates and money printing; and most importantlyl, intensified levels of Washington gridlock where little if any meaningful legislation makes its way through Congress.
Don't believe me? Let's look at the candidates.
In the view of a large plurality of Americans, Clinton is an indelibly dishonest harpie, loathed by her own party and in a heated political battle against an avowed socialist whose master economic plan is free stuff for slackers and hipsters and a doubling of the national debt. Oh, and she's also facing a potential criminal indictment.
On the other hand, a recent poll tells us Trump is less popular than head lice, root canal and even Nickelback. In the view of the Stop Trump crowd (which includes a large swath of his own Republican Party), his entire governing plan is that he doesn't have one, and his campaign platform is a 5-by-7 index card of insults and promises of border walls and religious litmus tests for anyone wanting to come to Trumpmerica.
Want to tell me again why this election is so important?
The 2016 presidential race is the political equivalent of the Browns vs. the Chargers. It's the blizzard in April that will wash away in a few days or melt under the spring sun. Trump-Clinton is this year's "Our Brand is Crisis," a big-budget political flop with an alluring cast that ultimately was too shallow and outrageous to matter.
The irony is that more Americans will vote in this election than any other, only to elect a president whose mark in history will be that of a placeholder until the real one takes over in 2020. Even an opportunist the likes of Marco Rubio took himself out of the running to be Trump's vice president, telling CNN recently that the GOP standard-bearer would be better off picking someone more in tune with him philosophically. Translation: I still want to have a political future so keep me away from this guy.
As for Clinton, her veep choices center mostly around a collection of nobodies ranging from Julian Castro to Cory Booker to the ultimate longshot, Elizabeth Warren. Ultimately, she may face the same dilemma as Trump, with anyone wanting a shot at the 2020 race staying away for fear of being tarnished by this vapid campaign.
Who would want to follow these two into the future?
As previously stated, a recession is highly likely in the next four years. Fed Chair Janet Yellen is right that "expansions don't die of old age." But they also aren't Michael Myers, the "Halloween" villain who kept coming back to life no matter how many bullets, explosions or knife wounds he endured. A recession will come, and there will be political blood.
Voters and pundits, though, will continue to treat this is a serious campaign to chart the nation's future. Violence, fear and an incessant flow of political bile will follow.
That won't make this election important, though.
You need important candidates to have an important election. That's something this one most definitely lacks.