In this nasty electoral season, I'm pondering the observations of two smart, decent men who've lived through similar electoral travesties.
First, here's Charles Blow, recollecting the contest between Democrat Edwin Edwards (the corrupt old "crook") and David Duke (former Grand Wizard of the KKK) for Louisiana Governor in 1991.
Then I came across this blog post from Scot Nakagawa, an experienced justice advocate from Oregon. In 1992, a "Christian" right wing group proposed an "Abnormal Behaviors Initiative" to embed anti-gay discrimination in the state constitution. Against initial polling and conventional wisdom, this measure was defeated by a path-breaking campaign whose elements Nakagawa summarizes: 1) opponents convinced voters the measure was extreme, "went too far;" 2) LGBT people like him threw themselves heart and soul into the campaign; and 3) allies came out in support, forging new relations in the struggle. He celebrates that victory, but strives to bring the lessons of this experience to bear on the horrid morass of racist, misogynist bigotry that is the Trump eruption.
It's going to be a long electoral season. But hard won fights too can leave their residues. And those can be very good indeed.