I say the F-bomb a lot these days. It's self-preservation. Who can blame me? Donald Trump has been an utterly transformational president, if Slytherin is your team.
Go ahead, White Supremacists, "stand back and stand by". This president will "have to see what happens" if he chooses to leave office peacefully. America's real-life Nightmare on Elm Street features super-spreader campaign events that have folks simply dying to attend. That's after more Americans have died from Covid than were killed in Vietnam, the Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq wars combined.
Give the man his due. He's killed satire too. Trump has assembled a team of anti-heroes, ripping up the very institutions they're supposed to protect.
America now has an heiress running the department of public education, who wants to make public education private. His Head of the Environmental Protection Agency, a former coal lobbyist, says climate change is not his first priority. His Attorney General is accused of such partisanship that 2000 former prosecutors and Department of Justice officials have called for him to resign.
To top off our Fiesta de WTF next month, just as 85 per cent of Americans have the option to vote by mail because of Covid, his Postmaster General, a major Trump donor, removed 711 mail sorting machines from 49 states. That's after suggesting not making ballots first class mail. Sort of inconvenient for the 65 per cent of Democratic voters who say they'll vote by mail, versus the majority of Republicans who say they'll vote in person.
Last week, as early voting polls opened, I watched, mute, wavering between raw anger, sorrow and utter respect for the black voters in Georgia standing in line for eight hours or more, just to have their political voice heard.
They wait. We must too. Because no one will know who will be the 46th president on election night. Let me say that again. The American election will not be accurately called on election night. Despite the victory speech Trump will deliver to unmasked, cheering crowds that evening. Despite how much Republican red may fill television maps.
Remember these phrases, "Red Mirage" and "Blue Wave". The Republican "Red Mirage", as political punters are already calling it, may reflect the 71 per cent of Republicans who are voting in person, whose ballots will be counted on election night. For the majority of Democrats who are voting by mail, it may take days, even weeks, to get final numbers, as Democratic votes get counted later in a potential "Blue Wave".
What happens then? Get ready. This interregnum between election night and inauguration will be a firestorm that America hasn't felt before. It's what keeps me up at night. I say this with an incredibly heavy heart: prepare for violence after this election. The degree of that violence — or if it exists at all — is dependent on one thing only: how large the margin of the vote.
Enter Donald Trump's lifeline. This president will shout these three words from election night — until the day he dies: "Massive ballot fraud". He's already started, declaring "a fraud like you've never seen", before even one ballot was cast. Worth noting, America's past election fraud rate has ranged from 0.0003 per cent to 0.0024 per cent.
But that's not how this president will call it. Republicans will begin a process of disavowing masses of mail-in ballots. Stories will suddenly appear of mail dumped in rivers or garbage cans, with alleged Trump ballots.
Something rare may actually happen, too, if it comes down to a close swing state. A Republican-controlled State legislature may even attempt to manipulate their state electors to change their pledged electoral college vote, claiming they can, because of this "mass mail fraud".
The courts will get pummelled. Teams of lawyers from both sides will mount challenges, arguing over what has always been an American hallmark — the peaceful transition of power.
What is the one thing that can possibly stop these two freight trains barreling toward each other?: If Biden wins by a landslide. If Biden re-takes the rust belt states, Florida, Arizona, Georgia and even Texas. If we see even half of that big 8-10 point lead that Biden currently holds make Biden's win truly definitive—despite the shouting, disavowed ballots and voter suppression.
Never in my wildest nightmares would I have imagined fearing violence after an American election. But then again, I never dreamed I'd be more grateful today for international pity than actually having to live through seeing this poison president destroy my country.
• Tracey Barnett is a columnist, author and founder of the refugee issues initiative, WagePeaceNZ.