Eleven Writers Imagine What Happens After Election Day

Illustration for article titled Eleven Writers Imagine What Happens After Election Day

Bookmaker Paddy Power is giving 1-10 odds that Barack Obama will win tomorrow’s election. But we still don't know what'll really happen on election day — and right afterwards. Will an Obama administration have the funds to bring about his promised changes? Will President McCain survive a full four-year term? Could some dark horse emerge at the last second to stage an election upset? Five Dials magazine asked eleven writers to speculate on who will win the presidency, and what the post-election future holds.Hamish HamiltonBritish magazine Five Dials asked eleven writers to “remember” their experiences on November 5, 2008, the day after Election Day. Of the eleven, three select McCain as the fictional winner. Two imagine the president-elect as promptly dying, but Suketu Mehta, author of autobiography Maximum City posits a world where Obama and Palin both go rogue – for each other:

He told her he wanted to have a private talk, to tell her that her attacks on him were getting increasingly hysterical and dangerous. The man arrested with the rifle at his last rally had said he had ‘been riled up’ by her speeches. He was going to ask her to cool it down, just a little. So they went up alone, in the still of the night, to her suite in the Sheraton on the square. Who knows what happened there? Was it just loneliness, the brutal months on the trail, or just intelligent desire? They’re not doing any explaining, and it doesn’t matter anyway. When he told his wife the next day, the first thing she said was, ‘I’m no Hilary.’ The cuckolded husband, on the other hand, didn’t bat an eyelid. He was used to it. ‘You’ll come back,’ he predicted.


Lydia Millet has written politically-tinged comedy (George Bush: Dark Prince of Love) and speculative fiction (Oh Pure and Radiant Heart, where three Manhattan Project physicists are transported to modern America to survey their work). She envisions Obama eking out a victory, and how the Republican ticket handles the news:

John McCain, after delivering a cheerful concession speech that confused supporters and opponents alike with its puzzling allusions to ‘victory over the yellow man’, is taking a well-deserved rest in one of his eight homes in Sedona, Arizona while Sarah Palin, who plans to resign the governorship in favour of work in the private sector, is busy signing sponsorship deals with a number of corporations, including a hockey faceguard manufacturer based in Duluth and the trendy Japanese maker of her wire-rimmed glasses.


Playwright and memoirist Said Sayrafiezadeh, whose parents were members of the Socialist Workers Party, writes a fantasy that has neither major party candidate as victor. Instead, the people elect Roger Calero, the SWP candidate:

The Church of St Paul the Apostle was overflowing as usual and it was early evening before my wife and I could get inside. The carrot soup had a slightly metallic taste and the bread was stale and the stench of body odor was oppressive, but it didn’t matter. There was lots of excited talk at our table about how Calero had declared he was going to end the use of currency within three days of his inauguration. Within three weeks all factories and farms would revert to complete worker control. Were these just campaign promises? someone at the table asked. No, people responded vigorously, Róger Calero was a different kind of politician, he was a worker – a meat packer – and his interests were working-class interests. Everyone had a good laugh about the way McCain and Obama had tried desperately to salvage their campaigns by claiming that they too were socialists. ‘I’ve always hated capitalism and imperialism just as much as you have, my friends,’ someone said, mimicking McCain’s much-derided statement. A few of the lawyers got into a lively debate over how quickly Bernanke and Paulson would be brought to trial and whether they should be imprisoned for life or used to build roads and schools. And then everyone voiced their enthusiasm that Bush should also be tried if he could be extradited from the Cayman Islands.

But some writers suspect nothing ever changes, as with Hot Animal Love scribe Scott Bradfield, whose entire entry reads:

Of course I remember – who doesn’t? Personally, I blame Nader.

The full entries are available in the latest issue of Five Dials. Image from spudlyspudly. [via The Guardian]


Share This Story

Get our newsletter


Franklin Harris

... many years later...

Taylor rode down the beach until he dismounted his horse beneath the shadow of a huge, ruined monument. He fell to his knees.

"You finally did it!" he said. "Damn you all to hell!"