TUESDAY is Election Day. Thank goodness.

By Wednesday morning, we should know who was elected to what. By Wednesday afternoon, all the political signs dotting the landscape will hopefully start coming down.

Wednesday night, those candidates who promised to make sweeping changes will go to bed realizing that they don’t have power to do all the things they said they would.

By Thursday, things will be back to normal and all the politicking will be over.

You wish.

The day the local and state elections are over, the 2020 presidential race will shift into a higher gear. Remember that within three months, the presidential caucuses and primaries will begin.

If you think you’ve been deluged with political phone calls and junk mail for the past two months, just wait until next year. As the spring and summer seasons pass, you will be bombarded with messages from both the candidates and their survey-takers.

It is going to be a frustrating 11 months filled with promises, lies and character assassinations. Nothing seems beneath the dignity of either party these days. Both will stoop to anything.

Just as it was in the 2016 campaign, separating the truth from the lies will be the greatest task for voters in the 2020 presidential election.

No matter who the Democrats select as their standard bearer, the Republicans will be all over him (or her) just as the Democrats have been all over President Trump during his first three years in office. It is going to be a brutal campaign for both sides.

And make no mistake about it, Russia and China and even Middle Eastern factions will be involved, especially on social media. Just as the United States has tried to manipulate foreign elections for decades, those countries that don’t like us will try to do the same.

In the past several months, I’ve seen bumper stickers and Facebook posts that read: “Russia did not influence my decision to vote for Donald Trump.”

Are you sure?

Day after day, there are Facebook posts that belittle or spread lies about one politician or another. When I get them, they have been shared by some Facebook friend that passed them on.

But where did those posts originate? My friend didn’t create them. He just passed them along. They may well have been written in Moscow or Beijing or Tehran and placed onto some American’s Facebook page by a foreign hacker.

Few people ever question who wrote these posts. The reader just likes their political message, so he passes them on. Pretty soon it goes viral.

It is like the hateful rumors spread in a small town. They get passed on and on, with everyone adding his or her own little twist. Pretty soon, people start believing the rumor and it becomes fact, even though the story may be untrue.

Foreign influence occurred during the 2016 election and it will continue happening as long as Facebook and Twitter exist. False allegations will surface and be passed on. You will get the story from one of your Facebook friends and you may believe it. And that message could influence your vote.

As has also happened prior to the 2016 presidential election and the 2018 mid-term election, don’t be surprised to see racial and ethnic unrest surface again. The Russians and the Chinese know how Americans can turn on each other in a heartbeat, so they will prey on that weakness. Social media is a breeding ground for racial and ethnic unrest.

This, too, is nothing new. The American government has used such tactics to control foreign elections since the end of World War II. We are now merely getting a taste of our own medicine through social media.

What worries me more than anything, though, is what will happen after the 2020 election. The other night I saw the results of an NBC–TV survey that found that more than half of Americans fear a civil war, no matter who is elected.

That’s scary, but it is a fear I alluded to in a column months ago. You remember how bad Democrats acted after the 2016 election? It is likely to be much worse if Trump is re-elected.

And if Trump is defeated or impeached, the Republicans will be just as irate.

This country is standing on the edge of a political precipice, split apart to so great an extent that something has to happen. We are like two tectonic plates locked against each other and trying to shift. Eventually an earthquake is inevitable..

Get ready for “the big one.”

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Columnist Donnie Johnston lives in Culpeper County. Write him at djohn40330@aol.com.

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(3) comments

BILL LAWRENCE

"You remember how bad Democrats acted after the 2016 election? " AND STILL DOING IT! At the time Donald was elected, I predicted a non-stop, 24/7/365 screaming tantrum from democrats. Naturally, I was right, as always. They couldn't win a rigged election, they couldn't win a phony Russia collusion hoax, and they can't win a phony impeachment hoax. They don't know that "Because I Hate Him" is NOT grounds for impeachment. In the past 3 years, they have not done one single thing to benefit America, but they certainly have exposed for all to see their raging insanity. They are unhinged anyway, but that election pushed them over the edge so they con no longer even pretend to be rational. It's the greatest monkey show on earth. One danger still lurks. The country is divided between makers and takers. The democrat party is the party of takers, and when over half the population is convinced they had the right to live at the expense of the minority, the entire nation will collapse, with democrats as the party of takers cheering it on. Then they can install the soviet style "paradise" they fantasize about. Then the next civil war begins. Think the first one was bad. And those apes in that party think they can win. .

BILL LAWRENCE

I like the new comment format, but I don't see a way to edit a comment once it's been posted. Good idea to proofread, the re proofread, then do it again before clicking on "Post Comment". Still, I see an occasional typo I'd like to fix.

MICHAEL MCCLARY

"You remember how bad Democrats acted after the 2016 election?" Seriously? Because hundreds of thousands of women marched on Washington?

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