Here’s what happened:
Most people were excited to talk about the future of the internet. I showed them a machine from my pocket more powerful than machines costing them thousands of dollars. They loved it!
Then we got to talking about politics. 1996 was an election year, too. Bob Dole had just put up a stop on the information superhighway, so the internet was already affecting politics back then, even if only a tiny amount.
I told them that there were three main presidential candidates: Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and Gary Johnson.
People were happy about Hillary as the Democratic Nominee. They were glad to see a woman nominated, and weren’t surprised at all that she went on to be a Senator and then Secretary of State.
People were a little surprised to hear that Gary Johnson was the Republican nominee.
“Isn’t he the Governor of New Mexico, elected last year? I read about that guy. He’s focused on making government more efficient, and ran largely on his own money, without help from the GOP elders. I like that.”
Nobody was surprised when I told them that the Republican governor of a Democratic state was reelected in a landslide. Someone else chimed in:
“Johnson seems mostly focused on smaller, more efficient government. That’s what I like about the GOP. I’m glad they abandoned their recent focus on ‘family issues’, which seems largely like a coded way of saying “enforcing sexual norms.” I’ve got a bunch of gay colleagues, and I’d be thrilled to find out that maybe a few states like California would pass gay marriage laws. Hearing Johnson is the GOP nominee gives me hope.”
The Trump candidacy alarmed them, but only slightly.
That guy? The one on the wrestling show? Why on earth would he run for president. Maybe to get money?
They all agreed that Trump’s candidacy didn’t pose a threat because nobody would vote for him over a qualified Democrat like Hillary, running against a qualified Republican like Johnson.
“If anything, this is a great argument for why the two party system helps us. Trump can’t get anywhere near the white house.”
I didn’t have the heart to tell them the truth.