“It feels like people have put away their cynicism during this election year," said Eric Olmscheid, 27. “But if I had to bet, I’d say that the cynicism will come back once we have a new president.”
An arts education manager, he is another of the people with whom we’ve been speaking as we have moved through Iowa toward Election Day. As with the others, we spoke with him not so much about his preference in candidates, but his sense of what this election year has been like.
“People haven’t been as cynical as usual because, no matter who wins, there’s going to be a change in Washington for the first time in eight years,” he said. “The voters know that the president and vice president will not be people who have been working in the White House.
“But when I say that the cynicism will probably come back, that’s just because the first time the new president, whoever he is, makes an important decision, some people are going to be happy about it and some aren’t. It’s not going to feel like a campaign– in a campaign, the candidates don’t have to make real decisions for the country. And the people who don’t like that first decision the new president makes are going to go back to their old way of thinking about politics."
Still, he said, he believes most Americans understand that “things don’t happen in this country based just on what the president of the United States wants to happen." And he hopes the energy that has been shown by the electorate all during the campaign doesn’t disappear the first time what happens in the new administration feels like business as usual.
“There won’t be the flashiness of the campaign,” he said. That’s just the reality of governing, he said– the everyday business of running the country is not as compelling and exciting as what our presidential campaign seasons have turned into.
“But so many people have become involved with the campaign, thinking about it and talking about it and really caring about it,” he said. “I hope that doesn’t go away. Because I think the enthusiasm and engagement, no matter who you want to win, has been good for everyone, and I wouldn’t want to lose that."