On one side, a hope-and-change machine started up, despite signs of sputtering, stuttering, and stalling out from time to time. But, it always responded well to CPR, then would get right back on track, going down the center of the road.
On the other side, a blockade machine was built. It swerved hard right all the time, otherwise working flawlessly, halting all forward progress with random exclamations of "NO!" and "One term only or else!" and "Over our dead body!"
That was four years ago. Feels more like forty.
Both machines had constant tinkering as they rattled and wheezed along. The blockade machine worked out better than hoped: Its sworn mission was to stop everything cold until it could be in the lead. It most always did.
The hope-and-change machine went through cycles of falling back, then racing back to catch up, where it would have been. It would now and then do something observers thought nearly impossible -- surprising onlookers and its operators, too -- then, it would go back to running normally.
Both sides declared victory and went back to building new machines.
* * * * *
When the smoke clears, some estimates say the election will have sucked up $6 billion -- six thousand piles of one million dollars each. Funny how there's always more money for one more attack ad, but never enough to fix a piecemealed voting system to a level of paper-trail accountability and trust. In America, you get a receipt for buying a stick of gum -- but not for voting. This tells us which one is now seen to be worth more.