If this election cycle is a mirror, then it is reflecting a society choked with fear. It's not just threats of terrorism, economic collapse, cyberwarfare and government corruption – each of which some 70 percent of our citizenry is afraid of, according to the Chapman University Survey on American Fears. It's the stakes of the election itself, with Hillary Clinton at last month's debate conjuring images of an angry Donald Trump with his finger on the nuclear codes, while Trump warned "we're not going to have a country" if things don't change.
Meanwhile, the electorate is commensurately terrified of its potential leaders. According to a September Associated Press poll, 56 percent of Americans said they'd be afraid if Trump won the election, while 43 percent said they'd be afraid if Clinton won – with 18 percent of respondents saying they're afraid of either candidate winning.
Trump's rhetoric has only served to fan the flames: "They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists." "It's only getting worse." "You walk down the street, you get shot." Build a wall. Ban the Muslims. Obama founded ISIS. Hillary is the devil. Death, destruction, violence, poverty, weakness. And I alone can make America safe again.