My OediBUSH Complex and this election as the “Great American Novel”

by awindram

The suspension of the Jeb! campaign saw the closing of one electoral sub-plot, the increasing enmity between Bush and Rubio – though it ended unsatisfyingly with a sigh rather than an exclamation.

Shame, it gave this election cycle one story that had an intriguingly Oedipal angle to it; an Athenian tragedy acted out by gray politicos and where verse is replaced by electoral sound bites falteringly delivered. The tale of the younger man who, for his own advancement, slays the father figure – although I’m not sure I want to know who in this scenario would be Jocasta to Rubio’s Oedipus and Bush’s Laius.

Still, other plots will continue this cycle, some may end tonight in Nevada, and new ones may begin.

I know I keep groping for rather strained comparisons in this blog, last time out I compared the GOP candidates to 80s action movies, and this time to Sophocles, but perhaps there’s a larger point, or personality flaw within me in that I can only see this election in narratological terms.

Indeed, the most strained comparison is the one that I am going to make now, and that is that this election may, in fact, be the “Great American Novel” – or, at least, a compelling candidate for that title. What would be more American than for the “Great American Novel” to actually not be a novel, but rather an 18-month election campaign and its resulting election coverage? Election 2016 even shares the main characteristics of works such as Moby Dick, The Adventures of Augie March, A Confederacy of Dunces, Gravity’s Rainbow, Infinite Jest, Catch 22, in being unnecessarily flabby and surprisingly funny.

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