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Why are Americans still obsessed with the 2016 campaign a year later?

Mark Z. Barabak, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Political News

It's the election America just can't quit.

One year later, much of the country continues to obsess over Trump vs. Clinton, as though still seated on the couch, eyes agog, watching the final, decisive returns trickle in from Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

This is not normal.

Normally, campaigns have an expiration date, a day or two after the TV networks strike their sets and the newspapers stuffed with election returns hit the recycling bin.

But the biggest upset in modern political history has overturned that convention, along with so much else that once seemed customary.

Part of the reason is the outcome, so incredible the shock waves continue to reverberate. Part of it is the influence of social media, which keeps the election alive in endless posts and tweets and snarky memes, insult piling atop injury.

Part of it is that the election is the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation into Russian interference and the question of whether Donald Trump's team colluded with foreign agents to kneecap Hillary Clinton and capture the White House.

Many who opposed the president refuse to recognize his legitimacy, in part because of Russian tampering, and their snub eats at Trump, who keeps pummeling his vanquished rival as though it were three days before the vote, not 366 days after.

Every insult, every presidential breach of protocol, every new outrage -- and for those who can't abide Trump they seem to come daily -- sparks a backlash from his opponents, which in turn sparks a backlash from his supporters, who see a president under constant unfair assault.

It's a perpetual emotion machine.

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