It’s come to this. 576 days after Hillary Clinton began her campaign for the Presidency, and 511 days since the start of the Trump campaign, the contest of “America’s Next Top President” will be determined by what happens at the polls today. The campaign has been one of the longer and sloggier in our nation’s history, an overwhelming drumbeat of an entire country’s anxieties blasted across airwaves, social media, and to massive crowds from coast to coast with percussive force. And now it ends.
But the thing about this election it that, despite it being a terrible global reality show from which there is no escape for 500+ days except the sweet release of death (mourn Prince and Bowie, but also: at least they don’t have to think about this friggin’ campaign anymore!), it isn’t just a vile race to the bottom from which we are unable to look away, it’s also a participatory process in which the ultimate conclusion is in the hands of We, the People.
To remind us of that–and of the fact that this election fits into the annals of American political history–Late Night with Stephen Colbert took us on a musical odyssey that tapped the talents of his cohort Jon Stewart, Hamilton‘s current Hamilton, Javier Munoz, and one adorable little girl. They constructed an 11-minute musical theater piece that explored the “why” of voting, featured multiple viewpoints on the responsibilities of citizens in a participatory democracy, and saw Stewart spit water in Colbert’s face a few times, because if this election has taught us anything, it’s that there’s no such thing as too much pandering.
The ultimate conclusion, of course, is that voting is a privilege and a responsibility, and specifically that voting to ensure that Donald Trump doesn’t become the next President of the United States is especially vital in a reality in which that is a non-zero possibility (Stewart just spit water in Colbert’s face again, presumably). As you struggle to get through the next twelve or so hours while constantly refreshing FiveThirtyEight and chewing your fingernails down to nubs, this can help provide a blissful eleven minutes of election-themed distraction.