MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
We mentioned that we've been collecting songs from you that sum up how you've been feeling about this election, and there is one song that has been submitted more than any others. In fact, more than all the others combined. And I guess it's fitting coming out of that conversation about election anxiety.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD")
R.E.M.: (Singing) It's the end of the world, as we know it. It's the end of the world as we know it. It's the end of the world as we know, and I feel fine. Six o'clock TV hour, don't get caught in foreign towers, slash...
MARTIN: I didn't pick this. You did. That's "The End Of The World As We Know It" by R.E.M. And Ron Elving still with us. Thanks so much. Here's hoping that we will feel fine by Wednesday.
RON ELVING, BYLINE: Some people will, some finer than others no doubt.
MARTIN: That's right. So we've been talking a lot this hour about the unique features of this election. I wanted to close by hearing a final word from you on this. How is this different from anything you've seen?
ELVING: This may be the first election of the 21st century. Surely we've had others since the year 2000, but this is the one that really has changed the rules. This is one in which the traditional measures of how someone does well and whether or not someone is playing by the rules have really all been in some sense or another challenged or shattered. We have a candidate who never released his income tax returns, refused to do so, made it pretty clear that he hadn't paid a lot of federal income taxes for a very long period of time and wasn't really concerned about it, thought that made him look smart.
We also had a candidate in Donald Trump who is able to say things from start to finish from the beginning of the campaign until the end of the campaign that no politician would have dared to say before. And while they heard him with some people to be sure, they did not kill his candidacy, and he says he isn't a politician, even now 16 months after running for president. And he's found a large bloc of Americans willing to accept him on his own terms, not just as a way to punch Washington in the face, but as a person they see representing them and expressing their concerns.
MARTIN: All right. More Tuesday night. That's NPR senior editor and correspondent Ron Elving. Thanks for spending the evening with us in the studio. We'll see you Tuesday night on election night.
ELVING: Indeed. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.