Has it been 4 years already? My, how time flies when your country is held in the iron grip of the new Nazi reich! Why, just a few ICE roundups ("The goal is to terrorize"), concentration camps, and blatant systematic sex trafficking barons, and it's like the first term of "I still can't believe he's president" Trump just flew by! Yet oddly, we have all aged a couple centuries in four years.
Which makes my job here as a political prophet this election season that much more dismal.
Our only hope in the United States is the Democrats. You can forget all the pretenses of party affiliation right now. "Republican" and "Democrat" mean nothing in terms of being conservative, liberal, or deciding how to run the country. As of now, Republicans are openly out to destroy the world in a giant apocalyptic fireball and Democrats are just the people mildly murmuring a token resistance. There's no such thing as political parties right now; there's just barely anything left of American Democracy, to say nothing of the vanishing traces of civilized society itself.
With heroes like these, who needs villains? If this is the best we're getting, all hope is gone.
The Democratic Line-Up:
For brevity's sake, we are going to leave out the spam candidates who are just here to clog up the ranks and aren't bothering to run. If you can't score a "1" on any one of the polls in Politico, Economist, The Hill, NBC News, or Emerson, then buzz off and quit wasting our time.
Tagline: "Why we even having an election?"
Fate: He's it, Biden or bust!
Biden is our front-runner. Every poll gives him a landslide spread, with just a couple contenders nibbling at his ankles. Heir to the Obama legacy, he's the closest thing we have to a Kennedy within a rock's throw of the White House. He's more conservative than the late John McCain, but that's what passes for an electable Democrat these days. Polling at 28.6, more than double the second-place runner, so the faster everybody else drops out, the better. Of course, that would make good common sense, so that's the opposite of what's going to happen.
Tagline: "You suckers are going to fall for my schtick again, aren't you?"
Fate: Shoveling coal for his boss in Hell.
We all know the first reason Trump won 2016 because Russians foisted him in. And the second reason Trump won is that Hillary Clinton is just one more faux-Republican in the centrist Clinton line anyway. Which means we never got around to discussing the third reason Trump won: THIS asshole! Slanders Sanders is again, for the second time, not a Democrat, but riding the coattails of the Democrat party with one single-minded mission: throw mountains of crap at the Democrat party so the Republican wins again. Together with his toxic, antagonistic, "Bernie bro" base, who said they'd flip for Trump out of spite and then did exactly that, who said they would smear the Democratic National Committee out of misogyny and then did exactly that, Bernie is the other reason we can't have a nice election this year.
Tagline: "I'm only accepting this candidacy until a better country comes along."
Fate: World's oldest Senator incumbent (Or Joe Biden's running mate - wouldn't that be REALLY NICE!).
Let's face it, Elizabeth Warren is too damn good for 21st century America. They've been trying to draft her for president since she first set foot in D.C., and she's been turning it down for as long. She's basically running now so everybody will stop yelling at her to run. Warren is just the type of person you want in power because power is the least thing she wants. She's in politics to get things done, and the sandbagged Senate is where she's most needed. Without barely campaigning at all, she's polling neck-and-neck with Bernie Sanders, who never lets go of a podium and microphone.
Tagline: "A little of me goes a long way."
Fate: Built-up stress will make her an even more bitter and toxic Senator until she starts getting DUIs.
Kamala Harris, you faded too soon. She is polling in double digits, and so has at least a moderate claim to be in this race. But she blew it already! Attacking the front-runner in this race is the Sander-esque act of poisoning your own plate. While Harris' heart is mostly aligned with lawful good and she has progressive street cred out the wazoo, she's running in the wrong race. She cracks under pressure, in a year where seismic pressure will test Democratic candidates in a bath of lava.
Tagline: "So European, I can't see that having my name contain the word 'butt' is a political handicap."
Fate: Novelty guest blogger on Andrew Sullivan's podcast.
Pete Buttplug Buttigieg is a mountain of contradictions, which makes him the most interesting person at a cocktail party but the candidate who mutually ostracizes every known voting block at once. Republicans hate him because he's gay. Millennials hate him because he's Christian. Americans hate him because he knows languages other than English. Polling in fifth place, which is still single-digit territory. If you need more hints that he isn't going to win, consider that he's managed to be both a member of John Kerry's campaign and backed by Howard Dean, for a double-shot of doomed Democrat candidate flashbacks.
Tagline: "At the end of the day, I'm still just another white guy from Texas."
Fate: Statue at the commemorative Millennial Hall of Almost Fame.
Can there be any more Millennial hero than Beto O'Rourke? He is celebrated, nay, canonized, as the man who almost didn't lose the 2018 Texas Senate race. In his very narrow almost-victory, he lost to Ted "Sam I am" Cruz by an amazingly narrow margin of just a few hundred thousand votes, entitling him to a gold star, a "good sport" sticker, a "nice try" trophy, a "placed" blue ribbon, a commemorative "at least you tried" plaque, and a kick in the ass to get straight out of this race where we don't need 2.8th place pollers.
Tagline: "This run will do wonders for my late-night talk show entry!"
Fate: Promising career in show biz; political career is a prop.
Cory Booker is not a candidate. He is, instead, whom you would cast as a candidate if you were doing a sitcom about the presidential race. We already know what comes of taking a candidate seriously when they don't take themselves more seriously than to appear on Parks & Recreation and Conan O'Brien. Booker took the front stage in the early anti-Trump push, but so far he's good at sound bites for reporters and lousy at making anything stick. He's photogenic enough to poll in the single digits.
Tagline: "Shouldn't I be in Silicon valley buying Evisort stock right now?"
Fate: Dedicated shrine in corner of George Takei's living room.
Once again, Yang is also the right candidate for the wrong year. In a calmer, more sane environment where we didn't have Sauron Himself bearing down on us, we'd love to listen to Andrew Yang's ideas. He has a great, lofty vision of a Socialist-Democrat utopia, one which, in a sane world, we would have switched to by now. But as it stands, we're too busy putting out the dumpster fire and rescuing the Constitution and the flag from said burning dumpster to debate whether we want mauve curtains in the parlor. Polling 1.4, say no more.
Tagline: "I'm running for what, again?"
Fate: Four pages in the future book "What Went Wrong With The Trophy Generation."
Once again, we have a single-digit poller at a lordly 1.0, whom we're sure is a very nice person and very popular in her office of district 2 in Hawaiian congress. She's so far behind that she's biting Harris' ankles. But what does it take to get this message through by now: To defeat Trump, we need a thermonuclear grade candidate. We need King Kong riding on the back of Godzilla riding on the back of Galactus to crush the little tyrant. This is not the year to run for president like you're running for employee-of-the-month at Build-A-Bear workshop.
Tagline: "Running for president is just like having a church bake sale, jah?"
Fate: She might also be back, this time with extra pepper on that casserole.
Amy Klobuchar is an example of a viable candidate who's been sacrificed in the stampede of wanna-be politicians playing presidential dress-up. More Midwest than baked hot dish with Wisconsin dairy cheese and ranch dressing, Klobuchar is an experienced and strong politician who has all the feminist appeal of Hillary Clinton without her vulnerabilities. She's had a great progressive record and has attracted broad acclaim. What the hell, she even managed to pull a 1.0 in the polls. Run more aggressively and come back, Amy!
Tagline: "There are no photos of me wearing a tie."
This is probably the very first time any of you have seen Steve Bullock's name in print. That's because he's so obscure that even his own mother loses count of how many kids she's had sometimes. Bullock is polling at a lordly 0.8, dauntlessly optimistic. The only reason he's running is that, apparently, winning an election in Montana gives you that much confidence, even though a single tumbleweed blocking an intersection has been known to decide the fate of Montana elections.
Bill de Blasio
Tagline: "I'm a New York mayor, they make me run for president."
Fate: Prominent name mentioned in conjunction with New World Order conspiracy theories.
While Bill de Blasio has yet to show signs of major mental strain, we can look to former holders of his current office, like Rudy-Tooty-Fresh-and-Frooty Giuliani, for signs of his inevitable breakdown. Meanwhile, he just keeps getting more interesting the more you read about him. Who else do you know whose uncle worked for the CIA, has the name "Giovanni" in his family tree, has the endorsement of Alec Baldwin, and has the opposition of New York's law enforcement? He's too interesting to be president. Polling at 0.8, by golly, and he'll cling to every tenth of a percentage point.
Tagline: "I literally do not exist."
Fate: "Please clap."
That's just what we need: Another billionaire activist. A Democrat Ross Perot. A guy with no political experience whatsoever, not even elected dog catcher. Another would-be monarch bleating his warped worldview from the top of an ivory tower in New York. Polling at 0.7. No, just no.
The biggest enemy of any candidate, D or R, or of Democracy itself, is APATHY.
America, along with an anti-intellectualism problem, has an indifference problem. America has a love of helpless ignorance. "LOL I don't know nuttin' bout dat Washington business, I just feed de chickens!"
As contentious as the 2016 election was, it still only had 58% of eligible voters even show up. As panicky as we all were in 2018, just about 49% showed up to vote this midterm. That was hailed as a 50-year record turnout for a midterm election.
Roughly half the country even right now this minute says "I don't give a fuck!" We hail the 2018 midterm like a great victory just because we got a couple of results we wanted. That was after the massive, screaming, frantic alarm we sounded to drag people to the polls. People were getting free rides and pizza and beer just to go vote, remember our we-did-it-reddit crusade? That's what it takes for HALF the voters to drag their carcasses out of bed and give a rat's diseased anus for one minute.
Remember, no matter how many "woke" Democrats you reach on social media, no matter how many stupid Republicans Russia buys, no matter what, all parties are dwarfed by the great big mass of dark matter sucking away half the population every election.
The institutions of this country, right up to the Constitution itself, are founded on the assumption that everybody would vote. The very principle of Democracy is based on the assumption that people, given the chance of power to direct their government, will use that power - not just wisely, but at all. We're seeing that's not the case.
What are we supposed to do, force people to read the news and vote with a gun to their head? Nothing else will work. Even that may not work. The Scandinavian brand of Social Democracy seems to be downright rosy, though, but the American model is just about flat-lined. The whole idea of Democracy is to put the leadership in the hands of the people. When people don't show up, the country is leaderless. The trolley has jumped the track, and we're in the process of watching it tumble downhill.
If the US does survive, it will only be with radical change - not in the government, but IN THE PEOPLE. There was nothing wrong with our government when we actually showed up to vote and didn't cede our rights away for a century.
The government literally works like a Peter Pan faerie. Clap your hands if you believe and it will live.