59. This Rotten Election Part 1: Your Guide To The Republican Primaries

republicancandidates1

Greetings and well met. Welcome back to the the Hunger Games of American politics. Bigger than Obama/McCain. Badder than Bush/Gore. This is your Stuff Corbin Hates Guide to the 2016 Presidential Election.

It’s a wonderful and terrible time to be alive and politically aware. I’ve been a politics junkie since high school, when it replaced pro wrestling as my guilty pleasure. It fills essentially the same void of aggressive bravado, ridiculous gimmicks, and fixed outcomes. To me, this upcoming election has the same feel of Wrestlemania XX.

Or Wrestlemania XXIII. You know, the one with Donald Trump in it.

The only real difference between pro wrestling and politics is that politics has real life consequences. And boy fucking howdy, you can guarantee the 2016 election will have some heavy repercussion. This is, in some respects, the most important election a lot of us have experienced in our lifetime. By “our” I mean us Millenials. If any boomers are reading this, tell your boomer friends with lots of money about this site. Kthanks!

What’s at stake, you might be asking?

  • We’re likely to replace at least a couple justices on the Supreme Court in the next four years, considering several of them are old enough to require dusting during slower days at the Court. This is important because our current Court is generally moderate (bordering on liberal) and the difference of a single justice can tilt it to a primarily liberal/progressive court or a conservative one. This is important for those of you who want your marriages equal, your abortions legal, and legal weed for one and all in the coming years. You know who you are.
  • The effects of climate change are here and aren’t going away anytime soon.  Scientists have already concluded that our world has two options at this point: “sucks, dude” or “completely fucking boned”. We’ve already doomed our wildlife and some of our more globally inconsequential islands, but now is the crucial time when we start taking steps to unfuck the world before we resign our descendants to a future that’s more like Mad Max than Star Trek. We need a chief executive who can help support the economic shift to green energy and take steps to regulate and control emissions. If China can do it so can we.
  • Along with the globe, the international climate has been heating up ferociously in the last two years. Syria (and the Middle East in general) has torn itself apart in a civil war, causing refugees to Zerg rush into Europe, causing Europeans to lose their aloof European cool in response to a chaotic flood of new immigrants. Ethnic tensions escalating in places of strong nationalistic pride have, historically, proven to be rather shitty for whichever ethnic group is fewer and poorer. Trust me, I’m German. Not to mention Vladimir Putin growing increasingly bold in throwing his Russian bear dick around the world in the last couple years. All of this in addition to the aforementioned dumpster fire that has consumed the Middle East makes the current international situation somewhat precarious to say the least.
  • Millenials have become an increasingly active and frustrated population in our country as we’ve begun graduating college and recognizing the enormous shit sandwich we’ve been made by drunk Uncle Sam while we were asleep. Good entry level jobs are few and far between, student loans have left us in perpetual debt, and we have to deal with perpetual scorn from our older generations like we’re the surprise pregnancy that ruined our culture’s honeymoon. We’re coming to terms with the fact that we will never have the same lives our parents enjoyed and we’re not pleased about it. Whoever we choose to lead our country needs to represent the needs of the younger generation, or we run the risk of things going Full Robespierre in the coming decades.
  • We’re seriously overdue for an alien invasion guys.

So how’s that for drama? They don’t make movies this exciting anymore. And the political climate has certainly risen to the occasion. Just in time for this crucial moment in our global life we have a supercharged political climate in our country that has, with its factions and aggressive rhetoric, come to resemble WCW circa 1998.

Still waiting for the Tea Party: Wolfpack.

In terms of insanity and hype, I can’t remember the last election that came close to the political blitzkrieg we’re about to experience as the election season continues. Our primaries are already fraught with burning questions. Will Hillary Clinton uphold her title as the Democratic Champion against rookie Bernie Sanders, the old frail upstart from Vermont? Who will triumph in the 20 Man (And One Woman) Republican Battle Royale for the Billion Dollar Koch Prize? Will Joe Biden show up, drunk riding shotgun in a bitchin’ Camaro, roll up at the very end to shoot finger guns at the audience to massive applause? The only way to find out is to tune in for the PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY SMACKDOWN.

*FIRE EXPLOSIONS*

It’s really staggering the amount of political clowns that have come out of the ether to don their warpaint and lay their claim to the Presidency. Thanks to that cool new Supreme Court decision that allows corporations to stick their big fat corporate dick money into elections, we are eyeballing a roster of politicians with war chests that could prop up the economies of several small nations ready to make it all rain to become the next King of America. We face a dizzying array of colorful personalities. Let’s get to know them, shall we? After all, one of these silly old men (or women) will be our new Leader of the Free World©. First, let’s meet our challengers on the Republican Side!!!

The GOP Nominees

RAND “The Squirrel” PAUL

You will probably know Rand best as the son of Ron “RON PAUL” Paul, the Libertarian former House member that your friend in community college was obsessed with. Rand, together with Ted Cruz form the Tea Party Tag Team that stand for states rights, freezing the national government, and questioning the birthplace of Barack Obama. He sits pretty low on the GOP pecking order, deferring most of the more outlandish actions to the infinitely more obnoxious and sniveling Cruz. His purpose is to get picked on by the other candidates, like the one time Donald Trump interrupted the 2nd GOP Debates just to call him ugly and nobody stopped him. Not even the moderator. It was sad. Here’s a video. It happens at the very end:

He has a few sensible ideas like scaling back the war on drugs and maybe not spying on our own citizen, but his chances at a nomination, let alone the presidency, are almost nil.

Best Path to the White House:  Become the pro-marijuana candidate, begin wearing rasta wigs to debates, refer to moderators and peers as “dude”, release his own brand of wax. Possibly do a guest spot on a Future song.

CHRIS “Battleship” CHRISTIE

Chris Christie is the current governor of New Jersey and would probably be our resident “tough guy” candidate if Donald Trump wasn’t running. Christie was a former darling of the Republican Party back in 2012 when the party was still maintaining the illusion of sanity. But then the Tea Party Wave had to go and happen and moderates like Christie got turned into political chum. He’s also had a couple scandals along the way, but you have to expect that with a politician from Jersey.

It doesn’t help that Chris Christie is also a huge hugger. Literally, he’s huge and he hugs people. Like Obama. Which, to the Republican base, is pretty much like hugging Sauron.

He’s also a Cowboys fan. So fuck him.

Today, Christie is stuck in low level feuds with lightweights like Rand Paul and Carly Fiorina and impotently bragging about his post 9/11 career while his poll numbers collapse into severe stress eating territory.

Best Path to the White House: Double down on the hugging. Wear “Free Hugs” shirts, demand every debate begin and end with a group hug, create huggable life-size Chris Christie dolls that double as giant bean bag chairs.

RICK “Sloppy Seconds” SANTORUM

I remember good ol’ Rick from back when he was competing with Mitt “R-Money” Romney for the GOP nomination in 2012. Rick was the fiery evangelical yang to Romney’s cold, robotic fiscal conservative yin. He hates gay marriage, abortion, and pornography almost as much as he hates having his name hijacked as a slang term for anal discharge. Thanks Internet. Although he exploited his strong religious credentials to great results in 2012 (he was next behind Romney for the nomination), Santorum has been somewhat lost in the shuffle of Christian Soldiers that are already running for the nomination this year. His biggest strength is his ability to take unbelievably awkward photos with his strange, Amish/Dickensian homeschooled family.

Best Path to the White House: Trade the family’s dad jeans and pullover sweaters for camoflauge and flak jackets and make an alliance with the Duggar Family to force a religious coup on the nation. Alternately, start their own country. They’ll have the numbers for it.

JIM “Old Gil” GILMORE

You might be asking yourself “Who is Jim Gilmore?”

That’s an excellent question.

Best Path to the White House: Build an actual white house to live in. Seriously dude, get a publicist or a Twitter or something.

BEN “Doctor Strangelove” CARSON

You know that friend you think might be insane? Not full-on-swastika-tattoos-and-tucking-his-balls-while-listening-to-Goodbye-Horses insane but just not exactly part of our world? We’ve all had that experience with a friend. You’ve hung out with them plenty of times, shared some laughs, and then one day (possibly drunk at a party) they tell you all about their theory that reptilians are running the country or their intense sexual desire for cat people. It happens to everybody at some point.

Ben Carson is that friend.

Dr. Ben Carson has a lot of credentials that make him attractive to voters. He was a neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins. He’s an emiritus fellow at Yale. His claim to fame is talking shit in a speech about Obama when Obama was TEN FEET AWAY FROM HIM. Regardless of political affiliation, you have to give him points for ballsiness. So the man has brains and balls. Two things that are good qualities in a president. It’s too bad he’s completely fucking bonkers.

To recount all of the crazy things said by Ben Carson would probably take up at least two entries’ worth of content. So I’ll just give you a random sampling:

That’s what thirty seconds of Googling gave me. The fact that someone with these absurd political views could be running for President is laughable. Ha ha.

That is…until you check out recent polls for the GOP nomination that has Carson polling second only to Donald “Fucking” Trump. He holds a tie for second with their fellow member of the Unholy Trinity, Carly Fiorina. One of the most entertaining dynamics of this race thus far has been the Republican base’s bird-dog like preference for candidates who have no political backgrounds. It’s the logical conclusion of the Republican message for the past eight years: government doesn’t work. It hasn’t worked since Barack Obama was elected President and Obama is scum and Obama is a politician and therefore anyone who is also a politician is also scum is also Obama according to Bizarro Socratic Logic.

This is what some Republicans actually believe.

It just sucks major ass for actual Republican politicians (and their donors) who are now being forced to court a voting base that doesn’t like them just because they’re politicians. They now have to say the same sexy, red meat, id-inducing statements as their non-political bedfellows just to appear exciting and viable.

So, hat’s off to you Republican voters: You’ve created the Thunderdome of American politics. The Doctor is in.

Best Path to the White House: Absorb his other anti-establishment cohorts like Cell from Dragon Ball Z to create Perfect Ben Carson.

Perfect Ben Carson

CARLY “The Stiletto” FIORINA

Carly is the resident conservative Fembot in the race. She also makes up the more oppressive corporate side of the anti-establishment Unholy Trinity of Ben Carson (The False Prophet) and Donald Trump (The Beast). Like Trump, she comes from the world of big business to show these politicians a thing or two about running things. After all, she’s a woman who was able to succeed in the cut-throat, man’s world of Corporate America. Except Carly Fiorina’s only success in business was successfully running Hewlett-Packard into the ground for six years before she was forced out of her CEO position. She was so successful and admired by her peers that she required a security detail during meetings. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that during her time at HP she laid off over 30,000 employees. Or maybe they were just intimidated by a strong conservative woman.

Carly’s main job in the primaries is to function as the Anti-Hillary. Because her own record is either non-existent or shitty, she spends most of her time attacking Hillary Clinton and her policies rather than actually raising her own brand. The GOP likes to paint Hillary as a cold, calculating career politician with no actual feelings, so in quintessential Republican fashion they run a woman who gives off compassion levels somewhere between Lady Macbeth and a Death Eater.

Luckily for Carly, the GOP base hates Hillary as much as they hate Obama and her poll numbers have her matched with Ben Carson in 2nd place behind Trump. She’s not going away anytime soon, which is a shame because of the three anti-establishment candidates, she’s the most despicable. Carson is insane and Trump is an annoying blowhard but Carly Fiorina is the one that ruined an entire company and thousands of lives. She’s a sterling example of the Republican Dream of fixing things that aren’t broken and then breaking it beyond comprehension.

Best Path to the White House: Mecha-Fiorina.

BOBBY “Smegma” JINDAL

In the Mortal Kombat series, there’s a fighter named Ermac who is a physical manifestation of the souls of a thousand dead warriors. Bobby Jindal is the physical manifestation of a thousand shitty political candidates. He is a flake of dandruff. He is snot. He is an empty suit wrapped around a shit-eating smile. He is a festering dingleberry on the sweaty ass-crack of the Republican field. Out of all the potential candidates, he’s the worst and most cringe inducing.

He has no charisma, has shown Sam Brownback-levels of shitty governing in Louisiana, defunded Planned Parenthood in his own state, and wears a big stupid fucking belt buckle like he’s Alan fucking Jackson.

Bobby’s level of shitty conservative vote pandering is so bad that BOBBY ISN’T EVEN HIS REAL NAME. He was born Piyush Jindal to his clearly Indian parents and changed his stage name to “Bobby” when he realized that “Piyush” might look too much like scary-googley-moogley-brown-people speak. When he decided to be a politician, “Bobby” must have gone to a doctor to have all of his shame surgically removed. When that whole Ahmed Muhammad clock fiasco was in full swing, Bobby Jindal was the only GOP candidate dumb enough to say the school district did the right thing. But at least he’s proud of his own ethnic heritage, right?

Bobby Jindal’s official portrait as Louisiana governor, proving he would rather look like Alfred E. Neuman than a brown person to potential voters.

If I was locked in a room with a revolver containing two bullets and the only other people with me were Bobby Jindal and the reanimated corpses of Hitler and Stalin, I would shoot zombie Hitler and Stalin and then pistol-whip Bobby Jindal until he’s unconscious. Then I would make him bury the corpses when he woke up.

Best Path to the White House: Shut up Bobby. Keep digging.

TED “Hurricane” CRUZ

While we’re on the subject of candidates with awfully punchable faces, let’s take a few minutes to explore the Andy Kaufman-like performance art/political career of Rafael “Ted” Cruz, Canada’s worst import since Nickelback.

Ted Cruz is either the biggest maniac running for office right now or the smartest dude in the room. At this juncture, it’s really hard to tell. Both is possible. Behind those hobbit ears and Witch of the West nose, there lies a calculating political animal of Richard III proportions. Ted has been able to take advantage of the aforementioned anti-political voting atmosphere by acting as the anti-politician since his election to the Senate in 2013.

How many politicians can take credit for single-handedly stopping the government, something that Cruz and his gang of Tea Party gremlins in the Senate actually accomplished in 2014? He earned bonus style points for reading passages from Green Eggs and Ham during a filibuster and then using it as a metaphor for Obamacare. We’re talking Lex Luthor levels of genius, here. That particular display of theatrics earned him a Wookie lifedebt from Tea Party voters, which gives Cruz the political clout to distinguish himself from other extremist candidates like Ben Carson.

Cruz is dangerous because while the other GOP candidates like Bush are left flailing impotently in any direction to stop the Trump Train from picking up anymore steam than it already has, Cruz seems to be the only candidate that possesses an actual plan. Cruz has strategically aligned himself with Trump to continue courting the anti-establishment vote while still cultivating a powerful presence in the legislature. Right now he’s gearing up to fight another shutdown war in the Senate over the funding of Planned Parenthood, another sexy right wing issue that fires up the base like the prospect of free molly at a rave.

My progressive friends like to shit their pants at the thought of a Trump candidacy, but the possibility of Ted Cruz winning the Republican nomination is something that looks likelier and likelier (and more terrifying) by the day. When the respective glass houses of Trump, Fiorina, and Carson (polling at 23, 13, and 13 respectively) collapse, Ted is the anti-establishment Batman to which their supporters will jump ship to give support. He refers to establishment Republicans like Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio as members of the “mushy middle” and heads up a formidable cult of personality that’s rivaled only by Donald Trump. When it gets down to primary crunch-time, don’t be surprised if Cruz is one of the last men standing.

The man has his own coloring book. This is not a drill.

Best Path to the White House: Comprehensive facial plastic surgery. The only thing holding Ted back from full world domination is his resemblance to a metrosexual orc.

JOHN “Gentleman” KASICH

Ohio Governor John Kasich is probably one of the more nationally unknown contenders on the list, but his history and credentials are far more extensive than most of the other GOP candidates. He served in the House for two decades, was the Chairman of the Budget Committee for seven years, and currently runs the 7th most populous state in the United States. In any other national election, Kasich might be a formidable challenger to the nomination for gravitas alone, but there’s no real room for moderates like him in the current Jerry Springer soundstage that is the GOP in 2016.

Although he has plenty of conservative street cred (his strangely specific hatred of teachers’ lounges for example), his profile simply doesn’t register compared to soundbyte-and-controversy factories like Trump or Cruz or the better publicized establishment stars like Bush and Rubio. He’s like a character in a TV show that doesn’t have star power or a zany quirk that makes them especially stand out. They just exist. John Kasich is the That Guy of conservative politics.

His main job in this election cycle is to survive long enough to be seen as a recognizable figure on the national stage, and then be named running mate and potential VP for whichever trigger happy chucklehead actually wins the nomination. It would be the great statesman relief that adds legitimacy to a potential Rubio ticket. Perhaps in the meantime he can pick up a hobby that makes him more interesting, like lion taming or ballet.

Best Path to the Presidency: Synthesize a super-contagious superflu virus that only targets voters in the Tea Party. Blame it on Bush.

MIKE “Jesus Christ Superstar” HUCKABEE

Mike Huckabee is the current holder of the Religious Right Heavyweight Championship, beating out former champion Rick Santorum. He recently defended the title against Ted Cruz, who he blocked from a Kim Davis rally so Ted couldn’t get a piece of the sweet, sweet evangelical fervor. Don’t fuck with the Huck when Jesus is on the table. These jowels don’t run.

Pictured: Two-thirds of the Worst Threesome in America.

Whenever Christianity becomes a subject in on our national conversations, Mike Huckabee will appear like a giant vulture for Christ to spout something ridiculous and feast on the media carnage. It’s been his M.O. for years. He rides deep with Kim Davis, Josh Duggar, and other nationally reviled members of the religious right. Back when the Sandy Hook massacre was still a fresh tragedy in our consciousness, the Huckster was quick to blame a lack of Jesus, not a lack of gun control, as the underlying issue. He’s in the race to sell more books and sign more Bibles. Can’t fault a grifter for sticking to his grift.

He also helped cover for his son when he killed a dog for fun in Boy Scouts. So yeah, he’s kind of a fucker.

Best Path to the White House: He doesn’t need it. He already has the keys to the VIP seat in every megachurch in our country. 

MARCO “Primetime” RUBIO

Rubio is the Great White Hope for the future of the Republican Party. He’s young (44), has strong conservative credentials (he’s the 17th most conservative member of the Senate), and is pleasant for the eyes and ears. He has the highest favorables of all the Republican candidates and has so far been successfully walking the tightrope of  staying visible in the polls while not succumbing to the campaign pressures of saying something outlandish to compete with Donald Trump. During both Republican debates, he was the one who came off the least reptilian and evil. My personal feeling is that Rubio will be the one to land the nomination when the dust settles and the bodies are cold at the end of this political bloodsport. But that’s provided that good sense wins out, which so far hasn’t been the case.

The Democratic Party should be worried about Rubio. He is the perfect counter-programming to a Democratic candidate that is practically guaranteed to be some combination of old and crusty. If he runs with someone like John Kasich, it will create the Republican equivalent of the Obama/Biden team: A young charismatic but inexperienced Senator that is supported by an elder statesman politician with party credentials. The Luke Skywalker/Obi-Wan Kenobi Dynamic would certainly do better than the GOP’s previous pairs: Old/Crazy in 2008 and Boring Senior/Boring Junior in 2012. Correctly managed, it would trample a Sanders candidacy (being more appealing to political moderates) and pose a serious threat to Hillary as well. His upbringing with a bartender father and housekeeper mother is the kind of background that would really take the piss out of Hillary’s reputation as a silver-spoon-career-politician. Rubio’s biggest challenges at this point are his lack of foreign policy experience and the prospect of having to drink water on camera again.

His form needs work.

Although he skews conservative on most of the usual issues (marriage equality, women’s rights, foreign affairs), Rubio does set himself against the majority of his party on immigration. While most of his peers have hopped onto the Trump Train of demonizing illegal immigrants, Rubio has crafted a very dangerous persona: The Sensible Conservative. His support of a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants makes him one of the only Republican candidates that would appeal to Latino voters, a constituency that the Republicans need to win this election. If Republicans are serious about remaining a legitimate party on the national scale, they need to pick a candidate that reflects the evolving dynamics of our culture, rather than the “Make America great again” crowd.

Rubio’s path to the nomination is not going to be a smooth journey, though. The poor guy has his work cut out for him. He’s been able to fly under the media’s radar for most of the cycle while they focus on the main event feud between Trump and Jeb, but as Jeb continues to lag in the polls while continuing to fuck his own campaign in the face it won’t be long before the hot spot gets focused on Rubio in a big way. Rubio will have to out-maneuver Bush, steer clear of Trump, and shout louder than Cruz if he wants a shot at the big chair.

Best Path to the White House: Get really good at rolling that twenty-sided dice, bro. You’re gonna have to make a lot of saving throws soon. 

GEORGE “NYC” PATAKI

I have a feeling that George Pataki is running his campaign because he lost a bet or a very important game of cards. He’s a pro-gay rights, pro-choice environmentalist running for the Republican nomination.

That’s the joke. Sorry George.

Best Path to the Presidency: Run Democrat.

LINDSEY “Gorgeous George” GRAHAM

Senator Lindsey Graham is a good-ol’ polite Southern boy with two defining traits: His effeminite-Foghorn-Leghorn speaking style and his deep rooted conviction to invade sovereign nations in the name of ‘MURKA. Lindsey has advocated military action against Syria, Iran, Russia, and probably fifteen other countries in the past ten minutes. He makes no secret that a vote for him is a vote for war. His war boner is so prominently displayed that it could probably function as his running mate in the extremely unlikely scenario of his nomination. He’s also single, ladies.

Ironically, Lindsey was one of the first political casualties in the Trump Wars when Graham dismissively referred to The Donald as a “jackass” in an interview near the beginning of Trump’s announced candidacy. Donald Trump responded by revealing Graham’s cell phone number in a public speech to demonstrate just how little he cares about stupid plebeian things like “campaign ethics”. Graham responded by posting a Youtube video of him destroying his cell phone in a dozen different ways. IN SLOW MOTION. In true conservative fashion, he punctuates the video by dedicating it to all the veterans. It’s probably the best thing to come out of the election cycle so far.

Best Path to the White House: A time machine that takes Lindsey back to September 12, 2001 when his chickenhawk shit would have flown.

JEB “The Franchise” BUSH

On paper, Jeb Bush makes the most sense as the party nominee. He has past executive leadership, can carry a swing state in Florida, appeals to Latino voters, has recognizable name value, and possesses the capacity to raise a stupid amount of money through his family’s contacts. Sure, there’s that pesky “Bush” name that has a certain connotation of disaster and hubris, but you can make that shit go away with a big enough advertising budget, especially when your most likely potential opponent has the exact same last name issues.

Here’s the kicker though: Jeb Bush is really shitty at being a politician. Like screaming-Howard-Dean shitty. He’s as bad at running for president as his brother was at being president. If this is the long-term strategic planning that we get from Bush genetics, I think that puts to rest any theory that 9/11 was an inside job.

There is a drama of Shakespearean proportions unfolding in the headquarters of Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign. It’s a make-or-break election for the Republican Party and the best man they can find for the job is the slightly dorky older brother of our most infamous president since Richard Nixon. A dump truck full of SuperPAC money and a crack team of consultants are now working to convert this awkward, not-quite-ready-for-primetime career politician into a contender for Leader of the Free World. If he weren’t a Bush, you’d almost want to root for him. It’s just a shame that he’s so goddamn bad at running a presidential campaign. Watching Jeb run for the Republican nomination right now is like watching John Kerry run for president in 2004. You’re almost astounded at how one candidate can keep letting himself get punched in the dick, only taking breaks to punch himself in the dick.

One of Jeb’s biggest problems is that he still hasn’t quite figured out how to navigate the whole “Dubya’s Brother” thing. During an interview with Fox News, Jeb was asked whether he would have supported going into Iraq like his brother if he knew there weren’t any weapons of mass destruction.

Now understand, when you are the member of a political legacy that is pretty much defined by a giant dipshit mistake war, it would see imperative to practice a response to ANY questions regarding the giant dipshit mistake war, since the first thing that an average person associates with your name is the giant dipshit mistake war. This should be a softball question of the highest degree.

During the live, nationally televised interview, Jeb Bush said that he still would have supported the giant dipshit mistake war. With that, he killed any notion that he would be seen as the “smart one”. It was up there with Pete Carroll not running with Lynch in terms of strategic ineptitude. It doesn’t help that Bush’s entire Legion of Doom foreign policy team is made up of almost exclusively advisors from his brother and father’s teams.

The only people missing are Rumsfeld, Cheney, Aleister Crowley, and the Robot Devil.

It doesn’t help that Jeb so clearly behaves like the perennial older brother that tries and fails to hang with the cool kids just because his dad is rich and his younger brother is the school quarterback. Check out this wonderfully awkward video from the second debates, where Trump offers Bush the opportunity for a low-five after a decently funny joke. The visible pleasure on Jeb’s face at finally being accepted is simultaneously visceral and depressing. Trump’s shit eating grin as the dork plays into the joke is the perfect garnish to the whole moment.

Bush simply doesn’t have the mojo to deal with national politics. And because of the Trump Effect, he doesn’t get the luxury of gaining his sea legs as the primary season rolls on. As de facto figurehead of the Republican establishment, it’s Jeb’s job to go toe to toe with Trump and he’s currently being thumped in the polls.  The fact that Bush is getting publicly spanked this early in the game has got the establishment GOP and their donors getting ever closer to panic mode. How confident can you be in your guy when he’s already inviting controversy and picking political fights he can’t win? There’s a lot of money riding on Bush right now, but it’s not too late for the big money donors to bet on another horse like Rubio or Cruz.

Best Path to the White House: A nation-wide Men in Black neuralyzer that erases everything from 2000-2008Cons – Losing all the Lord of the Rings/Harry Potter movies, good Kanye albums. Pros – I am no longer aware of American Idol. 

DONALD “The Donald” TRUMP

At long last, we’ve come to this. The Final Boss. What can be said about Donald Trump that hasn’t already been covered by the approximately five hundred different thinkpieces already written about Donald Trump? A quick Google search will yield at least ten pearl-clutching editorials from political rags across the spectrum begging the world for answers as to how we go to this point. Maybe next week, representatives from 4chan and Anonymous will take credit for spamming the polls and giving Donald the momentum that he’s attained so far in the race. Maybe then our panicked population can rest easy. To most people, it would be easier to explain Trump’s sudden Godzilla-like appearance and domination of conservative politics as one of those unaccounted-for anomalies of American pop culture, like the popularity of the Kardashians, that we simply can’t explain.

There are several reasons why Donald’s success makes perfect sense in our topsy-turvy ‘Murkan culture. The potential for Trump’s support has been grown and cultivated by the handlers and tastemakers of the Republican Party for the better part of a decade. Ever since the election of Barack the Terrible, the national conservative narrative became fiercely anti-government. Now that they weren’t running things into the ground anymore, Republicans began dog-piling on the concept that the national government is big, bloated, and just about the worst thing in the world. Ipso facto, politicians are also big, bloated, and the worst thing in the world. Hence the Tea Party Wave in 2012 that brought Ted Cruz and the rest of the anti-government horde to the national stage. Politicians that hate politicians. A true genius of marketing, bro. So meta.

Anyone with a base understanding of national politics can understand that this kind of thinking would work out to long-term disaster for the party. This shouldn’t come as a surprise since Republicans have not exactly been great at the whole “long term planning” thing (just ask the Middle East or the economy). But perhaps someone should have considered it a good idea to tone down the “FIRE BAD, GOVERNMENT BAD!” rhetoric leading up to a time when we have to elect…you know…actual politicians to a national office. For the longest time, I thought it would be Cruz and the Tea Party that would finally cause the party to go mad and eat itself.

Just like everyone else, I was mistaken. Enter The Donald.

In any other national election, Donald Trump’s participation would be a hilarious footnote to an otherwise bland race. Talk show hosts would have monologue material for days, SNL would pump out a couple sketches, and then it would be slowly forgotten as our schizophrenic culture moves on to the next spectacle while Jeb or some other moderate assumes their rightful place as frontrunner.

But then a funny thing happened on the way to the primaries. Donald demonstrated his previously-unknown shapeshifting abilities and became the Conservative Political Golem. As a non-politician with an ocean of his own cash to play with, Donald is free to do whatever the fuck he wants in this race without having to worry about answering to donors or losing friends. Combine that with the media savvy of a businessman who has been a part of our pop culture since the 80’s and a political climate driven by hashtags and sound-bytes and you have all the tracks in place for a Crazy Train the likes of which we’ve never seen.

It did not take long for Trump to take over the race with his masterful “Not-Giving-A-Single-Fuck-Ever” strategy. Watching the other candidates trying to compete with Trump is like watching a dozen cows doing their best impression of a dog. This isn’t the old political world anymore where you master the subtle skill of implying that your opponent is an idiot, and then lead them into proving they are an idiot. Trump skips the foreplay entirely and simply calls you an idiot. When you try to call him out for ethics, he reveals your cell phone number to a crowd of people because you’re playing political checkers and he’s riding motherfucking Space Mountain. YOLO, bitch.

The best and worst part of the Trump campaign has been his lack of pretense when it comes to delicate social issues. It’s a Republican political art form to imply inferiority of a social class or ethnic group. That way in a debate scenario you can hide behind statistics and rhetoric without actually admitting you want to deport all the Mexicans. Trump doesn’t have time to fuck with that. Trump says that Mexicans are rapists that are destroying the nation and his mongoloid army of followers cheers like John Cena just beat the Undertaker IN A STEEL CAGE. That’s the chaotic beauty of the Trump campaign. Like your alcoholic racist uncle at Thanksgiving, Trump is revealing the dirty secrets that shatter the twisted wholesome image that the Republican Party has tried to cultivate over the past decade.

Trump appeals to red-blooded conservative voters because they want a big man who will step up and call it how he sees it, just like them. They don’t need no candy-ass politician in a fancy suit talking about boring shit like corporate taxes or domestic oversight. We need something big, simple, and easy to blame for our lives because critical thinking is for socialists and homosexuals. The Trump campaign has been exploiting the same xenophobic, close-minded conservative base that the Republican Hate Machine has been feeding like Tyson chickens for the past dozen years. And those chickens have finally come home to roost. Now everyone’s boots are covered in bird shit and no one knows who’s going to clean it up.

Best Path to the White House: Stop pussyfooting around this pro wrestling thing and just announce Vince McMahon as your running mate.

Well folks, that’s your guide to the Republican primaries! Tune in next week when we analyze the senior citizen throwdown between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders for the soul of the Democratic Party. Have a great week and remember to pour one out for Scott Walker.

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