I feel as if we have all aged dramatically since January 20th. Babies born during that time have probably started high school this week. There’s no need to recount the number of scandals, mini-scandals, outrages, missteps, controversies, and sensations that have arisen in the last seven months. To do so would be exhausting for the reader and for your humble writer. We’ve already been through foreign conspiracies, bureaucratic infighting, corruption, threats of nuclear war, and most recently Nazis. If this trend follows, I expect there to be aliens on the White House lawn by next February. Once the Trump Administration finally ends, I hope that David Lynch is the one to get the film rights. Only Mr. Lynch could correctly emulate the surreal, disjointed mess that has characterized The Greatest Show On Earth. Kyle MacLachlan can play Trump. It will be great.
There is no pattern to Trump. His actions don’t have a unified objective. There is no rhyme or reason to much of anything that this administration does. The worst part is that we’re all doomed to this long-form surreal piece of performance art until 2020 (god willing) or Trump’s resignation when he finally gets bored with his own circus. By far, my biggest sympathies have to go out to my friends on the left who still believe that Trump’s impeachment or removal from office is simply a matter of time. Like your worthless fuck-up cousin, Trump continues to walk from disaster to disaster without falling directly into the void. The latest narrative is that Trump will not be able to survive the backlash of his comments about Charlottesville and his departure from office is imminent. Just as it was imminent last month and the month before that. And the monthsbeforethose.
I dislike Trump as much as the next person, but the constant hyperbolic assertions that THIS is the thing that will bring down Trump or THAT will be the thing that will make his supporters see the light is delusional by this point. Sure, his approval ratings are in the toilet, but that doesn’t mean a whole lot of anything. Both Truman and Bush II had approval ratings that dipped below 25% and they finished their administrations in full. Also keep in mind one of them nuked Japan twice and the other is responsible for fucking the entire geopolitical sphere going into the 21st century. I’m just working with the examples I have, yo.
All this noise is just meant to distract us all from the real bullshit. The de-regulation of environmental agencies, the extension of our endless military involvement in Afghanistan, the crackdown on illegal immigrants, these are all things that have become background noise while the talking heads on CNN and House Democrats speculate about pee tapes and hidden Russian agendas. And yes, I place heavy blame on the media and Democratic politicians who continually take the bait and jump from controversy to controversy like a dog following a laser pointer.
On a tangential note, has anyone else noticed that Bernie Sanders is now the designated attack dog for the Democratic Party? When Trump does a boo-boo, you can always bet that Bernie will be the first one out with a vicious quotation perfect for some clickbait. This is apparently his consolation prize for the primary election while Hillary spends the next four years watching How Stella Got Her Groove Back. Obviously, they’re trying to keep their young talent like Cory Booker as untouched and sterile as possible going into the next election cycle. It’s still annoying and cowardly as shit. But we’ll leave that for another post. I digress.
The only thing that remains consistent about this chaotic administration is the cycle of outrage and scandal that surrounds it. We had about a week of peace and quiet and normalcy, then Trump announced the travel ban, Pandora opened the box, and all Hell broke loose. Thus, the Trump Outrage Cycle was born.
At the beginning of the year, I theorized what a model of this cycle would look like and I’m proud to say that it has held quite firm. I have refined it slightly in light of reality. Since it is the most recent and outrageous, we will use Charlottesville as the model.
Step 1: Trump does/says a Thing. It is bad.
After taking his sweet ass time, Donald Trump issues a statement after the violence at Charlottesville, blaming both sides.
Step 2: Media and people speculate the implications of Trump Thing and whether it could result in impeachment/war/unrest/Armageddon.
The media and others use the President’s soft language and lack of timely response as proof that he may sympathize with Nazis or white supremacists, thus steering the conversation away from America’s deep-rooted, complicated race problem and back toward our Celebrity King President.
Step 3: Trump doubles down on Trump Thing in response to negative reactions.
Trump goes “off script” during a press conference and lays blame for the violence on the counter-protestors says there were “very fine people” on the side of the Nazis. Everyone in the administration puts on their best “shocked” faces. People tweet John Kelly’s facial expressions.
Step 4: More people react. More articles are written. More pundits hyperventilate. “Action” is taken.
Chaos ensues. Mass hysteria. The President has verbally thrown his hat in with Nazis and white supremacists. His business council finally gets tired of the charade and leaves. Steve Bannon leaves. Some Confederate mounments leave. Nothing of actual substance is accomplished.
Step 5: Trump does/says a New Thing. It is also bad. Repeat Steps 2-4.
Trump pardons Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Restart the film.
This model applies to Russia, our clashes with North Korea, his responses to global terrorism, transgender policy in the military, and pretty much everything else that has been in our national headlines up to this point.
Most typically it repeats itself in 2-3 day cycles. In the case of something extreme like Charlottesville or the firing of James Comey, it can go up to two weeks before being replaced by the new, sexy scandal. Already, the storm of Charlottesville has subsided with the exorcism dismissal of Steven Bannon and the removal of some shitty Confederate statues. Meanwhile the cannons are being reloaded for the new outrage.
Admittedly, these superficial actions are still good things in the sense that popping a zit is a good thing. But removing Confederate monuments does nothing to address the economic and social problems faced by minorities in this country. Removing Steve Bannon from his position does not make the Trump administration anymore sane or stable. It just means that the White House staff fridge will finally stop running out of Mountain Dew. It’s a public relations Band-Aid at best and pageantry at worst.
So what’s the point of all this?
The point is to not get distracted. Our leaders have always hidden behind a facade. Dubya was a good ol’ boy from Texas who just happened to be a politician. He was also a crony to big oil and a tool for the religious right. Obama was the social media savvy, inspirational city leader in whom we could invest our trust. He is also responsible for stepping up our drone program that has killed hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent civilians worldwide. Donald Trump’s facade, apparently, is that of a rich, bloated, fuck-up machine. True to life as it may be, it’s important that we recognize that these scandals are an exhaustion tactic. Like a primetime TV show that’s losing steam, it’s just throwing garbage upon garbage on to see how far we’re willing to drop our standards.
By the time Trump leaves office, we’ll be so shell shocked and worn down that our only criteria to be a statesman in this country will be “not being explicitly racist” or “capable of stringing three coherent thoughts together”. Good standards, to be sure, but certainly not high ones. We need to ask more of our politicians and media. I’m not talking about Trump anymore. I’m talking about how we perceive politicians and the issues in a post-Trump world. We cannot stay continually vigilant only when and where the media tells us. We cannot sensationalize and hyperbolize. We must ignore the words of the pundits and instead watch the actions of our politicians. That’s the only way to hold them all accountable in 2018 and 2020. Because the first step to getting the bad guys out is identifying who the good guys are.
It’s June baby! You know what that means! It’s time to unleash those beach bodies, hit the highways with the top down, and bear direct witness to the very fabric of our democracy melting like a Hershey’s kiss in a sumo wrestler’s ass crack.
Welcome to the Cruel Summer 2017.
What a time to be alive. We’ll surely be telling our kids about these tumultuous times in the decades to come, provided we are not annihilated in a nuclear holocaust/murdered by domestic militia/underwater. I knew upon Trump’s election that we would soon be living in Bizarro Circus Reality, but I had no idea how deep the rabbit hole would take us.
Writing a humorous, politically-minded blog has been a rough sell for your boy since January. It’s hard to digest all of the absurd, outrageous, unbelievable shit that’s taken place since the inauguration and somehow make it funnier. It’s an exercise in redundancy. Like trying to tell a funny story about a friend at a party, only to have him steal the attention from you by lip syncing “Despacito” in drag while twirling a fidget spinner on his dick. Useless. What’s the use of pissing on something that is so proudly Shit Mountain?
It reminds me of the end of the Bush Administration when it wasn’t a question of whether you hated the president, but how much you hated him. The major difference between Bush II and Trump lies in its dramatic arc. Bush had the classic story of a man going from generally tolerated (the highest aspiration of any American politician) to being nationally despised to the point where his own party members would not seek his endorsement. It was kinda like King Lear with less sibling rivalry and more Karl Rove.
Trump is not King Lear. Trump’s closest Shakespearean archetype is Richard III: A hunchback that is so shamelessly evil that you almost end up rooting for him and his malevolent scheming (important distinction: Richard was an evil genius, Trump is a dolt). He came in pre-hated. You knew he was a turd before he was finished with his opening monologue. You spend the entire play waiting for the bastard to get his comeuppance. Sound familiar? These stories are timeless for a reason.
Trump’s presidency has done exactly what his election was intended to do and and has created a hurricane of media sensation so powerful that it’s impossible to discern fact from fiction. Truth itself has been obfuscated and corrupted to the point of meaninglessness. You almost have to respect his dedication to the craft. He’s a one-man primetime storyline machine. We’re not even settled in our chairs from the last crazy thing (pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement) before we’re jolted sideways by the next crazy thing (talking shit on the London mayor on Twitter after a terrorist attack). It’s like watching Jackass but instead of watching a guy let a donkey kick him in the balls, we’re watching Trump shove the PM of Montenegro.
Less than six months removed from the inauguration, and already we’ve hit the point where James Comey’s testimony in front of Congress tomorrow has become the Media Event Of The Year. CNN has rolled out the countdown timer that it only uses for special occasions, bars are being opened early so people can get bombed before noon while watching the hearing, and the major networks will show the hearing instead of their normal programming. It’s chaos and madness and so thoroughly American that I have to take quiet moments of patriotic pride during the day to appreciate how far we’ve come from a bunch of shivering, starvation-wracked puritans that couldn’t even figure out how to grow fucking corn to this lurching behemoth of excess and sensationalism that we all know and hate/love today.
Will Trump get impeached? Will he be absolved? Who is guilty? Who is innocent? Is Ivanka actually pregnant with Jared’s baby or is it actually Justin Trudeau’s? What is Steve Bannon really doing in the basement all the time? Is Jeff Sessions just a mystical forest elf that only Donald can see? WHERE ON EARTH IS MELANIA?! Tune in next week to find out on a new episode of AMERICA!
It’s clear by now that the question of whether Donald Trump is guilty of impeachable offenses is almost irrelevant. The Trump Administration will not end after the Comey testimony, nor will it end after any other bombshell leak to the media. The Trump Administration will end after every ounce of political capital and television-flavored controversy have been sucked from his body and he is finally forced to give his resignation speech while hidden under tiny dark robes and swaddled in the arms of Sean Spicer like Voldemort Baby.
The bubbling optimist in me that I have tried to murder with cynicism and punk rock truly hopes that something concrete and shattering comes out of the Comey hearing. Enough to single-handedly throw Trump, Pence, Sessions, Ryan, Preibus, McConnell, and the whole wacky gang in prison until Star Wars Episode XXXIV is released on hologram or Space Blu-Ray or whatever the fuck we’re using to watch shit by then. It would be a nice validation of the thought that this is a country built on justice and truth, rather than media narratives and keeping the public placated with political soap operas.
But I also know in my gut that this will largely do nothing but generate even more sexy media controversy. His testimony will be damning enough to keep the CNN Outragebots fueled for another month but ambiguous enough that the issue will remain a political football until the next major controversy or catastrophe happens. Or another plane goes missing.
And I wish that I could occupy an ethical high ground here and cast judgement on all these proceedings. But I can’t. Not only because I lack ethics but also because I buy into this shit just as hard as all of you. Probably more. Don’t get it twisted: Politics is the greatest show on Earth and we are its gawking spectators.
I hope you all tune in for the hearings tomorrow with snacks and your intoxicant of choice. It’s gonna be a long one.
PS: I solemnly swear to update more frequently. I forgot theatre life is grind life. Ciao boys and girls.
The Egyptians are notable for creating dozens of powerful images that have withstood the test of time. The Eye of Horus, the Ankh, the Scarab, not to mention their dozens of divine representations that have served as inspiration to countless ancient furries. Amongst their more obscure symbols, and the centerpiece of today’s diatribe, was the Ouroboros: A snake that eats its own tail.
Over the years, the Ouroboros has been used as a symbol by the Greeks, philosophers, alchemists, and psychiatrists as a symbol for eternity and the cyclical nature of material existence. It’s some deep shit. You’ll get it when you’re high.
Taken much more literally, I find the Ouroboros to be a very appropriate image for the American Left as it currently behaves: A constantly shifting organism whose only constant behavior is its desire to consume itself.
One of the constants of American politics, in addition to the exploitation of the poor and a two-party system based on identity politics, is the comical lack of ability of left-wingers in this country to collectively band together. Throughout our history, plutocrats have rarely had to flex their own muscles against socialist or populist movements because they generally collapse on their own like a soufflé at a Rob Zombie concert. See: Wall Street, Occupy.
As I said back in December, it’s fundamentally important that we, the noble and unwashed opposition, band together in the face of the teeth-gnashing Conservapocalypse that is nigh upon us. If we’ve learned anything from the election polling numbers (discounting all the illegals and dead folks), it’s that the Anti-Trump population in our country vastly outnumbers the Pro-Trump population. Surely this fact alone should be enough to motivate us all to band together, join hands, and Red Rover-guard the shit out of the oncoming onslaught on women’s rights, health care, the environment, and the dozen other things on our new Republican overlords’ hit list.
Last week we saw a stunning display of solidarity as hundreds of thousands of people gathered across our country to exercise our right to peacefully assemble, hold up traffic, and wear goofy fucking hats.
Obviously, I applaud each and every person that came out to these marches. It does a career cynic like myself good to see that kind of cooperation on a massive scale without any kind of major incident to discredit the movement. Look no further than the co-opting by conservative pundits of the beating of a mentally challenged Trump supporter by four black youths as an indicator of the “violent” American Left.
But we don’t need pundits, the police, or Donald Trump to attack our cause. We’ve got well-meaning liberal douchebags on our own side to undermine the whole fucking thing for us.
It did not take long after the march for the thinkpieces and social media screeds to roll in from members of our own opposition decrying the movement for not being “inclusive enough” to members of the trans community or to people of color. They’ve already begun sewing the seeds of shame (the neoprogressive weapon of choice) for the people that marched last week, derisively asking what they hope to accomplish after the march now that it’s over. Never mind the fact that it was the largest gathering of protestors in American history. Never mind the fact that it all started as a largely spontaneous and hastily-thrown together event on social media. Never mind the fact that our actual fucking enemies are in power as we speak. Never mind any of those things. THERE’S SHAMING TO BE DONE ON SOCIAL MEDIA DAMNIT! GIVE ME MORE LIKES AND SHARES!
I am perhaps expressing an unpopular opinion here, but I am sick to fucking death of the holier-than-thou horseshit attitude that has pervaded progressive politics. It’s a goddamn cancer that will devour us from the inside. Actually advancing an agenda or crafting a unified community has taken a backseat to an ever-building need to assert the moral high ground over one another. Feel like the rally wasn’t inclusive enough? Cool. Host your own fucking rally then. Call it the “One Billion Strong Trans-Queer-Straight-Colored-Mexo-Indigenous-Albino-Female-Male-1940’s-Fighter-Jet -Alliance March”. Call it the Super Bowl. Call it Wrestlemania. Invite all your friends, your friends’ friends, and their friends too. But until then, shut the ever loving fuck up and stop criticizing every goddamn thing because it doesn’t fit into your halcyon Eden hallucination of what a liberal movement in our country should be.
The above picture is a perfect manifestation of what I’m talking about. Let me be clear and say that I don’t disagree with Angela Peoples’ presence at the march or her right to carry that sign around. However, I do believe that this is the exact rhetoric that needs to go away in order to move forward with a progressive movement. Exploiting the already-tired statistic that 53% of white women voted for Trump does nothing but create further division and antagonism between marginalized communities. It’s obvious that none of the women present at the march voted for Trump, so why use a sign that’s obviously intended to condemn or shame an entire group of people? Does that not defeat the entire purpose of “inclusion” or am I just taking crazy pills here?
Angela Peoples’ later gave an interview about the sign, saying that it was intended to make white women aware of their privilege and benefit to the pre-existing patriarchy and white supremacy culture that gave us Donald Trump to begin with. This is a fair point to make. There’s no question the turnout for the march was overwhelmingly white and upper-class. But that sign didn’t come with a footnote at the bottom that explained that shit. Instead it was just more incendiary rhetoric that superficially divides us all on color lines. Couldn’t there have been something written that communicated the same point to allies and potential allies without being so damn antagonistic?
This brings us full circle (*rimshot*) to the image of the Ouroboros. Last week’s gathering proved we have more than enough people to form a core opposition. Believe it or not, we still live in a democracy. There’s been a lot of talk since the election of people being “scared” or “helpless”. We seem to have forgotten that this is still our country. Not Trump’s country. Not Congress’ country. Not Russia’s country. We still possess the power to rise up and alter the direction of our country. This has been demonstrated countless times in our nation’s history. Our biggest enemy is ourselves and those that seek to undermine and sew dissent in our own ranks. We must stop eating ourselves.
It’s a big fat cliché, but the time has come to lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way. This is no longer the time to nitpick the progressive movement in our country. That ship sailed on November 8th when Hillary lost and the Republicans got a free reign to do whatever the hell they want in Congress for the next two years. We need two things right now: A set of objectives and a leader. We already have the numbers.
The 2016 presidential election was finished and called before midnight on November 8th, but you wouldn’t know it from reading the headlines this month. We’re almost three weeks removed from Trump’s inauguration and the nation is still balls-deep in election related controversy. In attempts to make sense of Trump’s upset victory, we’ve had to endure a cacophony of narratives and faux-intellectual explanations to account for the abject failure of the Democratic Party to win a presidential election (again). In no particular order, I’ve seen blame placed on Bernie supporters, the Green Party, the Libertarian Party, voters who stayed home, fake news, millennials, racism, sexism, voter suppression, the electoral college, James Comey, Mercury being in retrograde, Frank Underwood, the Jews, the lost city of Atlantis, and Loki the Trickster God.
After a few weeks however, a clear villain and culprit finally emerged: Those damn vodka-chugging, tracksuit-wearing, steroid-injecting Russians. At some point this year, we collectively agreed to pass the American Boogeyman Baton from ISIS back over to Russia. This might have something to do with the fact that it’s very difficult to be afraid of a blood-and-gore-covered crater in the middle of Mosul. Thanks Peshmerga!
Not to say that Russia is a cuddly care bear on the international stage. It doesn’t require a strong degree in Google-Fu to find evidence of Vladimir Putin and the Russian oligarchy engaging in systemic oppression of its own people, media suppression, threatening the sovereignty of neighboring countries, and just general dickishness. Just ask the people of Aleppo.
It hasn’t helped matters that Donald Trump has his fair share of direct and indirect connections with our rivals from the East. This can be seen through his possible financial ties with Russian investors, a budding internet romance with Putin, and the very apparent connections between Moscow and his future Secretary of State/Exxon CEO/90’s movie villain Rex Tillerson.
All of these factors make Russia a very convenient culprit and scapegoat for the election’s result. I remain skeptical for a few reasons, if you haven’t guessed by now. For example, I’m not sure how those hackers were able to convince Hillary to avoid campaigning in the Rust Belt, but I guess that shows how much I know about computers.
There’s a lot of misinformation and general hysteria surrounding the whole affair so I would like to do my part by demystifying all the techno jargon and booga-booga rhetoric that has gone around in the last few days, especially in light of Obama’s recent “aggressive” actions against the Kremlin that are already filling people with visions of WW3 and mushroom clouds on the horizon. As if this year couldn’t get more stressful.
So: What the hell happened exactly?
The thesis of Obama, the DNC, and the mainstream media’s narrative has been that the Russians “hacked” the election to give Trump the winning edge. Although technically true, it also reeks of political doublespeak. Using the term “hacker” immediately brings to mind dozens of Russian blackhats that possibly look like Chris Hemsworth hunkered down in a bunker somewhere creating fake votes for Trump and deleting legitimate Hillary votes in swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania. Obviously if that were the case then we would be in for some major shit as a country. It would also kinda takes the piss out of that allegedly über-powerful NSA that Edward Snowden (remember him?) warned us about back in 2013. I mean, if we’re doing some Dark Knight level surveillance on our entire country then surely we would be able to catch something like that, right?
The truth, as usual, is a little less sensational and sexy.
That’s because the root of the entire hack was the leak of the DNC emails in July that essentially revealed the institutional bias against the Bernie Sanders campaign and the various ways in which establishment Democrats were more concerned with giving out party favors to big money donors than actually advancing the will of the people. This was probably not a shock to anyone paying attention (including Bernie Sanders), but it certainly didn’t do the Hillary campaign any favors in changing her reputation as a stooge for Wall Street.
I’m going to make a bold assertion when I say that these revelations may have been detrimental to the Clinton campaign, but they were hardly the deciding factor. It’s very important to remember that there’s nothing new about these “revelations” of interference in the election. Media outlets were reporting the alleged Russian connection all the way back in July.Of course, it might be easy to forget that fact considering the smorgasbord of pussy-grabbing-emails-nasty-woman-wall-building journalistic insanity that characterized the election cycle. Remember my hydra analogy from my last post? Same principle.
It wasn’t until the election was over and we needed someone to blame for the loss that suddenly we became concerned about those damned Russians again. The Kremlin has been denying involvement in the hacks, but Putin also claimed that there was no direct Russian involvement in the annexation of the Crimea so I’ll take that with the same healthy cynicism that I would for a toddler who blames the broken vase on the family dog.
Now, this begs the question, how did the hacks happen in the first place?
Once again, the truth is somewhat boring and conventional. In conjunction with Obama’s actions against Russia yesterday, the FBI and CIA helpfully released a document that illustrates exactly how the Russians were able to worm their way into our tip-top-super-duper-secret-DNC information. In classic form though, the truth is buried in so much techno jargon and HTML speak that it looks like a cross between a laptop’s user manual and your old Myspace layout.
Luckily for you, reader, I’ve studied Shakespeare so I’m hella good at taking archaic terms and reducing them into dumb human speak. Which is exactly what I will do here:
Corbin Reads The CIA Report So You Don’t Have To
The first thing to appreciate about the document is that the case is codenamed “GRIZZLY STEPPE” which adds an extra layer of menace to the entire affair. Not only are these hackers vicious Chris-Hemsworth-lookalikes-in-bunkers, but in my mind they also ride bears down the sides of mountains in their free time.
The first page essentially gives a Sparknotes of the entire document. It can be summed up in the following points.
This is the first time that the CIA/FBI (their own shorthand is JAR for joint-analysis-report) has officially labeled a cyber-attack as sourced from another national entity (i.e. Russia).
There are numerous technical indicators that these hackers are Russian in origin.
The hacks were conducted via a “phishing” campaign which led to a theft of information (i.e. the DNC emails) from government entities.
Cyber-attacks were also conducted against other various foreign nations.
Hackers posed as third parties to disguise their identities.
This means that the Tinderbot that is telling you all about her sexy webcam is probably a Russian hacker. Be warned, fellas.
“So wait, Corbin!”, you might be saying, “does this mean that someone in our government fell for a dumb phishing scam and this is how we’re in this mess?”
That’s exactly what I’m saying.
Pages 2 + 3
The next two pages go into the details of how these hackers were able to extrapolate their data and do their evil hacking thing. The report names two specific groups as responsible parties. I will forgo their official names (APT29 and APT28) because they sound like Aphex Twin track titles. Instead we will call them “Happy Gilmore” and “Little Nicky” because this is my website and I can call them whatever the hell I want. According to the document, we were first aware of Happy Gilmore back in 2015 and Little Nicky in 2016.
Happy Gilmore is the shitty malware website generator (CONGRATULATIONS YOU MAY ALREADY BE A WINNER) and Little Nicky is the nasty phisher that makes the “seems legit” websites based off Happy Gilmore’s intelligence that fool people into entering their card information/password/etc. This one-two punch allows them to harvest information from their targets.
In 2015, Happy Gilmore sent out a bogus email with booby-trapped websites that some unnamed dupes in the DNC fell for and ended up getting malware for Christmas. This information was used by Little Nicky a year later to further advance the con and get their marks to surrender their passwords and upgrade their access from “green belt” to “black belt”.
That’s where the information that made up the DNC leak was accessed.
The report goes on to state that Happy Gilmore and Little Nicky have still been conducting operations as recent as this November. Sleep tight.
Page 4 is notable in the sense that it gives a list of users whom the CIA suspect to be perpetrators of the hack. They might also be people who teabagged them in Halo online. It’s hard to tell. There are some pretty sick band names to be found in the list as well, including:
Crouching Yeti – Almost definitely a math-rock band.
HAMMERTOSS – Punk as fuck.
Powershell Backdoor – Grindcore.
CHOPSTICK – Probably some autotune guy with an 808 and a Casio keyboard.
SYNful Knock – 80’s hair metal revival band.
Take note, aspiring musicians.
Page 5 – 13
The rest of the report is basically a “how-to-not-get-phished-like-an-idiot” guide. You may want to take heed if you’re secretly holding some government secrets on your laptop, but otherwise it’s better off skipped.
In summation, yeah, America (or at least the DNC) got hacked. Was it the Russians? Probably, but it’s hard to tell. The problem is that this information is coming to us from the CIA, who has a fairly lengthy history of lying to the American people and fixing elections of their own. Don’t forget that banana republic was an invention of the United States before it was a mediocre mall fixture.
The main lesson to take away from this is that it’s all fun and games when we’re running around and manipulating foreign affairs, but we will call down all the fires of Hell if someone pulls that shit on us. Or at least some heavy sanctions, which is the closest that we really get to aggressive action anymore without calling in the drone patrol.
It’s been a hell of a ride, America. Remember last December when I posted my guide to the presidential primaries and everything seemed so light and innocent? We were all fresh-faced, filled with hope, and the biggest burning question on our minds was whether the new Star Wars movie would be any good or not (Also: Who is Jim Gilmore?). Boy, those sure were the days.
Then the Fire Nation attacked.
There’s no question that this has been a goddamn demoralizing year for a lot of us. We witnessed the deaths of too many cherished icons (Bowie, Prince, Jeb Bush’s political career), helplessly observed senseless tragedies far and wide, then there’s the small matter of our new commander-in-chief being a reality TV star of extremely dubious credentials. If 2016 were a movie I would probably walk out halfway through because I’d find it too unrealistic. Like, really, how could people care that much about a fucking gorilla.
But in all seriousness, the catastrophic amount of doom, gloom, and resignation amongst my peers and friends in light of the election has reached a peak saturation point. I can’t deal with this shit anymore, ya’ll. I could spend an hour listening to Morrissey read Joy Division lyrics to the musical accompaniment of Swans and leave in a better mood than I would after just ten minutes on an average Facebook feed. It’s time to put on our Big Progressive Diapers and stop mucking around our social media platform of choice in a self-perpetuating negative funk. You all sound like Denethor when Grond is about to break through the walls of Minis Tirith.
A rational person would say: “Corbin, get off the Internet. Delete your social media accounts. Go outside. Build a yurt somewhere in the mountains. Learn to tan hides and make artisanal honey. Save yourself.”
To that I say: Fuck you, coward. I’m here to fight for the collective unconsciousness. Now bring me my longsword or GTFO.
True: The world is garbage sauce and populated with human-shaped trash pieces. Our government and institutions are broken jokes on wheels. We will soon have a Twitter-addicted cartoon character as our fearless leader. Our mass media has morphed into an Orwellian nightmare. But to paraphrase Genesis (the cool one): This is the world we live in and this is the hand we get. So I hope you all pound those shots and break some shit in the next week and a half folks, because we got some fucking work to do in the coming years. Like Rihanna/Drake levels of work. Probably more.
I say “we” because I still consider myself a drum-pounding member of the progressive left wing. It’s been a little rough going these last couple months as we’ve begun eating our own in response to Trump’s election (more on that later), but I’m used to belonging to a group of self-hating losers. Comes with the territory of being a sports fan from the Midwest.
So where do we start? Simple. Stop sharing apocalyptic news items on your mini-feed as if that’s going to prevent the End Of Days. Stop getting into circular online slap fights with your friends’ Uncle Roy/Aunt Marie from Tulsa over gender binaries. Stop talking about fucking Russia or abolishing the electoral college. That’s the kind of stuff that creates the illusion of doing something about the situation. Let’s talk about real action and real solutions.
Understand kids, they want us scared. They want us demoralized. They want us fighting amongst ourselves. That’s how the shadowy greed cabal that actually runs this country has maintained power since our inception and the game still hasn’t changed. Let’s break the cycle and evolve.
I suppose we might as well begin this savage arrow to the heart of our cultural discourse by confronting the big fat orange elephant in the room.
If I can help it, I’m planning to only use pictures of Donald Trump from his many appearances in pro wrestling on this blog. The reason for this is twofold. First: the lulz. Second: To remind everyone that Donald Trump is a celebrity-joke-puppet-bobblehead and not some fearsome authoritarian monolith to cower from. I never thought I would live in a universe where so many people were collectively shitting their pants over a man that once put on bib overalls to sing the Green Acres theme song with Megan Mullally on national television, yet here we are.
For the record, I did indeed vote for Hillary. It took a lot of self-convincing and exasperated sighs on my drive to the polling station, but I did the damn thing. No mistake, I was as shocked and non-plussed as the rest of us on Election Night. Until the day I die, I will always remember watching mass media melt down in real time as they realized the world was going off the script they had written for us years ago. I recall watching Stephen Colbert getting hammered on-camera while talking about his mom in stunned grief and thinking “this is fucking surreal”. That’s when I realized we were moving into a whole new paradigm as a country.
Whether the election was legitimate or not is completely tangential to our current situation. I will say that my fury at Hillary Clinton and the DNC for squandering the easiest fucking election in history is enough to drive my blood pressure through the roof, but I won’t dwell on it. Hindsight is not the focus here.
OK. I lied. I need to get this off my chest: Fuck Hillary, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, and the DNC. Fuck them and their hubris and their focus groups and their lazy dickless campaign that took millennial/minority votes for granted. Fuck them to the ends of the Earth and back.
OK. Back to our scheduled deprogramming.
In the moment (defined as the immediate 72 hours after November 8th) it was hard to reconcile Trump’s victory with objective reality. After all, we successfully voted a black man into our highest office not once but twice. Gay marriage was finally approved by the Supreme Court. Weed got legalized in a few states. By all accounts, that should have meant social conservatism has been defeated once and for all, right?
Don’t believe the hype, friends. America is still a country very much invested in its old values and prejudices. Police brutality, racism, anti-LBGTQ sentiment, and systemic oppression of the lower class is still just as American as apple pie and just because Michelle Obama is dancing on Ellen and doing carpool karaoke on primetime TV doesn’t mean shit about fuck. You’ve been living in a dream world, Neo.
Eight years of borderline-conservative-masquerading-as-progressive leadership with a few token concessions to socially liberal causes doesn’t mean we’ve turned any corners as a nation. Far from it. Donald Trump’s election proved that beyond a shadow of a doubt. Go ahead and drag out the statistics showing Hillary won two million votes more than Trump. Whoop-dee-doo. I’ll show you the electoral map to remind you that America is more than just California and New York. If you reject that logic because you blanket-paint all red states as a bunch of ignorant yodels that listen to country music while fucking their pickup trucks, then you’re part of the damn problem. It’s that smug bubble-enforced attitude that turned the Rust Belt off the Democratic Party in general and lost the election.
Or else you can try to convince me that Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, and Pennsylvania all became magically racist and bigoted in the last four years.
Trump’s election is a sobering and frightening next step in the direction that our country is heading in terms of how we view our politicians. When I did my guide to the Republican primaries, I wrote that Trump’s political advantage lies in the fact that he’s not beholden to the same code of ethics that other, normal politicians are bound to. When Trump calls an opponent a limp-dick and implies they wet the bed on weekends, his supporters see it as further confirmation that he’s a Real American Who Doesn’t Care What People Say. That’s how marketing works. And it worked well enough to get the man The Big Chair.
The disconnect, of course, lies in the fact that Trump is just as disingenuous as any other politician. His Cabinet appointments (a Suicide Squad hodgepodge of corporate cronies and establishment Republicans) are a good indication of that fact. Trump just sings a different song from the other members of the chorus line so he stands out. All the posturing and aggression and mean tweets and Putin fan-boying is just more red meat for his supporters.
It also creates a match made in heaven between the future Trump administration and the locust-like hobgoblins that make up the mass media. Behind every hysterical pundit and thinkpiece in the last two months is a group of people secretly celebrating a veritable fucking gold mine of material for the next four/eight years. Back in the Old Times (pre-2016) it used to be the game plan of the media to use celebrity and sensation to distract the public from the malfeasance going on in our federal government. With Trump in office we have cut out the foreplay entirely and CNN can now cover Trump’s behavior with the same kind of breathless fervor that they do whenever Kanye West does literally anything.
The three main food groups of the media are Fear, Sensation, and Confrontation. Trump, his cronies, and his message contain all these ingredients like some kind of hellish jambalaya. Just look at what happened when Mike Pence went to go see Hamilton on Broadway in a totally-not-contrived-move-at-all in the days following the election. The audience reacted in a totally predictable fashion (booing), which gave Team Trump the ammunition they needed to put out an incendiary tweet that caused even more hysteria which led to more reactions which led to more tweets which led to more hysteria and are you starting to see a pattern emerge yet?
I hope you’re all taking notes because this is going to be the song and dance for the next four years:
Step 1: Trump does/says a Thing.
Step 2: People react.
Step 3: One hundred breathless articles are written about the Trump Thing.
Step 4: Pundits spend all day talking about the Trump Thing.
Step 5: Trump doubles down on Trump Thing in response to reaction.
Step 6: More people react. More articles are written. More pundits hyperventilate.
Step 7: Trump does/says a New Thing.
Step 8: Repeat cycle until I shoot my television and throw my computer at moving cars.
What this means for us, the lowly proletariat on the ground, is that we need to detach from this endless cycle of outrage/tweet/outrage because it will soon obfuscate the entire conversation. That means we need to begin analyzing the news with a critical eye and be able to discern what’s worthy of our attention and outrage. Imagine the Trump-backed media like a many-headed hydra. Every time one outrage is sorted out, three more appear in its place. If we keep trying to respond to every single little thing the man does, we’re going to wear ourselves out and look like dumb Chicken Littles in the process.
Understand: The President is not God-King-Xerxes. We fought a whole war against England to buck that kind of leadership. Just because Trump tweets something negative about SNL doesn’t mean that he’s going to use his Evil Presidential Powers to shut down NBC. Trump making a statement about building up our nuclear arsenal does not automatically spawn 1,000 more Hellfire missiles pointed at China. There’s still a Congress full of ineffectual politicians that are still bound by the traditional rules of engagement that he has to work through in order to make any of these things come to pass. For once, we can take pride and solace in our government’s twisted bureaucracy.
There’s been a lot of talk post-election comparing Trump’s rise to power to Hitler’s rise to power. Superficially, I can see the similarities in the same way I can see how A New Hope and The Force Awakens are similar. It’s a basic example of taking a logical, arguable premise (Trump is a not-good person) and pushing it into absurd territory (Trump is definitely Mecha-Hitler). It is in fact possible to oppose somebody and their views without resorting to Godwin’s Law.
I’m not telling you to go back to bed. Far from it. Obviously we should be worried and ill-at-ease. These are troubling times. It’s a time of great instability and uncertainty in our world and we’ve elected an empty suit con-man at best and a bigoted authoritarian at worst. But shitting our pants and losing our minds over every little thing will do nothing but drive up our blood pressure and leave us all dead (inside) of heart attacks by the time we get to the end of 2017. And that’s when they’ve actually won.
So what now?
We get involved. We get engaged. We get action. We stick together. This is the great test of our generation, guys and gals. The time for apathy and half-hearted engagements is over. We can’t look to Bernie Sanders, the Obamas, Elizabeth Warren, or any other figures of the establishment as our allies. Inspiration, surely. But if we’ve learned anything from this election, it’s that our politicians and system have failed us. We’ve spent our entire lives believing that our agency has been surrendered to these people, but the fact is that we are the ones with the power. The fact that Trump was able to defeat a billion dollar campaign with the backing of nearly every major establishment politician, celebrity, and media institution in our country is an indication of that fact. If the Illuminati is real then they fucking suck at their job. Bunch of goat-worshipping slackers if you ask me.
But we have to, have to, have to stick together and get on the same page. And that means putting aside our petty human desire to be right and correct and polite all the damn time. Immediately after Trump’s election, there was a whole wave of suggestions that we begin wearing safety pins on our person to communicate to others that we are allies to groups that might be oppressed by a newly-emboldened aggro-conservative population. It’s a cute, simple idea that there’s nothing objectively wrong with. Right?
Apparently not. It didn’t take long before social justice warriors began declaring war on one another and mounting a shame campaign against those that chose to don the safety pin, citing “white guilt” or some other “No-True-Scotsman” horseshit. The message was obvious: I’m a better activist than you and this is why. It makes me sick on a spiritual level that even in this dark time of national uncertainty, there’s still people on the left that feel the need to assert their faux-moral superiority over others, even when it’s something as simple as wearing a fucking safety pin. Really, are you that goddamn insecure?
It’s my professional opinion as a human being that you are free to go about your activism in whatever way you see fit. If it means wearing a safety pin, wear a safety pin. If it means wearing some goofy hat, wear a goofy hat. Chase your bliss. At the very least it’s a fucking start. What I cannot stand is watching us get into these absolutely petty conflicts that bring fucking nothing to the table except shame and silence. Some people are being turned on and engaged to our social movements for the first (and possibly only) time in their lives and you’re shutting them out because they’re not a Social Awareness Level 10 with a secret decoder ring and badge? And you call the other side fascist? Please.
So can we agree to not be douchebags to one another since we’re all on the same team? Yeah? We cool? Great. Moving on.
Going further, it’s important that we continue to engage with our fellow citizens and our community. That means getting out of our safety bubble and interacting with our big ugly world. It can mean attending city council meetings, supporting local artists and musicians, or just getting to know the yodel next to you on the bus. If it turns out that person is a Trump supporter or has otherwise opposing views from you, don’t go on the attack. Find out why they feel that way. Earnestly engage them. Approach them from a position of human-interacting-with-humans, rather than somebody with a personal axe to grind. As a liberal that grew up in the same Rust Belt that elected Trump, it’s a skill I’m very familiar with. Knowing the mindset of the opposition is essential. I’m not saying you need to love your enemy, but you can learn their name at the very least. Remember, knowledge is power.
What we cannot do, however, is either lull ourselves back into complacency or fear ourselves into paralysis. That’s how we lose. I’ll be doing my part by putting this little piece of online real estate back to work at dispensing rage and social criticism with corresponding dick jokes and pop culture references. I’m sure there will be no shortage of material in the coming months and years as we enter our Brave New World.
Have a happy holiday season, stay vigilant, listen to the new Run the Jewels album because it’s dope as fuck, and pour one out for Harambe.
I’ll see you all in the New Year. Clean, mean, and ready to fuck shit up.
I would like to begin with a short rant about the Democratic Party. I know it’s hard to look away from the war-drum-banging-border-wall-building-Obaaaamacare hating gangbang that is the GOP race, but please humor me.
People like to talk shit on the Republican Party a lot. I do it, you do it, anyone with a functioning cerebellum does it. It’s in the same spirit that you would make fun of a drunk uncle or a racist aunt. But I think it’s important that we call a spade a spade and recognize the Democratic Party is primarily composed of wimps, dorks, and stooges who generally get elected to national office by accident. The DNC should thank Political Jesus for sending them a young, charismatic savior in the form of Barack Obama to keep the party’s mojo alive from 2009 until now. Before Obama, the Democrats were a bunch of scattered children whose policies were more dependent on public polls than personal convictions. If they have any convictions at all. Case in point – Even after both (!) of Obama’s successful elections, they refused to associate with him for fear of political reprisal from Republicans.
It’s because the Republicans convinced the Democrats that Obama was an unpopular president with their classic three-pronged attack of Big Media, amphetamine-fueled pundits, and dark magick. They showed poll after poll showing how a slight majority of America didn’t approve of Obama, causing cowardly Democratic candidates to abandon ship en masse for fear of upsetting the Almighty Poll Gods. They were left with literally no other platform to run on other than “We’re not Republicans”, a dipshit tactic that already failed miserably in the unbelievably disappointing 2004 election.
Say what you will about the Republicans, but at least they have a clearly defined agenda. An evil agenda, but a well-defined one! Democratic values tend to exist in a kind of transparent, amoeba-like cloud that morphs based on how the voting public is polling. That’s why they always get their dicks handed to them in midterm elections when they have no leader or singular point to rally around.
To give you a sense of the ineptitude, let me elaborate on the 2014 midterm election. In case you forgot what happened leading up to those midterms, the Republicans in Congress shut down the government and almost nearly plunged the entire world into economic chaos less than a year before the election. And the Democrats STILL couldn’t figure out how to beat them. It would be like having a twin brother wreck the family car, but your parents still buy him a car instead of you because they still don’t consider you trustworthy enough.
Say what you will about the GOP, but their ability to pull their dysfunctional shit together in time for every Thanksgiving election season is the main reason their brand is still relevant in our national government. This year, their stakes are higher than ever. In the 2016 election, their very existence is at stake. One more election cycle without the executive office means the GOP will likely eat itself in a conservative feeding frenzy that will tear the party apart. Romney’s loss in 2012 was blamed on him being too moderate. Yes, I’m serious. This year it’s a hardcore-conservative or bust. Even the current chaos taking place in the House will clear up in time for them to rally and vote lock step behind their Chosen One in the national. The GOP in the 2016 election will be like Frieza at the very end of his apocalyptic battle on Namek. Bloated with power, money, and hatred, they don’t give a damn whether they blow up the entire planet if it means victory against the hated Goku Democrats.
What does that mean in 2016? It means that whoever the Democrats end up nominating in 2016 needs to create a voter base that’s just as enthusiastic and motivated as the Republicans if they want to win. It means having a message. It means having an identity. It means having the constitution to withstand the ten plagues, demonic hellfire, and the armies of Hades that the GOP will unleash to take what back what belongs to them. And most of all it means getting people off their lazy asses to vote.
Let’s see if any of our contestants are up to the task:
THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINEES
MARTIN “Junior” O’MALLEY
Martin O’Malley is the new heir to the John Edwards Award for most handsome presidential candidate, narrowly beating out Carly Fiorina. Let’s hope his career doesn’t take the same path as Mr. Edwards. He’s also the only one of the lesser three candidates (the others being Jim “Awkward Dad” Webb and Lincoln “Windsock” Chafee) to survive the initial debate purge. Here’s to you, Mr. Bronze Medal.
O’Malley is the 61st Governor of Maryland and former mayor Baltimore, a city well known for its dedicated commitment to crime and racial tension. His current claim to political fame is the implementation and development of CitiStat (and later its larger brother StateStat), a kind of comprehensive data compilation tool that allows a government agency like the police department to keep accurate records of crime, police response, and accountability across the city. Originally devleoped for use by the NYPD, it uses statistics to help monitor and gauge the effectiveness of a police force in areas that are crime hotspots. On the state level, StateStat creates a massive data portal that allows the public open access to information regarding the government. If you ever have trouble falling asleep, here’s the website.
I like Martin O’Malley a lot for several reasons. First and most importantly: He’s young. This is significant considering the rather advanced age of all the other Democratic candidates. Hillary will be 68 by election time (one year below also-ridiculously-old Reagan when he took office). Sanders will be 75. It illustrates the current problem with the Democratic field: They’re old as fuck. Not Supreme Court level of decrepit, but still pretty crusty.
For a group that strongly depends on young millenial support, it’s important that Democrats begin displaying candidates that look like they won’t be a hindrance in the grocery line. The Dumbledore-on-crank energy displayed by Bernie Sanders is the exception, not the rule. O’Malley represents the next generation of “young” Democrats (he’s 52) that will inherit the Party when the Great Clinton Wars are finally over. Other members of the young Democrats include Cory Booker (Senator from New Jersey and definitely probably a future presidential candidate), Julian Castro (probable running mate for Hillary), and Kirsten Gillibrand (New York Senator).
O’Malley also embraces a progressive agenda that falls somewhere on the spectrum between Hillary and Bernie. He espouses a lot of the traditional liberal (yay gay marriage, boo capital punishment, etc.) values while also keeping his rhetoric anti-corporate enough to appear groovy to the young kids. He did a masterful job during the debates of maintaining a proper, though boring balance between Bernie’s sweeping populism and Hillary’s focus-group approved pragmatism. It helped set him apart from Webb and Chafee’s babbling implosions and it made him look like the only other candidate that deserved to be on that stage next to Hillary and Bernie. It was my first impression of O’Malley outside of internet articles and I found myself extremely impressed. If I had a political Fantasy Football Team, he would be one of my early draft picks.
Obviously O’Malley has no real shot at the nomination with Berniemania sweeping the nation and Clinton keeping her pimp hand firm on the establishment, but he’s making the right moves to keep himself in our national conversation after the election is over. Playing footsie with Bernie and Hillary, in addition to his pre-existing credentials as a governor, will give him a solid shot at a Cabinet position or even the Vice Presidency if Julian Castro were to spontaneously burst into flames. Weirder things have happened. Right, Sarah?
BERNIE “The Rookie” SANDERS
Newton’s Third Law states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This can be demonstrated in how the rabid fanboyism of the American Left has moved from a young, smooth talking black man from Chicago to a prickly old Jewish man from New Hampshire. In the last few months, Bernie has stolen the hearts, minds, and Facebook mini-feeds of progressives across the country with a somehow endearing combination of old man straight talk and manic populist idealism. Bernie’s fanatical devotion to truth telling has won him a considerable amount of support from millenials and older liberals disenchanted with the feckless nature of the modern Democratic Party. It has certainly thrown a bit of a curveball to Hillary’s campaign team, who were really banking on not doing any actual work until at least March. At the very least, we can thank Bernie for ruining their holiday plans.
Millenials in particular have developed a raging obsession with Sanders. It’s certainly understandable. Our generation has been steeped in nihilistic apathy toward politics since the wide-eyed idealism of the Obama presidential campaign gave way to the dead-eyed political swamp of the Obama presidential administration. We’re jaded against most politicians by virtue of their disingenuousness. The one thing that unites almost all the presidential candidates, independent of their political beliefs, is their uniform lack of appeal to young voters. In our life experience, most politicians fall into the realm of either corrupt liars like George W. Bush or out-of-touch suitbots like Hillary Clinton. We don’t have the patience for politics when we’ve emerged from our cocoon of higher education to a world that seems to dismiss our entire existence. Bernie is popular among millenials because he’s the only national politician that will admit everything is fucked and the game is rigged. In a national climate filled with double-speak and teeny baby-steps toward progress, some of us are falling over ourselves to reward this honesty and make this old fuck our KING.
I now present the question that forms the actual point of this particular essay: What will happen to that particular movement when Bernie does not get the Democratic nomination?
I say when rather than if because I think it’s important for us all, particularly Bernie fanatics that are already aiming their hate lasers at my forehead, to acknowledge several points about Sanders, his policies, and the current state of our political system that do not bode well for his chances. Please understand, I say this as a Bernie supporter. Bumper sticker and everything. I strongly believe in what the man has to say and I support a majority of the policies that he advocates.
“But Corbin!” you might be saying while clutching your precious idealistic pearls, “how can you support Sanders and still criticize him? TAR AND FEATHER THE CONSERVATIVE TRAITOR!”
Because I recognize that politicians are human beings with flaws and problems, just like everyone else. It’s why I continue to support Obama despite his tendency to allow drone strikes on hospitals and schools. It’s why I will vote Hillary in the general election, despite the fact that she reminds me of my 7th grade math teacher. There is not a single statesman in our history that was wart-free. Teddy Roosevelt was a bit of a white supremacist. JFK cheated on his wife like it was a sport. Jefferson kept slaves. Abe Lincoln may have issued the Emancipation Proclamation, but the only slaves it emancipated were the ones in the northern, slave-free states. It’s important to acknowledge the negatives about things you support. It’s called having a three-dimensional mind. If you would like to live in an echo chamber that only spoon-feeds you positive things about your chosen candidate while simultaneously shitting on everyone else, then perhaps you should consider switching your allegiance over to Donald Trump and his equally detached supporters when the hammer falls.
1.Bernie’s objectives are symbolic and mostly unrealistic.
Don’t get me wrong, true believers. I believe it’s perfectly rational and doable to increase the minimum wage to $15, provide free tuition for public universities, institute universal health care and childcare, expand Social Security, and celebrate by taxfucking the big banks and Wall Street until they can’t sit down. However, I also understand that we live in an actual living, breathing world and not a colossal version of SimCity where you can just change public policies with a few click tabs and be on your merry socialist way.
I want to remind everyone that being president in our country does not automatically make someone God King Xerxes. Back in junior high civics class, you may recall hearing about this system of “checks and balances” that our Founding Fathers built into our national government to ensure that no one branch could become more powerful than the other. I’m sure if they were alive today, those Founding Fathers would have a good chuckle about how that very system is responsible for the gridlocked tire fire that is our current political climate, as demonstrated in this sketch:
How A Bill Becomes A Law, 2014-2015 Edition
House GOP: WE PROPOSE A LAW TO BAN OBAMACARE.
House Dems: Seriously?
House GOP: Never mind, we want to defund Planned Parenthood!
House Dems: WTF why-
House GOP: PASS! WOO! EAT IT, LIBS.
Senate: Guys, this isn’t gonna work. Obama’s gonna veto the shit out of this.
House Dems: That’s what we’re saying.
House GOP: STFU. PASS IT.
House GOP: PASS IT, FAGS.
Senate: Fuck off, no.
House GOP: You guys suck we’re gonna go crash the economy bye.
Obama: Hey, could you guys do me a favor and pass a budget sometime this year?
House GOP: Your mom.
This is pretty much how our national government has functioned since the 2014 Tea Party Wave. Specifically, it doesn’t.
Must I remind you that it took three years (counting the obligatory legal fuckery in the Supreme Court), hundreds of media tantrums, dozens of backroom negotiations, and at least a few broken pieces of furniture in the White House before we finally passed a Frankenstein-like version of universal health care? And now remember that instituting true universal healthcare is justone of many goals for hypothetical President Sanders when he faces a legislature full of resentful Republicans and reluctant Democrats. The Republicans in particular will be relentless in stonewalling every single step in economic progress that Sanders will push. The only thing that a Republican hates more than a Clinton is a goddamned socialist and they’d rather be dead than see the good ol’ USA turn into a commie hellscape like Denmarkistan.
It would be one thing if Bernie had fellow Democratic Socialist peers in the legislature that would help push his ideas through Congress, but he doesn’t. Very few Democrats in office would be willing to stick their necks out and risk being labeled a dirty socialist for supporting Bernie policies. Bernie would be a lone, sane man fighting against the multi-trillion dollar Megatron of American Business; not to mention the über-powerful military-industrial complex that would inevitably take the brunt of the budget cuts to provide for Bernie’s pet programs. It would make for a killer Hollywood movie (possibly starring Tom Hanks), but in reality it would simply be fucking depressing to watch every single one of Bernie Sanders’ dreams crushed against the mighty millstone of our fucked up government, which is exactly what will take place.
Got a problem with it? Next time vote in your mid-term elections, idiot. We have elections every two years, not four. Congressional elections matter just as much as the presidential ones. Remember civics class? They’re the ones that make the laws. That way you don’t have to hedge all your progressive dreams on one politician, you dumb shit.
2. There is no massive conspiracy to keep Bernie from being nominated.
This one is going to hurt. Sorry guys.
Right now the current meme circulating the liberal blog-o-sphere has been the notion that there is a massive media and corporate conspiracy to shut Bernie Sanders out of the nomination process so that Hillary can waltz to the nomination without getting any blood on her pantsuit. After the Democratic debates, there was a firestorm of posts from the Bernie fan club about how Bernie won every online poll regarding the debate, yet strangely the media was still reporting that Hillary won the debate. Clearly the work of the sinister Illuminati keeping the common people down.
Now let’s think about this logically for one moment, shall we? You cannot deny that Sanders’ most enthusiastic support comes from people on the internet. Liking Bernie is the most common trait on social media next to hating Kanye West. Hop on Facebook or Twitter and you won’t have to scroll for long before you find one of the many meme photos of Bernie gesticulating in elderly fury with accompanying quotations. Mad props to the Bernie campaign team who were able to generate dozens of easily digestible and shareable image macros that perfectly encapsulate his platform. Take note Hilldawg: That is how you work a social media campaign.
Considering his otherwise-anonymous status in traditional media, it’s reasonable to infer that a vast majority of his supporters exist and operate on the internet. Sooo…if you have a powerful base of extremely vocal, internet savvy diehards, how do you figure any polls based on internet response will break down?
Remember folks, never trust online polls. They’re almost always biased. Usually toward options involving Hitler.
Another meme circulating the Bernie-sphere post-debate was the idea that Bernie won the debate simply based on the fact that he was able to appear on national television and spread his message without media censorship. I would be willing to agree with that line of logic if Bernie received a post-debate bump in his numbers that reflected that victory, but he is still losing to Clinton by the same margin that he was nationally and in primary swing states. Sorry guys, back to the drawing board.
Currently, Bernie is polling at least ten points behind Clinton nationally. He stands a fighting chance in Iowa and New Hampshire due to their high population density of his bread-and-butter demographic: Young, middle-class white people. Now that Joe Biden has dropped out of the race, there’s now a significant chunk of Democratic voters that could potentially be convinced to join Team Bernie. In order to do that, Bernie needs to expand his message beyond “Corporations bad, socialist programs good”. Potential voters agree with Bernie on a lot of his points regarding the economy and campaign finance. That was never in doubt. It’s when you look at his other policies that things tend to get a little sketchy. Which brings me to my next point:
3. Bernie is weak on issues other than domestic economic policy.
Watching Bernie in the debate was a rough experience for me. I had no doubt that Bernie would hit all of his marks with wealth inequality, climate change, and campaign finance reform. They’re some of the most important domestic issues facing us today and Bernie knocked those points out of the park. Unfortunately, I also had to watch Bernie get publicly roasted early in the debate with the two issues that will ultimately cripple him: Gun control and foreign policy.
Gun control is the one area where you can criticize Bernie for not being liberal enough. He has voted to shield gun companies from class action lawsuits, voted against background checks, and has publicly said that gun companies should not be held responsible for mass shooting deaths. Ironically, these are credentials that would make him less scary to a Republican swing voter if it weren’t for that pesky “socialist” thing. And of course it’s the one issue on which Hillary has constantly staked a definitive stance. If it were really a close primary race between Hillary and Bernie, Hillary would just have to put Bernie on the spot about gun control as it relates to the current mass shooting epidemic. Gun control is a thermite-hot button issue for liberal voters and the accompanying media sensationalism alone would take all the piss out of Bernie’s populist messages.
If gun control doesn’t fuck Bernie over in the primaries, then his foreign policy (or lack thereof) will be his undoing in the general. Although Bernie has a lot to say about the things affecting our country on a domestic level, there’s been a noticeable lack of strong statements about America’s role in global affairs. His stated policy of pulling us out of NAFTA, TPP, and other trade agreements would create fairly dramatic waves economically as America would do the equivalent of saying “fuck this guys I’m out” to the world, creating a giant vacuum that other countries will trip over themselves to fill. Remember, we’re living in a global economy now where everything affects everything. You can’t just say “OK, we’re going to completely reverse our entire economic policy” and expect things to be totally bro-chill.
During the debates, Bernie gave the equivalent of “What he/she said” answers regarding Syria, ISIS, and Russia. It suggests a poorly thought out or otherwise nonexistent plan to handle threats to American interests abroad. Although they are, realistically, not even close to the top ten issues facing our nation, they are absolutely issues that the GOP has been exploiting and fear-mongering for years. Half of the Republican debate consisted of candidates stating, in no uncertain terms, that we were all going to fucking die if we did not send troops to combat ISIS in the Middle East while simultaneously challenging and beating Putin in an arm wrestling match. Nothing like good ol’ fashioned machismo to fire up that skittish voting public.
In terms of creating Nostradamus-like visions of the Apocalypse, the only person that can outdo the GOP is Michael Bay. In a hypothetical debate between Bernie and Some Republican Candidate, the Republican will just continually squawk about ISIS sleeper agents and Putin’s ability to go Super Saiyan 4 while Bernie desperately tries to get in a word edge-wise about the fucking economy. Everyone in the media will parrot the meme that Bernie is an international wimp as moderates scare themselves into voting Republican, just like what happened with fucking Kerry. The names have changed but the song remains the same
And finally, let’s be real about something:
4. He’s fucking old, guys.
If elected president, Bernie Sanders will be 75 upon taking the Oath of Office. A single term in office is four years. Think about that for a second. Being president is a job that has been proven to have strong life-sucking qualities. Being in charge of the world’s largest and most pervasive military abroad while also constantly grappling with political enemies at home will put a significant amount of grey in your hair after a certain point. Poor Bernie, if he manages to survive the stress of office, will leave it looking like a combination of the Cryptkeeper and the Babadook. The man deserves better than that.
But mourn not, Bernie supporters. There is victory even in defeat. Bernie has accomplished more than you think. As I previously mentioned, his campaign has displayed a stellar example of how to raise a formidable grassroots campaign without major media backing or funding. The man has raised more money than almost any other political candidate from small donations alone. That’s simply amazing in a post-Citizen’s United world and helps us realize that we, as a collective voice, still command an amazing amount of power in our democracy.
His overwhelming support from millenials should be a tip to aspiring politicians that this is what the future holds for our voting public as we advance farther into the 21st Century. Words like “liberal” or “socialist” no longer carry the Scarlet Letter-connotations that they did decades ago. When Bernie proudly declares himself a Democratic Socialist, it inspires others that hear him and agree to declare it with just as much passion. For once, the left wing in our country has felt empowered and motivated instead of persecuted and stifled. After watching Democrats bend and cower at liberal accusations for the past decade, it’s refreshing to see someone own it without worrying about their political stock price.
I see a generation of future progressives being inspired by Sanders to perpetuate his ideals the same way he did, by speaking truth to power and allowing themselves to become both an instrument and an obstacle to our current political machine. Call me a dreamer, but I think we’ll be feeling the Bern long after this election is over.
HILLARY “Hotline Bling” CLINTON
One thing that all sides can agree on: Hillary Clinton is a polarizing figure. Bring up Clinton in a political discussion and you’re just as likely to trigger a passionate argument among conservatives as you are amongst liberals. Republicans will shriek about her shadiness, her elitism, and Benghazi. Liberals will decry her corporate ties and moan about her obvious disingenuousness. The only candidate that conjures an equally fiery response is Donald Trump. Hillary has been running this campaign for president since 1996, so you would think that she’d have figured out a way to soften those edges by now. So it goes.
We, as a nation, have been collectively preparing ourselves for a Hillary candidacy since she was hilariously beaten by Barack “MVP” Obama back in 2008. Bernie supporters like to draw parallels to 2008 because it had a similar narrative: Hillary’s almost-guaranteed candidacy is threatened and ultimately surpassed by idealistic Senator with grassroots support. As you can see, the Democratic tradition of losing easy elections applies to primary contests as well.
Hillary’s presence in this election was inevitable from any way you skew it. You’ll be hard pressed to find a person more synonymous with American politics for the last two decades than Hillary Clinton. Her popularity and prominence may fluctuate depending on what mask she’s currently wearing (First Lady, Senator, Secretary of State), but she’s always been a reliable fixture in the scene. She’s like the Foo Fighters of politicians. All of these titles and jobs have functioned as a grand resumé-building exercise for Hillary’s true objective: Global domination for the mothership. Becoming the first female President of the United States. The Democratic Party has done its part by ensuring that no single Democrat would betray the Clinton campaign by becoming exciting or popular for the past eight years.
The stage had been set for the Clinton Coronation, but then ol’ Bernie Sanders had to burst in, angrily demanding a corned beef on rye with a side order of Progress and now we find ourselves locked in a battle for the Democratic Party’s very soul: Progress versus Pragmatism, Grandpa versus Ex-Wife, Crusty versus Pantsuit.
But before we elaborate on that ultimate showdown of ultimate destiny, let’s revisit everyone’s favorite dysfunctional political goons in the GOP.
No one has been more aware of the doomsday clock to a Hillary candidacy than the Republican Party. Ever since Romney was conclusively beaten by Obama, the GOP has been building up their war chests and re-loading all the weapons for their final assault on the Clinton Fortress. They’ve been preparing for this showdown since 1992, when they looked beyond President Bill Clinton to the real power behind the throne. Republicans have been trying to handicap Clinton for years. The story of Clinton and the Republican Party is similar in nature to the old Wile E. Coyote/Roadrunner cartoons as the GOP Coyote has tried increasingly more expensive and ludicrous means to trap and destroy the Hillary Roadrunner, only to be blown up or run off a cliff by their own momentum. After dozens of manufactured scandals and political attacks, Hillary remains unscathed.
Just ask Trey Gowdy and his gang of Republican Death Eaters on the House Benghazi Committee about Hillary’s mutant ability to avoid political scandal. Gowdy and his merry band of patriotic Republican peers spent three years building a case against Hillary regarding her conduct as Secretary of State during the extremist attack on the American embassy in Benghazi that left four Americans dead in 2012. This was a very big deal, considering American nationals NEVER die from terrorists anymore. If Benghazi had instead been invaded by a bunch of sexually repressed white teenagers with Wal-Mart purchased assault rifles and online manifestos, it probably would have been laughed off.
Ask any Republican about Benghazi, however, and they’ll tell you that the attack on Benghazi was the worst moment in American foreign policy history. If 9/11 and the Pearl Harbor bombing had a baby that was adopted by the Bay of Pigs, it couldn’t have been worse than the shameless criminal exploits that Obama and Hillary pulled off in Benghazi. What did they do? No fucking clue, but it was criminal goddamnittohell! Behold, the power of FOX News Propaganda.
It was up to the House Benghazi Committee to actually put some substance behind those accusations. Last week, they had the opportunity to put Hillary on the spot on national television with their dramatic findings. Anyone who actually had the stamina to sit through the broadcast were treated to watching Gowdy and the rest of the Republicans clumsily try to pin the deaths of four Americans on Hillary for eleven fucking hours while Hillary sat there like Bender in the Breakfast Club, looking fifty shades of bored.
By the end of the hearings, it was obvious that there was absolutely nothing to these hearings other than trying to sandbag Hillary’s presidential campaign. Just another attempted hatchet job to prevent the conservative Freudian nightmare of a Hillary presidency. It was a clear act of desperation and frustration.The Republican Party did NOT spend eight years chewing shoe leather after letting Obama steal the presidency just to let someone they hate even fucking more waltz into the office DAMNIT.
It’s ironic then that the biggest threat to Hillary’s path to the White House does not lie with Republicans, but with voters in her own party.
Democratic voters have always been a little finicky about Hillary. After all, it’s hard to root for the hero of a story when we know ahead of time that they slay the dragon, get the princess, and live in the castle happily ever after. We want an underdog to root for, not a political poodle that’s been groomed for two decades. We like to see people struggle for our approval. It’s why we love the Cubs and hate the Yankees. Hillary doesn’t need to be popular because she’s so damn good at politics that public opinion almost doesn’t matter.
Essentially, Hillary is the Tom Brady of the Democratic Party. Do we really need to see Tom Brady win again?
There are a variety of reasons for Democratic voters to be unenthusiastic about a Hillary candidacy. Obviously, there’s nothing particularly exciting about Hillary, other than the obvious milestone of having our first female president. Her pedigree as a career politician assures that Hillary will not be the agent of the zeitgeist that our young people are hoping for. She’s not a young black man from Chicago promising hope, change, and health care reform. She’s not a passionate old Jewish man raging against the machine. She doesn’t glow in the dark or fly. She’s been the mascot of “business as usual” Democratic politics for the last decade. Everybody knows exactly who Hillary is and what she stands for. She’s Doritos. She’s Coke. She’s McDonalds. She’s a proven, established, boring commodity.
Hillary is also sitting at a disadvantage for her extremely Democrat-like tendency to change her political positions based on popular opinion. Previous incarnations of Hillary Clinton voted in favor of the Iraq War and Patriot Act and did not support gay marriage. Most recently, Hillary tried awkwardly to piggy-back on Bernie’s populism by coming out against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal that she herself helped negotiate as Secretary of State. You almost have to respect the balls it takes for that level of political doublespeak. Her VIP list of corporate doners is also a giant turn-off to an authenticity-obssessed voting public.
As we have previously established, we’re entering a new cultural paradigm in which voters on both sides of the political spectrum favor authenticity and new ideas over moderation and political pageantry. Donald Trump has been riding the populist wave on the Republican side of the spectrum, whereas the Democratic Party is left in a kind of civil war of demographics. Bernie’s incessant pounding of the populist war drum has brought attention to the qualities about Hillary Clinton that hurt her most with voters: Her lack of common connection to those voters. In doing so, he probably caused more damage to Hillary’s campaign than the Republicans could have ever hoped to achieve.
I’m torn to pieces about the prospect of a Clinton candidacy. I stand by my earlier conclusion that she’s the best candidate to send against the eventual Republican candidate. Hillary was able to clean house against a dozen Republicans in an eleven-hour lumberjack match. A one-on-one with any of the scrubs vying for the Republican nomination would be a cake-walk. Truthfully, a lot of my complaints about Hillary are generally shallow and one-dimensional. I consider her boring. I don’t like the fact that she has Sara Bareilles on her Spotify playlist. Her pantsuits upset me. She also reminds me of an old math teacher from my middle school years. I feel like I’m not alone in this sentiment.
I am also not looking forward to the inevitable cloud of butthurt rage that will ensue when Hillary inevitably dispatches Bernie in the moment that will break liberal hearts across the country. There’s already talk amongst the more extreme Bernie supporters of not voting in the general if Hillary gets the nomination. This brings me back to my original premise: Democrats are fucking terrible at winning elections. Even with a winning candidate, we still hate her because she’s trying too hard to win. She has too much campaign money. She has too many endorsements. If Hilldawg loses the election, it’s because she will have successfully alienated millennial voters that will forsake the entire election so they can go start a giant drum circle in protest. Great job, Clinton. Now we have a bunch of damn dirty hippies on our hands.
I’m no fan of Hillary, but I will go to the voting stations and dutifully pull the crank for candidate Clinton in 2016 so we don’t end up with President Trump trying to build a wall around Texas, President Bush III starting another shady war in the Middle East, or President Cruz blowing up the entire fucking world. Most Democrats will probably do the same. The most important thing to remember going into this election, fellow liberals, is that this election is about holding the ground we’ve gained so far. We’re still a largely conservative nation that is just recently acquainting itself with progressive ideas. All of the gains we’ve made under Obama – gay marriage, marijuana legalization, Obamacare – can just as easily be taken away with a Republican president and newly conservative Supreme Court.
I always support people sticking to their ideals, but let’s not throw out the political baby with the idealistic bath water when Bernie folds. Clinton may be an out-of-touch, corporate shill but she’s our out-of-touch, corporate shill. Most progress in the world is made in baby steps and I would rather continue our slow lurch to rationality than abandon ship just because we’re not moving fast enough. Patience is a virtue, both in life and politics. Believe in the power of the Long Game. In the meantime, enjoy the show. Political theatre makes the best theatre.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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 actualplan. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 2000-2008. Cons – 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 thingsinto 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 bigman 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.