Politics and Circus Peanuts
So yesterday we had the Iowa Caucus, which is a big deal because for the first time in almost four years, people care about Iowa again. I’m still not sure why. I’ve looked up the definition of “caucus”, which sounds a lot like a word for poop, and found this:
(noun): a meeting of the members of a legislative body who are members of a particular political party, to select candidates or decide policy.
The only difference between this and a primary, in which we go vote for our favorite (or least hated) candidate in our party of choice (or last resort), is that there’s a lot of people partying at the caucus, at least until they find out the results. Then stuff like this happens:
That’s right! Trumpy came in second by a wide margain. Yay!? Uh, so who came in first? Teddy Cruz. I forgot who he was for a moment, until I saw his face. Oh yeah.
Marco (Polo) Rubio of these boots are made for walkin’ fame, came in a close third to Trumpy. So, according to the Guardian, we could have two “Cuban Americans” fighting over the Republican nomination. I giggled a little at that. Because they are totes Cuban. Must be why they are so insistent on keeping out immigrants. Goodness knows we never get Cuban ones, just ask Florida.
Jeb finished in a dismal sixth place after a libertarian of all things, and brain donor Ben Carson. Not a good sign. Still, I hope he hangs on because I really like his ad campaign. It’s hilariously awful. Huckabee officially bowed out of the campaign, which I thought he’d done months ago, leaving only like 30 Republicans in the race. I think.
As far as the Democrats go, it’s officially still too close to call, which means Hillary is like, oh wow thank goodness I won as evidenced by CNN supporting my campaign! Her numbers were higher than Sanders – by .03 percentage points. Meanwhile Sanders had his own victory speech because he nearly beat her, in spite of purposely ticking off Wall Street and corporations (or because of?), and in spite of both the media and the Democratic party thinking his ramshackle campaign could never win. Sometimes, guys, it helps if you actually cast a vote. I know, it sounds stupid, but sometimes it does. At the very least, you can cancel out someone’s vote. So just do it.
Now these wins don’t necessarily mean that Clinton and Cruz are going to be our candidates. There are actually states besides Iowa. But it does give you an idea. Sanders is still in the race, and Trump Dump’s incredible charm did not let him win this one. He even managed to spit out that he was “honored to be in second place” and that he “congratulated Cruz”. If I were Cruz, I’d hire a few bodyguards.
So one state down, only 49 to go! Isn’t this exciting? I’m just so excited I think I could barf. Maybe the definition of caucus should be the one first proposed by Lewis Carroll in that book I kind of like:
“What is a Caucus-race?” said Alice; not that she much wanted to know, but the Dodo had paused as if it thought that somebody ought to speak, and no one else seemed inclined to say anything.
“Why,” said the Dodo, “the best way to explain it is to do it.” (And, as you might like to try the thing yourself, some winter day, I will tell you how the Dodo managed it.)
First it marked out a race-course, in a sort of circle (“the exact shape doesn’t matter,” it said), and then all the party were placed along the course, here and there.
There was no “One, two, three, and away!” but they began running when they liked, and left off when they liked, so that it was not easy to know when the race was over. However, when they had been running half an hour or so, and were quite dry again, the Dodo suddenly called out “The race is over!” and they all crowded round it, panting, and asking, “But who has won?”
-“Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll
Your guess is as good as mine.
The Caucus Race
First it marked out a race-course, in a sort of circle, (‘the exact shape doesn’t matter,’ it said,) and then all the party were placed along the course, here and there. There was no ‘One, two, three, and away,’ but they began running when they liked, and left off when they liked, so that it was not easy to know when the race was over.
– Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
*Note – this was originally published in 2011 back when my audience consisted of three people or so, one of them me. I decided to resurrect and update it some in honor of our upcoming
doom election. Hope you enjoy it!
There is a cold, soul-stealing chill in the air. Leaves die and fall from the trees, as the world prepares for the killing frost. What could this be a sign of? That’s right – it’s the political season! Haha, I’m only kidding. Politics does not have a season, for yea, it is eternal. As soon as a president is elected, the opposing party mounts a campaign for the next election while the newly elected president tries to keep himself popular enough for reelection, unless he is the incumbent, in which case he just tries not to do anything too embarrassing for his party. You know, like randomly declaring war or messing around with interns or selling illegal weapons or just generally acting like an asshole.
Obviously, many presidents fail at this. The only president most people have any respect for is Abraham Lincoln, and that’s because we don’t remember much about him except that he freed the slaves and all, which was swell of him to do, what with us having been a “free” country for a hundred years. So Abe was cool. Also George Washington because he was first. We like them so much we have a federal holiday for them (and a three day weekend if we’re lucky). But they are the exception. Gone are the days when our leaders were idolized figures. We’ve been cynical about politics for a long time, but with the economy in the toilet, people are getting downright psychotic.
In Wonderland, there is a caucus race, in which several strange creatures run round and round again in a race with no clear beginning or end. So politics have not changed since Carroll’s time, nor really since the beginning of time. The only people that would subject themselves to being President are clearly mad, so our pool of candidates has created what is known as voter apathy. As in, Americans vote more for their favorite American Idol than they do for President. Really though, you can vote for American Idol on the Internet, whereas with the president you have to figure out what district you’re in (they change them every election for fun), track down the obscure location, stand in line (if you’re in Texas, I advise you vote Democrat – much faster lines), and figure out the screwed up ballots. Every state does it differently, with Florida winning the medal for stupidest voting methods ever. On the plus side, during the 2000 election we did get to use the term “pregnant chads”. When else would you have opportunity for that?
So let’s say you’re crazy – er ambitious – enough to run for President. What do you have to do? Well, it helps if you are a wealthy, middle-aged white male with plastic hair. If you can’t manage that, you’d better have a great campaign slogan. Like “Choose me. At least I’m not so and so!” Be your own man – or really hot woman (this helps the sexist men look over your fault of not having a penis. Cause you’ve got bosoms, which are better.) The People like someone who speaks his mind. Of course you’d better not speak your real mind, or you’ll embarrass everybody. You have to impress your party platform also, or no amount of plastic hair and waxed teeth are going to get you the nomination. Hint: If you are a Republican, try not to mention “choice” too much. And if you’re a Democrat, don’t talk about how your favorite dish is endangered seals. It won’t go over well. If you’re a Libertarian, you can say whatever the hell you want, because no one will vote for you anyway.
But what if you don’t have any real viewpoints? What if you’re so stupid you only got through college because your wife (future First Lady!) did all your term papers for you while you drank heavily with your frat brothers? Not a problem. You don’t actually have to have views on the issues, or even know what they are necessarily. All you have to do is make the other guy look like more a loser than you are. This is known formally as Debate. The moderator will ask you questions to see how you stand on the issues. Oh, oh, questions! Again, don’t fret, project. And if that doesn’t work, change the subject. Observe the model below:
Moderator: Mr. Smith, what will you do to improve the economy?
Smith: Well, I will not do what Mr. Jones did.
Moderator: Great. What will you do?
Smith: Abortion is wrong. Jones likes abortion. He aborts babies for fun. In fact, he likes getting women pregnant just so he can perform more abortions. Abortion.
Moderator: That has nothing to do with the issue we are discussing.
Smith: Well it should. Abortion is important. Mr. Jones likes abortion. Also, he’s gay.
And so forth. Keep dancing around the questions while taking jabs at your opponent. Be sure you don’t say anything concrete that they can nail you on later. If they keep pressing you, claim that you are being prejudiced against because of your sex, race, national origin, or lack of intelligence. And then point out that the other candidate likes having orgies with nuns.
If you can do all this and secure your party’s nomination, you’ve got it made. Well, until you actually get elected. Then it’s time to start all over again.