Comparing the 2020 Presidential ‘Candydates’ to Halloween Treats

Graphic: Michael Harriot (The Root), Photo: Getty Images

It’s Halloween so we thought we’d do something fun. But then, Editor-in-Chief Danielle Belton strictly forbade me from dressing as Megan Thee Stallion and having a twerk-off against Monique Judge who, of course, dressed as Cardi B.

Once that was out of the question, we decided to compare each one of the presidential candidates to a Halloween treat. I know it’s not as fun as the other thing but I need this job. I spent a lot on that monogrammed “Mikey Thee Stallion” thong.

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Monique was scared, anyway.

Joe Biden: Candy Corn

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Candy Corn is a mix of white sugar, corn syrup and gelatin protein that has been a Halloween staple since 1898.

Joe Biden is a mix of white sugar, corniness, and proteins and he has been running for president since 1984.

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Although I have referred to candy corn as “the devil’s buttplug” and called Joe Biden “Uncle Not-Racist-Just-Set-in-His-Ways,” I don’t necessarily hate either one. I just wonder—given the diversity of candy and presidential choices—why anyone would choose them over something delicious like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or Stacey Abrams. In fact, Joe Biden is the presidential frontrunner for the same reason candy corn is still a thing:

We know it’s trash, but we’re used to it.

Bernie Sanders: Raisinets

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People love Raisinets.

I assume that is true because they are everywhere—in movie theaters, candy store shelves, and checkout lanes. Although I have never seen anyone buy a pack of Raisinets, I can see their appeal. On paper, Bernie Sanders and Raisinets make perfect sense. They’re a tried-and-true staple (raisins and an old, white senator) dipped in something everyone likes (chocolate, progressive policies).

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Here’s what’s wrong with Raisinets and Bernie Sanders:

People who want chocolate don’t want raisins. People who like progressive policies are tired of old white men and people who like old white men don’t care about left-leaning politics. In theory, Raisinets are a great idea, until you realize what they really are:

Something you like (chocolate) covering an old, withered grape.

Elizabeth Warren: Old Lady Pocketbook Candy

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The original Black Girl Magic was how my grandma fit a box of Kleenex, a snub-nosed .38, a prayer cloth, a sewing kit, a jar of Tussy, jumper cables and a Ziploc bag with a “deck” of graham crackers and a pimento cheese sandwich in one purse and still had a special compartment that hid an unlimited supply of Werther’s Originals, peppermints and other assorted hard candy.

The only thing that comes close is the mystery of how Elizabeth Warren seems to have a plan that will pay for Medicare for all, college tuition for all, daycare for all, high-grade recreational marijuana for all, and reparations for all. (You know white people are gonna figure out a way to get a reparations check by claiming their ancestors dated a black guy in college.)

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Then again, I don’t know how all board-certified ushers have an endless supply of these:

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I think you need a mother of a church to vouch for you or have a plug on the usher board to get those candies. And like Elizabeth Warren’s plans, they might be hard to unwrap, but they’re delicious as fuck.

Kamala Harris: Candy Apple

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Candy apples are delicious and nutritious so they seem like the perfect Halloween treat. Kamala Harris is a smart, experienced black woman, which makes her the perfect Democratic “candydate” (see what I did...never mind).

But every year, we hear unsubstantiated stories about people putting razor blades and chemicals in candy apples. I’m sure something like this has happened before but should we really be worried? Maybe these vicious rumors were spread by the candy-corn industry lobby?

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Are the stories about Kamala Harris’ problematic criminal justice past an indication that she was trying to reform the system from the inside or are they just negative cherry-picked incidents perpetuated by her rivals? To become a prosecutor, an attorney general and a U.S. senator requires a certain mettle and sharpness. And some people might mistake this for a razor blade.

Kamala Harris is probably not a poison apple.

But just in case, I bite down real slow.

Pete Buttigieg: Swedish Fish

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When I was 11, my cousin Tyran and I spent the summer at my aunt’s house in New Jersey and he discovered Swedish Fish. Tyran fucking loved Swedish Fish and tried to get me to fall in love with them too, but I preferred Gummy Bears. He tried to explain to me that Swedish Fish were the same as Gummy Bears, which is true. I retorted that Gummy Bears were different flavors and were, therefore, better, but he argued that they weren’t different flavors—they were different colors. To settle our dispute, I took a blind taste test to see if I could tell the difference between different color gummy bears.

He won.

But I still kept eating Gummy Bears because I got tired of the same boring color being forced down my throat. Tyran begged me to just try a Swedish Fish one time, knowing I’d change my mind. So, one day I did.

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It was perfectly fine.

Like Pete Buttigieg.

Cory Booker: Peppermint Pattie

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York Peppermint Patties combine the distinct taste of dark chocolate with mint. They aren’t delicious but they aren’t terrible. The layer of chocolate is too thin so Peppermint Patties aren’t quite chocolatey enough. And the minty insides are a little too refreshing.

Cory Booker is a black man from New Jersey with a spotless record but he is still a little too much. You can’t hate on Peppermint Patties or Booker because they try very hard to be palatable. They are something. It’s just that no one seems to care about the thing that they are. Of course, if push comes to shove, we’d all take a Peppermint Pattie or Cory Booker if there was nothing else to choose from.

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Beto O’Rourke: Blow Pop

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Look! It’s a white, good-looking, well-spoken Texas Democrat who has progressive ideas. He’s charismatic and he has experience! He’s a perfect candidate!

Oooh! It’s hard candy! It’s a lollipop! Oh shit, there’s bubble gum in the middle too! It’s the perfect candy!

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There’s only one thing wrong with Blow Pops and Beto O’Rourke: Once you get past the delicious outside and chew on it for a while, you realize what’s inside is very underwhelming.

Beto isn’t very politically astute and his ideas are kind of dumb. And I truly believe the gum at the center of a Blow Pop is recycled Hubba Bubba collected by third-grade teachers who caught students chewing away during social studies.

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It’s also what the aliens used to make Ted Cruz’s face.

Julian Castro: Piece of Candy

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How did Julian Castro get here?

Julian Castro is an appetizing presidential candidate because he’s articulate, he’s a person of color, he’s handsome, smart and experienced. Did I mention handsome? (Seriously, this is the ugliest picture I could find of this pretty motherfucker.) Plus he’s Obama’s bestie...I think.

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There’s always an assortment of loose candy fragments at the bottom of a trick-or-treat bag. Pieces of candy are exciting and mysterious because you have no idea how they got there. It could be a shard of Jolly Rancher, a broken bicycle reflector or a cough drop. The only way to tell is to put it in your mouth. And you always find one lone M& M even though no one gave you a pack of M&Ms...or maybe that’s a Skittle.

All I know about Castro is that he’s the former mayor of San Antonio and Obama’s secretary of housing and urban development...I think. Then again, if you heard Rachel Maddow say that I served two terms as the lieutenant governor of Arkansas and was Jimmy Carter’s secretary of white people, would you double-check it?

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What if Julian Castro’s just some handsome dude who wandered onto the debate stage and said: “Fuck it?” What if he’s polling at 2 percent because he’s just a piece of stained glass at the bottom of the trick-or-treat bag? What if Obama doesn’t even know this motherfucker?

Have you ever seen Julian Castro develop a house? An urb?

Andrew Yang: Cracker Jacks

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Cracker Jacks are great. I like popcorn. I like caramel, molasses and peanuts. I remember as a young boy, I would hunger for a few bites of...

Who are we kidding? We like Cracker Jacks because of the prize inside.

Andrew Yang is running a fact- and mathematics-based campaign. He promises to govern with logic, research, and science. His proposals are reasonable and he should be a top tier...

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Who are we kidding? We like Andrew Yang because he’s giving away money.

Amy Klobuchar: Circus Peanuts

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Why are Amy Klobuchar and circus peanuts a thing?

Have you ever met an Amy Klobuchar supporter or a fan of circus peanuts?

Even Amy Klobuchar’s mom said she’s voting for Kamala Harris.

Tulsi Gabbard: Pop Rocks

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Remember when someone started a rumor that Mikey from the Life Cereal commercial was killed by a Russian asset who liked Pop Rocks? Or maybe the rumor was that Tulsi Gabbard helped the Russians kill Mikey by making him drink Pop Rocks and Coca-Cola? I think it was in Hillary’s emails.

Tulsi Gabbard has the “crazy eyes” and talks like she’s holding you hostage and the cops are knocking at the door because a neighbor heard some suspicious sounds while Tulsi is calmly warning you not to try anything funny because she’s right behind the door holding a knife to your beloved son’s throat so just get rid of the cops and everything will be over soon.

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What I’m trying to say is that Tulsi Gabbard might kill you.

I don’t think she will, but...

Marianne Williamson: Marijuana Edible

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Lately, there have been multiple reports warning parents to watch out for people who put marijuana edibles in kids’ trick-or-treat bags. I can definitively say this is bullshit. No one is giving out marijuana edibles willy-nilly.

Well...Marianne Williamson might.

It always feels like her edible just kicked in. I know some people like her because she’s a longtime supporter of reparations, but I feel like she does the movement more harm than good. How can she be the original reparations candidate and still not have a plan? Her plan is literally that she will get some black people to come up with a plan.

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Plus, she’s a low-key anti-vaxxer and believes she can control hurricanes with her mind.

Screenshot: Marianne Williamson (Twitter)
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Nothing she says means anything because she can always use the Afroman excuse and say: “I was gonna disburse reparations until I got high...”

Donald Trump: Flaming Bag of Shit

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You can’t talk about Halloween treats without talking about tricks (There are good candies on both sides). While my favorite Halloween trick was using rotten eggs in our annual neighborhood egg war, the oldest and most famous Halloween prank involves putting dog shit in a paper bag, leaving it on someone’s porch, setting it on fire and then ringing the doorbell. You can guess what would happen when they tried to stomp out the fire. And that’s the Halloween prank that was pulled on America three years ago.

Luckily, Marianne Williamson stopped by a few minutes ago.

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About the author

Michael Harriot

World-renowned wypipologist. Getter and doer of "it." Never reneged, never will. Last real negus alive.