When Donald Trump was scheduled March 11 to stump on the University of Illinois Chicago campus, I was driving to Detroit with the goal of getting out of town before the inevitable protests began. I openly questioned on Facebook the purpose of protesting Trump, as if making a scene in public wouldn’t just embolden his supporters, let alone change their vote.
During my drive, what I assumed would be a smaller protest wound up a national news-making calamity that motivated The Donald to cancel his speech. Of course, the Chicagoans on my Facebook News Feed were thrilled at the notion that their “tough,” stalwart city managed to keep him out.
Meh. I’m unimpressed that we “kept out” a man whose name still sits in massive letters on the third-largest building in the city. (I’d be more impressed if protestors burned that bitch down), and the incident certainly didn’t slow his flow. But it was the video footage of the physical altercations at the event – which I’m sure were skewed by the media – that permanently soured me to this entire election cycle.
I’m old enough to legitimately remember seven presidential campaigns (and actually vote in four elections to date), and I’ve never hated everything about any of them like I do this one. I’ve never been so embarrassed at the possibility that space aliens would come down right now to assess our fucked-up state of affairs.
My feelings stand in diametric opposition to those about the election eight years ago, when I was caught up in the excitement of Barack Obama hitting the Big Seat. Not only am I not excited about any current candidate as a future leader of our union, but there’s something special about the sheer unlikableness of damn near each and every candidate in either party.
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Four years ago, the GOP – emboldened at the unmitigated gall of someone who (barely) fails the brown paper bag test to run the free world – rolled out a circus of idiots and “birthers” to attempt to unseat Obama. Goof-asses like resident moon cricket Herman “9-9-9” Cain (who won a little respect by making fun of himself after the fact) and Michele Bachmann, a.k.a. Sarah Palin minus the sexiness and including what has to be Tommy-tack-hammer-induced head trauma served as a precursor for what we’re seeing now.
But I didn’t hate them. They don’t evoke powerful feelings of disdain like the motley crew of GOP jagoffs who stepped into 2016 expecting the world to take them seriously. The cavalcade of fuckboys (and one fuckgirl) was such an unwieldy mess that they had to split up the early debates by tiers (I bet not one of you can name each of the 23,471 original GOP candidates. I sure can’t.)
I won’t dedicate many pixels on my opinion of Trump considering countless other think pieces have done it for me. But he’s absolutely right-wing America’s id writ large, his ascendancy an insidious confluence of one population itching to get a darkie out of the White House and another that gets off on grandiloquent demagoguery.
Close your eyes and process for a moment that we’re having an austere national conversation about the dude from “Celebrity Apprentice” who probably looked up a few months ago like, “Well, shit B…these people are taking this whole me-running-for-president thing seriously! What do I do??” Like me, you might just say “fuck all of this.”
Of course, I wouldn’t be writing this if I was excited about the Democratic side of things. Outside of the fact that she’ll likely become the first woman president (which, admittedly, feels less groundbreaking following the first black president), Hillary Clinton is entirely uninspiring. Everything about her is off, from the baggage she comes with to her terrible attempts to cater to the black and woman communities to my general distaste at the presidency circulating within the same damn families in a country with hundreds of millions of natural-born citizens.
Disappointment with some of his policies notwithstanding, Obama’s accomplishments in the last seven years have been profound; Clinton’s stump rhetoric belies a general “business as usual” likelihood in her presidency. Having her in the White House would be the equivalent of making it on “The Price is Right” and going home with nothing but a Ninja blender – not the worst option, but you know you could’ve done so much better.
Which brings me to Bernie Sanders. His Democratic socialist ideas frighten a large swath of voters concerned that he’s the second coming of Josef Stalin come to tax us all to the poor house. That’s why the same bucketheads who liberally used “socialist” as a stand-in for “nigger” in relation to Obama are coming for Sanders by obfuscating his message for the lemmings who refuse to dig deeper.
He has a shitload of support in my circles, and I pulled the lever for him in the primary election. But let’s keep it one-hunnuh: homie looks like he’s one heart palpitation away from passing away face-down in a bowl of his 6 p.m. pre-bedtime Cream of Wheat. Any reservations I have about Sanders as a potential harbinger of positive change come solely from the knowledge that he would be an octogenarian in his second term, yelling “WHAAAAAAAAT?!?! I CAN’T HEAR YOU!!!” from across the War Room and throwing his cane at the head of the Secretary of Defense when he hears something he doesn’t like.
I don’t “Feel the Bern” so much as I do a light itch in my draws that some bacitracin might fix. And it looks like a non-issue since the Millennials who’ll happily use their Flamin’ Hot Cheetos-stained digits to tweet support for Sanders won’t actually cowboy the fuck up and hit the polls.
As I write this, I’m enjoying the magnificent fourth season of Netflix’s “House of Cards.” There’s a late-season episode in which Claire Underwood is stumping and asks a couple outright, “Why me and not my opponents?” The wife said it was because they got a “feeling” when she saw her and husband Frank at the convention.
That’s what this whole fucking election cycle boils down to: a lot of feelings and very little investment in actual policies. Trump is an easy target because his bloviating is extremely offensive in a way that everyone can either love, hate or roll into a tidy meme (some of which I’m guilty of disseminating). The way we process information – in quick and easy clickbait headlines – is going to make getting substance through progressively harder. There’ll be good guys and bad guys, with little regard for nuance.
If there’s any good thing about this election cycle, it’s watching the Republican Party cannibalize itself in a fashion that will probably permanently change it – hopefully for the better. But, given that U.S. democracy is bleeding out like Jim Caviezel in Passion of the Christ this election cycle, I may as well have voted for the homie Willie Wilson and hoped for the best.