America, we are knee-deep into primary season, with about seven months to go before the general election. Here is what I know for sure:
1) A certain number of people are going to vote for Trump no matter what.
2) A certain number of people are going to vote AGAINST Trump no matter what.
3) We’re stuck with the electoral college for the time being.
4) A certain number of people are VERY excited about Sanders.
5) A much smaller number of people are excited about Biden at all, and — in fact — Biden’s hype quotient is even less than Kerry’s was in 2004.
In other words, it all comes down to whether or not the Democrats in 2020 can pull off something *no one’s ever managed to pull off* in the history of Presidential elections: can you win an election with a campaign that’s 100% based on “voting out the other guy?”
Granted, the last time we tried this (and failed,) it was 2004 and the “other guy” in question was a shitty warmonger with Daddy issues, but at least he was a shitty warmonger with Daddy issues who existed within the bounds of normal human behavior. One could, if one wanted, strike up a conversation with a person who genuinely liked and respected George W. Bush for reasons that existed within the same basic astral plane as reality. I might think the Iraq War was a stupid idea done badly, and if you get a couple whiskey drinks in me you’ll definitely hear the phrases “military industrial complex” and “inevitable climax of American imperialism,” but at least I could agree with Bush supporters about how Saddam Hussein was a very bad man. Nowadays, we barely even share the same atomic structure as the other side. Sometimes I yearn for a day when all Americans could stand unified in the knowledge that — for example- Guantanamo Bay was definitely a place on a map where a thing was happening.
The polls on Trump right now are precisely where they’ve always been, of course. Overall approval rating is about 43%. Disapproval is at 53%. Republicans still rate him at 88%, but that’s probably just because they assume all pollsters are beady-eyed college twerps and they wanna hear ’em cry. In real life, I’m guessing it’s not that high, but it’s still high. Trump consistently fails at emulating basic humanity or morality, but he keeps appointing judges who like punishing women for being wanton hussies, so — I mean, you take the good, you take the bad, right?
The overall polls on Bush in 2004 were almost exactly the inverse of Trump’s in 2020 — he had a 53% approval rating. 2004 was always going to be a close election, no matter what, so I can understand the Democratic Party’s reluctance to go wild and nominate that wacky Howard Dean character (who was never that wacky, even the scream, it was a sound mixing issue, no really, that’s my day job, we’ll talk later, etc.) Turns out, the Bush campaign was really worried about running against Dean. They knew how to run against Kerry, or any of the other establishment types that ran. They had no clue whatsoever how to run against a small town Yankee doctor-turned-governor who knew how to sum up complicated problems in ways people could understand, whose intensity often just came across as honesty, and whose wife showed a distinct lack of interest in china patterns.
Ladies, find you a man who looks at you like I look at Howard Dean.
The big difference, of course, is this: on paper John Forbes Kerry was kind of awesome. War hero? Check. War hero with anti-war cred? Check. Longtime public servant with a face that looked like it was chiseled out of the same marble that gave form to Lincoln, Washington, and Sam Waterston? Check. Fight me on this if you want — John Forbes Kerry would have made a good President. Not perfect, not even great, but good. Coolidge-tier. Regardless, John Kerry had all of his marbles present and accounted for, whereas I question if Joseph Robinette Biden has the proper number of functioning brain cells for the gig.
I think — and I hope I’m right here — that most people are so desperate to get rid of Citrus Mussolini, come November they’d vote for a broken Furby. Yes, it’d be amazing if we actually ran a candidate people were excited about. Bernie Sanders is so old it’s entirely possible he attended a pre-integration Brooklyn Dodgers game, but he’s coherent, sharp, focused, and willing to fight. He faced down a heart attack, dusted himself off, and got back on the trail. I’m not worried about his brain. I’m not worried about his comments on Castro, though it would have been nice if he’d responded with something like “look, it’s great about literacy and whatnot, but killing your political enemies isn’t cool and I condemn that,” as if that was something a guy like Bernie Sanders needed to say out loud. Like, did anyone really think Bernie was going to bring back the guillotine?
But Joe’s a moderate, and Joe was Obama’s guy, and Joe has name recognition and Joe really does care, dammit. I mean, he does. He’s a scrappy old fella, but he means well. He’s… fine. Right? Joe will be fine? Like, maybe he’ll pick Kamela Harris as his running mate, or Elizabeth Warren, and that’ll be a good sign of something or other?
Broken Furby beats Citrus Mussolini. Probably. The world has come to this. What is life?