We’re coming to the end of the line in less than twenty-four hours. Thank God. With the election less than a day away it’s time to take that long look back and award the best of the best of the worst of the worst for our Weekly Politic Election 2016 Awards!
Best Scandal: (ACCESS HOLLYWOOD VIDEO LEAK) Ah, where would 2016 be without some inane and salacious scandal for the candidates to walk back? Due to the volume of the category, we’ll ignore Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal, currently at trial. We’ll forego all of Mike Pence’s abhorrent support of conversion therapy and his Pro-Choice persecution agenda, and even dismiss Gary Johnson’s mental breakdown (more on that later) and just focus on Trump and Clinton. The email servers of Hillary Clinton have dominated the race from the very beginning to inches from the finish line. The ordeal certainly tainted the image of Clinton and her potential administration but they served to host much smoke but very little fire.
The Access Hollywood video that saw Trump bragging to Billy Bush about sexually assaulting women with a mouthful of tic-tacs came at a critical time in the race where Trump’s numbers were beginning to stabilize. Less than 48 hours after the release, his numbers plummets across the board with Clinton gaining steam in deep Red states like Georgia, Missouri and even Texas (she will probably lose all three still). While Trump has managed to wrest control of the sinking ship, the cannonballs already punched their holes in his hull. With eleven women coming out in short succession after the video release, Trump’s penchant for womanizing became synonymous with his image, an aspect he has been unable to shake as we close down on the finish line.
Best Running Mate: (BILL WELD) Given the four VP choices: Clinton’s, Trump’s, Johnson’s, and Stein’s- only three register, and only two seem to be actively campaigning for their own candidate, and Pence sometime seems like he’s only going through the motions. I think they were all were safe bets and in doing so were smart choices, but ultimately boring. Trump needed Pence to calm his image and win over Evangelicals. Clinton needed Kaine to win Virginia and white males, apparently, while needing the Latino vote she settled for someone who can speak Spanish rather than someone with Latin descent (baby steps).
I gotta give it to Bill Weld. Talk about waking up in Vegas handcuffed to a dead hooker, he’s had a real Sisyphean task dragging this dead weight around with him for months now. As the other VPs offer a balance to the top of their respective tickets, Weld offered the Libertarian ticket a semblance of sanity. Weld sacrificed his well-earned reputation to be saddled to a man who refuses to know anything about anything, who doesn’t know what Allepo is and couldn’t name a single world leader, and then doubled-down on his ignorance as a badge of courage. What makes Weld the Best is that, unlike other second-in-commands who nod in blind lock-step agreement of anything their frontrunner spouts, Weld pushed back repeatedly against Johnson and has all but publically endorsed Hillary Clinton for President, vouching for her character as well as her ability to lead. He does this not to sell out his inept running mate, but in the interest of the nation they are sworn to serve; something his peers could do to learn by.
Best Quote: (DONALD TRUMP; 1st GENERAL ELECTION DEBATE)
Donald Trump: “I think my strongest asset by far is my temperament. I have a winning temperament.”
Debate Audience: (Audible laughter)
I think that one speaks for itself.
Best Alternative Party: (NONE) Boy, did these alternative parties really crap the bed in 2016. No other election in modern history has been more amenable to the possibility of letting a third party to the table than this one. With both Trump and Clinton deeply running in the negatives with public image, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, of the Libertarian and Green parties respectively, had an opportunity to really get out their party’s core beliefs. Instead, Jill Stein went around the country in an activist role as opposed to a leadership role, spouting that the science behind vaccines and the danger of rogue wi-fi signals was not yet conclusive (it is), also not closing the book that 9/11 was an inside job. Additionally, none of her campaign agendas went further than a bumper sticker slogan and offered no reasonable approach to implementation. Johnson acted a buffoon. Similar to Stein, Johnson’s tax plans were viewed completely unfeasible to countless economic experts. Never once did Johnson appear to even want to take this race seriously. Both candidates did an immense disservice to their parties. If real change was on the agenda for either party they would be running for Senate, Congressional, Governor seats, etc throughout the years of an administration, not just popping up every four years to make some noise before signing a book deal. It will be very hard due to the campaigns that both Stein and Johnson chose to run for either party to be taken seriously in 2020 and that is a genuine shame.
Best Slogan: (MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN) Hey, I may not support the guy. I may find his tenets antithetical to very fabric of what this nation stands for, but he has a knack for marketing. Ostensibly, the red hats with stitched slogan embroidery was fully thought out while the rest of the campaign was still in its embryo. That is because, if nothing else, Trump knows that people want to be a part of something, they want to be a part of the larger whole. Trump gets mobs. His slogan is simple, patriotic, and utterly meaningless. When one thinks back on the race and the candidates, the mental image of the Republican candidate and Party can be distilled to one Platonic ideal form, that stupid fucking hat.
Best Comeback: (BERNIE SANDERS) Many people considered him a novel sentiment at best when he first announced his candidacy. What chance would a Jewish Socialist have in American politics? While I’m sure they asked JFK what chance did an Irish Catholic have in running, and even some bigots are out there now wondering how “the black one” and “that woman” are being taken seriously, Sanders refused to blink in his convictions and people took notice. Many considered the democratic nominee to be nothing short of a coronation of Hillary Clinton. He proved them wrong. Clinton has yet to capture a fraction of the passion Sanders supporters held for Sanders. His popularity and the threat he posed her own chances has pushed Clinton further to the Left than she was ever willing to go. To that end, he is the first of any of the candidates, Trump and Clinton included, to gain any significant and measurable win.
Best Failure: (JEB BUSH) ‘Member him? Time travel back about two years ago. Ask anyone in the know who they thought would be running in the General Election. Nine out of ten of them would have said Clinton v Bush. Jeb was the heir apparent for the Republican party, well groomed, well mannered, manageable with ability to debate and offer competition on the economy (an aspect that still snags Clinton during debates) Then the rubber hit the road. Turns out calm and steady is a weak alternative to the dumpster fire smoldering behind the podium next over. Labeled as “low energy”, Jeb did nothing to counteract the image, often seen frowning with slumped shoulders. Bush barely cracked 4th in the few primaries he remained to run in before slipping away quietly in the night. Also, it should be noted “Jeb” is an acronymic nickname for his full name of John Ellis Bush. Therefore when he says “Jeb Bush”, he’s actually saying “John Ellis Bush Bush”.
Best Loveable Loser: (BEN CARSON) Oh, if only we had more Ben Carsons out there, as long as they were never given any positions of actual power or authority. How this guy wasn’t labeled as low-energy is beyond me. The man appeared to run solely off of Ambien and carbon monoxide, seemingly nodding off between sentences. He once claimed the pyramids of Giza were built by the bible’s Joseph as a means to store grain. He regaled the public of his childhood indiscretions of trying to stab his mother with a knife, hitting another child in the head with a brick, and of course, who could forget the time he had a malpractice suit for leaving a sponge in someone’s brain after performing surgery?! Ah, you left us too soon Dr. Carson. You should really try to be the irreverent co-host of some late night talk show. You’ve got a certain Ed McMahon quality I’d hate to see go to waste.
Best Campaign: (BERNIE SANDERS) While it seems odd to award Best Campaign to a campaign that lost, it would be hard to argue any campaign did more with less. Harder still, would be to find a campaign with more fervent and idealistic supporters. Sure, Trump supporters are incredibly devoted to their Furher, I mean leader, but even their intensity come less from love of Trump and more out of hate and distrust of Clinton and various “others”. While Clinton ran largely on the fear of a Trump presidency, Sanders went all in on the Hope and Change that captivated the voters of 2008. He demanded large, sweeping changes to the government and would not be met halfway. He was a breath of fresh air in a jaded environment. He single-handedly proved that through sheer passion and numbers and faith in cause that the powers that be will be forced to take notice. Sure, he lost to the Clinton machine, but he put her on the ropes and pushed her far further to the left than she was willing or ready to go. Sanders legacy will be a Clinton administration that is decidedly more left of center than they had anticipated. For that, the ghost of Bernie Sanders will roam the Oval Office for years to come.
At Least It’s Not That Guy: (TED CRUZ) A million billion times, Ted Cruz.
Best Celebrity Cameo: (SCOTT BAIO) Sure, Hillary had Jay-Z, Beyonce, LeBron James, Cher, Billy Crystal, Morgan Freeman, Katy Perry, and Lena Dunham, but Donald Trump was able to score Chachi! Somehow able to find the free time, Scott Baio wowed the audiences of the RNC in proving that he had not died several years ago in a boating accident involving several Vietnamese prostitutes and a briefcase full of counterfeit drachmas (long story). Sure the guy who played Bob Labla, host of Bob Labla’s Law Blog proved to be a petty, misogynistic jackanape, but we got some jokes out of it. At the end of the day, if you make a child laugh, isn’t that what it’s all about?
Most Memorable Rally: (TRUMP/CHICAGO) Sander’s NY rally that drew near 90,000 people was the high-water point of his campaign. Clinton’s Jay-Z/Beyonce rally was something for the ages, and Gary Johnson’s visit to Chad’s basement in Sheboygan, Wisconsin where they shared a plate of pizza bagels was surely memorable, but an earlier stop for Trump in Chicago came to define his candidacy and leave an indelible black mark on what he meant to the nation at large. Due to the sheer amount of protests, Trump had to end the rally early with people fighting in the streets and in the crowd itself. near full-scale riots threatened to break out at his arrival. No truer picture could be painted to display the gulf between Trump loyalists and his detractors. Fists flew, property was damaged. When Trump first took the stage in the midst of the unrest in the streets surrounding the venue he had asked the crowd if they had heard what was happening outside. He then held his hand out flat and shook it with uncertainty adding in an uncanny Groucho Marx delivery, “not so good, not so good.”
Best Surrogate: (ELIZABETH WARREN) While Michelle Obama’s recent speeches in endorsement of Hillary Clinton were some of the most moving of the cycle, Warren’s barbed open insults of Trump, calling him a “a small, insecure money-grubber” and a “thin skinned bully” went places that the Democratic candidate could not. Her insults were tactical, baiting Trump into an insult war that she knew she was strong enough to take the hits for. Predictably, Trump responded in kind, calling her “Pocahontas” on multiple occasions. As if claiming a slight Native American heritage was something to be mocked for. The results were academic, Trump proved to be the racist bully Warren painted him as. While he further went off script by engaging in this proxy war with Warren, Clinton was able to effectively flank him with her own assault at the same time.
Best Spin: (HILLARY CLINTON/THE “LINCOLN” EXCUSE) During the second debate Clinton was asked why she mentioned in an expensive donor dinner that she says one set of policies in public and another in private. In a breathtakingly brazen pivot, the democratic nominee said that she was merely referring to a scene in “that great Steven Spielberg” picture, Lincoln, where the Great Emancipator had to bring together a contentious North and South by any means necessary. “Yeah… that’s what I was talking about to a room full of bankers nervous about my adoption of Sanders’ policies. Yeah, that’s the ticket.”
Best Dressed: (HILLARY CLINTON) While a patently sexist category, Hillary is the only one in the running. With all of her opponents wearing a variation of any random ill-fitting suit, it takes a lot of guts to insist on dressing like a librarian from outer space for every rally and debate. I think 2017 will be known as the year of the pant suit.
Most Outlandish Conspiracy Theory: (TIE- TED CRUZ’S DAD HELPED KILL JFK/TED CRUZ IS THE ZODIAC KILLER): While no one holds a candle to sheer volume of conspiracy theories that Hillary Clinton engenders, none were so odd as the ones leveled at Ted Cruz. Trump could not help but to speculate on, multiple times, a national Inquirer article that implicated Cruz’s father as an accomplice to the murder of JFK. While Trump never outright accused the Cruz family of the assassination he did offer it his patented, “I don’t know, you tell me. Many people are talking about it…”
While Ted Cruz was a mere child at the time of the Zodiac slayings in California of the 1960s the mere fact that something like this is considered is testimony to the outright timeless and inhuman creepiness of Ted Cruz.
My predictions: Hillary Clinton will be our 45th President. She will win the electoral vote by 4 to 7 points. It will not come in the landslide some have predicted. The popular vote will be uncomfortably close for some, Clinton will squeak by 1.5 points. Regardless, it will be an early shutout for team Clinton. Here’s why: Clinton is currently leading in the decisive swing-states of Florida, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina, with Ohio leaning to Trump but not out of reach. If Clinton takes merely one of these states she will effectively close the door on Trump winning the electoral tally needed of 270. With those states being some of the first to begin counting the ballots, if Clinton does well in the Eastern Standard time zone, she may be mathematically determined to win by the electoral college vote while people are still voting in California.
In a display of Shakespearean hubris, the very demographics Trump has maligned in effort to build his campaign upon will prove the active agents of his own undoing. There are already reports of lines that run for hours at early voting places with a highly significant Democratic bias. Of those early voters, the Latino vote in Nevada has already won the state for Hillary. The same is said to be happening in Florida as well for the same reasons. I believe this is possible, but I hold off on making any assumptions in regards to Florida.
As for Ohio, I think it will be a close Trump victory. The state will be Red while Cuyahoga will hold the line for the democrats, remaining the Bluest of the Blue for Ohio. Ted Strickland is going to be whipped like a rented mule by Republican, Rob Portman, for the Senate seat by around 9-15 points- I’m thinking 12. While I disagree with Portman on several issues, Strickland deserves to lose for running such a non-existent and lazy campaign, much like the one that found him lose the Governor race to Kasich. With the Senate in play, a lackluster candidacy of Strickland is inexcusable. Just a single Senate flip to a Democrat holds the potential to give the Democrats the majority and would allow for a much more effective Democratic Clinton administration. While the Democrats still have a slight chance at gaining the Senate it will be in spite of Strickland not because of, and even then, I suspect we will see a Republican majority retained.
And remember, whether you agree or disagree with me. Go out and get your voice heard on the 8th and vote!