Sometimes, when I need a chuckle, I’ll hearken back to this piping-hot take from guy-who-is-often-wrong-as-fuck, Jonathan Chait. It was called “2012 or Never“, and I still remember reading it the day it was published. This was earlier in the Twitter-era, but politically active types still shared it around, patting themselves on the back. Back then, President Obama looked mostly unbeatable, and the Democratic Party was about to change America.
Writers and “great political thinkers” said that after 2012, the Republican Party would need to re-cast itself. I’m not putting this all on Jonathan Chait, because this was the prevailing take across “the political click-bait internet” of post-2012. They were all wrong, but it was because they tend to find themselves in places like Washington D.C., New York, Boston, etc.
The theory was, all the racism, guns, birther-ism, pro-Lifer, neo-Evangelical, whatever-you-want-call-it nonsense had failed. Somehow, the Republican party would need to lean towards the center, get smarter, fiscally conservative, and younger. Or that’s what was supposed to happen.
In early 2012, I left Los Angeles, and headed back to my roots in The South; finding a comfortable home in Nashville. Upon arriving in Nashville, I realized I had been in the bubble, and everything I was reading on the internet was wrong.
Everything after 2012 has been a failure, and I can sum it up in one sentence: I can’t make you smarter, but I can sure as shit make you dumber.
The Republican Party wasn’t going to improve, because you can’t coax rural, under-educated, un-curious people into being more worldly or informed. A redneck from Murfreesboro, Tennessee is not going to start reading The Atlantic and saying, “Honey, get in here. Let me show you this Ta-Nehisi Coates article. Did you know that the African American experience in America was fundamentally shaped by cyclical poverty from the 1800s onward, by systematic voter-suppression and intentional poverty-mechanisms? We simply must put an stop to this!”
People don’t get smarter. They get dumber. It’s my Beavis & Butthead Rule of Life: Whatever you think will happen next, won’t happen. Something dumber will happen.
We’re a chronically stupid nation — perhaps even terminally stupid. I haven’t decided yet. After all, we do have people saying things like, “Hey, I know we don’t have a vaccine for this super-virus yet, but the pandemic looks like it’s over, so let’s all head back out and pretend this didn’t happen.” You know, like… the President, and everyone working for him. Anyway…
Stupidity wins, because it’s easier to be stupid. That’s why Democrats couldn’t fathom Hillary Clinton losing in 2016. Stupidity comes in all forms, and that includes short-term memory. Back in 2008, everyone who knew anything believed that it was Hillary’s time to lead, that we’d have our first female President, that the legacy of the Clinton name would be forged into a– wait holy shit who the fuck is this Obama guy?
In 2008, a little known Junior Senator from Illinois absolutely bodied one of the biggest names in American politics, despite her carrying heavy support from… almost fucking everyone. Barack Obama wasn’t supposed to have a chance. Early on, it was thought that John Edwards might put up a fight, but this was back when we cared about the fidelity of marriage. (He wasn’t even fucking pornstars. Just garden-variety women. No payoff, even. What a boring ass scandal. Anyway…)
Allow me to show you Exhibit A:
In 2016, we decided to take the half-eaten meatball sub known as Hillary Clinton, stick that motherfucker in the microwave for 60 seconds, and then said to the voting public, “Here, eat this. It’s old and terrible, but at least we took the courtesy of making it soggy and hot.” Why? Because stupidity reigns supreme in America. Whatever you think will happen next, won’t happen. Something dumber will happen.
When voting night came around, something dumber happened. His name was Donald Trump, and he’s arguably the dumbest President in the history of our nation. He doesn’t read. He only cares about what’s happening to him, and he lacks the ability to think about anyone other than himself. His entire Presidency has revolved around sitting on the couch, watching television, and narrating the things he sees on television. Mike Judge once made a cartoon about two morons watching television, and talking about the shit they saw on the screen…
The Democratic Party had three years to get their shit together before the primary season of 2019-2020, and four years before another general election. Logic would dictate that we find the best candidate, who appears to young people, old people, and everyone in between. After all, all you need to do is beat the dumbest President in history. The field of candidates included accomplished Senators like Michael Bennet, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Kristin Gillibrand, and eventual hot-ticket, Elizabeth Warren.
We had intellectuals like Andrew Yang and Tom Steyer.
We had billionaires like Mike Bloomberg and Tom Steyer.
We had corporate-talking-points robots like Mayor Pete and Tom Steyer.
We had crystal-healing, walking astrology wizards like Marianne Williamson.
We had 9/11 truthers like former Senator Mike Gravel.
We even got Beto O’Rourke to skateboard out and give us a few “fuck yeahs” before he lost steam.
In the end, it was Senator Bernie Sanders against former Vice President Joe Biden. Bernie Sanders was popular in 2016, so he re-heated his Democratic Socialist vision for America, this time with less impact, in a more crowded field, with Senator Elizabeth Warren ultimately taking his policies and perfecting them. In a smart world, Sanders supporters would have seen Warren’s policies and said, “Oh, well — this woman is clearly more organized, and better able to articulate her message to more people.”
But we don’t live in a smart world. We live in a stupid world. Sanders and Warren split their voters, all the while failing to realize they were living the Spiderman meme.
Instead of getting a candidate capable of forming a complete sentence, we got mumbling, stumbling, nearly 80 year old Joe Biden. He’s easy to dunk on, because there are dozens of video clips of him caressing young girls, grabbing them inappropriately, sniffing hair, and just being a weirdo old creep in general. Bold prediction: Those are going in heavy rotation leading up to November.
Also, apparently he’s a rapist now? Very cool, America.
We aren’t going to get nice things. That’s not how this country works anymore. If you thought for a moment that some progressive “Blue Wave” was going to sweep across America, you got it wrong. It was a “blue moneyshot” — a little spray on her tits when it probably would have just been easier to let her swallow it. Whatever, it looks cool for about 15 seconds until you realize how pointless it is to cum on tits. But it sounded like a good idea when you were saying it.
Whatever you think will happen next, won’t happen. Something dumber will happen.