I’ll be here all week.
Tip your bartender.
All joking aside — which is a lie because it’s impossible for me to stop joking — if you’re surprised the Iowa caucuses were a shit show this year, I have to ask how it feels to come out of a coma. Literally everything is a shit show right now. I know we use that word “literally” these days in a fairly interchangeable way with “metaphorically,” but in this case, I think I’m pretty much right over target.
The United States is a hot mess right now. It reminds me of the mornings in my twenties when I’d wake up after drinking the night before like I was going to die before 30 anyway, and looking around, trying to assess just how fucked-up things got.
It feels like a hangover every single day. You wake up, check the Twitters to see what Numbnuts McStupidpants has all-caps blasted while you were sleeping. Is he whining about impeachment? Is he screeching about reading a transcript that says right on it that it’s not a transcript? Is he retweeting some god awful stupid bot named “Trump Train 512030” because it posted a meme of the president buttfucking CNN with a smile on his face?
It’s hard to get all that worked up over a shit-show caucus in Iowa when there’s a full-blown fecal carnival show happening in the Oval Office every day.
As bad as the Iowa caucuses went, I’m struggling to muster the “give a fuck” I need to care too much about it. For starters, I’m still scratching my head as to why we let Iowa feel so goddamned important every four years. The state has just over three million people in it. My state, California, has over TWELVE TIMES the population. We’ve moved our primaries up to March this year, but do you hear a bunch of buzz about who Californians are going to put on the ballot?
Nope. Because this country is permanently stuck in its past.
We revere the Constitution and its drafters as saints. We cling to an idealized version of the “olden days” of our country’s existence when Iowa represented about as far west as our borders stretched. They’ve been holding caucuses there since the 19th century, folks. This country is in desperate need of an electoral system makeover, and the Iowa caucuses are the pluperfect example of that unavoidable fact. Pretending like the caucuses are much better than the Electoral College is an exercise in choosing which gaping wound on your asshole you choose to ignore.
Why can’t we have a national day of primaries like we do a national day of elections? Your state can start primary voting early if you want, but nothing would be finalized until an agreed upon date. This might make states that have more economic and popular clout matter more, which is fair. But it might also help keep us from getting election fatigue. By the time the primary season is over, there’s usually been another fourteen months or more of campaigning by each candidate. I get that this is a big country, but it ain’t so big that we need to make our election seasons last for-literally-ever, is it?
Each state’s primary should be held and/or finalized on the same day, and then the general election should be within a few weeks of those results. But what am I saying? That might force the people we elect to do more work than campaigning, and we can’t have that. Donald Trump is a racist, human garbage fire, but in some ways he’s been a benefit. He’s the first president to drop all pretense of governing and basically campaign for his re-election since the moment he was sworn-in. It’s annoying, it’s not what we want in a president, but it underscores how very, very, very little politicians these days want to actually work for their paychecks; particularly those who are running for president.
It’s probably super frustrating for people who have a candidate they’re backing hardcore to not have results from the caucuses. I know it’s also probably crazy frustrating and enraging to see how caucuses are run. They’re anti-democratic monstrosities. Coin flips? Musical chairs? Is this democracy or an elementary school Halloween carnival we’re watching?
Do I think Mayor Pete cheated? No, not necessarily. It’s definitely odd and not good optics that his campaign paid the same firm that was hired to create the app that’s apparently thrown the whole thing into disarray, after his campaign is the one that complained and got the vaunted Iowa straw poll canceled this year…but that’s not really proof of a conspiracy as much as it’s proof of politics still being a dirty-as-fuck game.
This year, I really only care about one thing: beating Trump.
At the end of it all — literally every single candidate running for the Democratic nod is a better candidate than Trump. That’s something I wish everyone vying for their candidate would acknowledge. I’m not a “vote blue no matter who” person, either. If you live in a state where it’s reliably in one party’s corner, vote for your own genitals if you want. If you’re in a swing state, don’t be a dick. But truly, think about it: which one of these candidates shouldn’t be president over Donald Fuckface Trump? If you have an answer for that, I don’t think very highly of you, sorry.
So get on with it, America. Hold your damn caucuses and primaries. Most years, I’d be excited figuring out who was going to carry the mantle for the left. This year’s different. This year we should all have a singular mission. It’s like watching a toddler wave a gun around. Any adult in a kevlar vest is qualified to take the gun out of the tantrum throwing little baby’s hands. ANY OF THEM.
LITERALLY ANYBODY ELSE 2020
Writer/comedian James Schlarmann is the founder of The Political Garbage Chute and his work has been featured on The Huffington Post. You can follow James on Facebook, Spotify, and Instagram, but not Twitter because Twitter is a cesspool.