ISSUE 99

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 I am your bright, bushy-tailed candidate. After the past several years, you will settle for anything, a deflated balloon, a gerbil, a pile of dirt, Bush, anything, just please God, anything.
 Well, look at me. I have a blinding optimism that gets people chanting, tearing up, tweeting, and stripping off their clothes in a mad dash for freedom. And, most importantly, I get people to make posters—not well-drawn posters, not with words spelled correctly, but posters made with passion and a few glasses of wine.
 My first most dashing attribute: my smile. Known to be the greatest source of energy since the leaky nuclear plant that killed a bunch of fish, it once resurrected your grandmother and has given hope to millions of desolate blue-collar workers. They look at me and think, Now, this is a guy I would trust to safely operate the forklift.
 Second most dashing attribute: my handshake. Firm but not too firm, smooth because I moisturize, understanding yet stern, humble yet confident, powerful yet accessible, vaguely seductive but with the understanding that it would never happen… you’ll wonder how I manage to convey all this with my silky paws. My secret is shaking hands with dead people, and I’m not proud of that. Worth it? Yes. Enjoyable? Only occasionally. 
 Third: the perfect outfit. Whether I am a woman, a man, or both, I dress professionally, though sometimes I like to wear a ball cap. This will convince you that not only can I throw the first pitch at a baseball game but I can home run a touchdown and back hand an alley-oop on a par three… for America.
 But what about policy? Where do I stand on climate change, gun rights, abortion, the importance of a six-month dental cleaning? All I can say is I’m not a career politician. I’m a doer, having spent twenty years as a delivery truck driver and five on a jail work crew.
 You watch me speak and you feel like you can train the dog, you can bring the recycling to the curb, you can start that business selling twice-strained, organic yak’s milk.   And it’s not just you. I inspire interns. I inspire your aunt. I inspire people with beards, people with dogs, confident people, assured people, and people who are so grassroots they are a little like weeds.
 Everyone is welcome on this journey, the young, the old, and the few middle-aged people who have time to care. My followers are great, and I would do anything for them, except murder… well, not mass murder.
 You see, I want to create a dialogue between everyone: friends, enemies, and those neighbors you don’t know but wave to—both to encourage community and because they look a little stabby-stabby and you want to be on their good side.
 What party am I? I am whatever you want me to be. Like a box of Legos or an unprincipled, doughy boyfriend, I can be made into anything. If you like smoking, I like smoking. If you like chimpanzees, I like chimpanzees. If you like jumping into alligator-infested swamps with nothing on but a pair of cowboy boots, then god damn it, I like that too.
 You will vote for me because I cannot offend anyone. As bland and reliable as oatmeal or generic toilet paper, I won’t give you a rash or do anything someone in the 50s wouldn’t do. In a world where people speak their mind, I agree with everything. Some call me “unprincipled,” “spineless,” and “a little like a smelly weasel.” And I say no one agrees with them more than me. 
 But we haven’t gotten to the best thing about my campaign: I promise you will get everything you have ever wanted ever. This is because I am Santa Claus and God and a subtle feeling that everything is going to be all right. Prepare yourself for free coffee, free high fives, free puppies, free divorce settlements, free trucks, free energy bar samples, and free passes to do whatever you want.
 These promises aren’t realistic—not now, not ever—but that doesn’t matter because you stopped listening at divorce settlements. Simply remember: I am me. You are you. And with my smile and your poster-making skills, we can change this country.   
   
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