Written by Hannah Dunleavy

In The News

Donkeys and Elephants

Leadership elections are underway in the UK, but they’ve nothing on the outright lunacy that is the US Primaries, as Hannah Dunleavy explains.

Illustration by Louise Boulter.

Illustration by Louise Boulter.


The arrival of all manner of financial accusations about the Clinton Foundation and Hillary and Bill themselves in Peter Schweizer’s Clinton Cash means Team Hillary has had to crank up the Automated Denial Creator, which was oh-so busy back when Bill couldn’t keep his wang in his pants.

The book’s claims centre on overseas contributions made to the Foundation while Clinton was the Secretary of State, as well as very-nicely-paid speeches Bill gave around the world during the same period.

To some degree, the shut-this-down strategy has been a success and it’s currently accepted (although not by Fox News, natch) that a number of allegations are just not true and, in other cases, Schweizer has failed to provide a smoking gun. Or DNA-rich dress. Or whatever.

The good news for Mrs Clinton is that none of this seems to have affected how she’s polling, with one recently making her the choice of 62 per cent of Democrats. Although what do polls mean, eh? WHAT DO THEY MEAN?

So, who might they be voting for instead? Well, one brave soul has stepped forward. He’s not quite the Viper; he’s Bernie Saunders, a 73-year-old Vermont senator who can at least expect to pick up some ‘anyone but Clinton’ votes. On paper, he seems like a good enough egg, even if he has offered up his wife Jane for a potential debate with Mr Hillary. (Is that a thing now? Please, don’t let it be a thing.)

The senator describes himself as a “democratic socialist”, which much of America will hear as “dirty commie”, but we can interpret as “no chance”. Sanders once gave a commendable eight-and-a-half hour speech in a bid to filibuster a bill cutting tax rates. It ended with the words “Enough is enough! How many homes can you own?” (I don’t know, Bernie, maybe read Clinton Cash.)


Still no word from Other Bush, Trump, Christie or faint possibility Senator Lindsey Graham, but the Republican Primary’s still busier than South Thanet on election day. In fact, it’s starting to resemble the launch of Strictly Come Dancing, when you wonder which one of these people will be the cause of a future ‘hah, Google says they were in it’ loss in an I’ll-get-the-next-round pub bet.

“Carson’s brought to you by the people that bought you Sarah Palin. He’s a man of science, but this doesn’t stretch to agreeing with Darwin.”

There have been three entrants since last we spoke. I’m going to start with Ben Carson, because he’s the only one who’s been played by Cuba Gooding Jnr in a lifetime movie. He’s the closest thing to a celebrity in the race (to date) and the American Dream writ large. An African American, he grew up poor in Detroit, but went on to be a paediatric neurosurgeon of international renown. You’d think that would make him the most relatable of the candidates declared so far, but that’s until you see the worst two words outside of ‘insufficient funds’ – Tea Party.

Yes, Carson’s brought to you by the people that bought you Sarah Palin. He’s a man of science, but this doesn’t stretch to agreeing with Darwin. You bloody heathen. Carson’s said God must’ve have created man because how else do you explain the eyeball. I don’t know, Ben, how else do you explain the Grand Canyon?

The doctor claims Obamacare is worse than slavery and the President is a psychopath, later downgrading the statement to “he reminds me of a psychopath”, which is clearly so much better. Such is his commitment to saying this sort of thing, Carson’s hired the guy who used to look after Richard Pryor to run his campaign.

His campaign slogan ain’t great either: Heal, Inspire, Revive. Seems like one of his team read that on a poster while they were getting their legs waxed. It doesn’t really give the full picture either: Heal, Inspire, Check They’re Insured, Revive. Carson will probably leave the race early, but I’m sure he’s going to have a whole load of terrifying fun before then.

Next out of the trap was Carly Fiorina. She seems quite reasonable in this field in the same way Margaret Thatcher seems quite reasonable next to Stalin. Fiorina, who’s running based on her experience of the economy, used to be in charge at Hewlett Packard. Then she was sacked. In the meanwhile, a crapload of people lost their jobs and the company’s share price fell dramatically. All of which makes her no less fit to run an economy than George Osborne.

If you want to know more about Fiorina’s time at HP, you can visit www.carlyfiorina.org which is being run by some disgruntled former employees after her election team failed to register the address. So, there’s definitely zero chance of those guys ever messing up. (“Hi, is that IT? Yeah, I’ve pressed Reply All again. Sorry I can’t hear you, there’s a siren going off.”)

Fiorina’s currently polling at 1 per cent. Possibly because she actually supports some abortions (in the cases of rape, incest and where the mother’s life is at risk) and she believes in global warming. That said, she can’t see the point in doing anything to help the Earth out since one country can’t make a difference, an argument straight from the ‘well, if I don’t rape her, somebody else will’ school of thought.

Fiorina would also like to put cameras on all policemen so they behave better, which is obviously the next best thing after getting them to stop shooting people.

“Huckabee believes asking Christians to accept gay marriage is like asking Jewish people to eat bacon-covered shrimp, while failing to acknowledge that asking gay people to accept Mike Huckabee is like asking them to eat bacon-covered turds.”

But there’s no more time to talk about that crazy, because here comes 2008 Republican nomination candidate Mike Huckabee, who held the most WTF announcement event this year. No really: Tony Orlando sang a Tie a Yellow Ribbon with new Huckabee-related lyrics. Then the former Baptist pastor talked about how much he loved his first gun (a BB, which he got when he was five) and how he’s never murdered anyone. Mike, you had them at Tony Orlando.

Huckabee believes asking Christians to accept gay marriage is like asking Jewish people to eat bacon-covered shrimp, while failing to acknowledge that asking gay people to accept Mike Huckabee is like asking them to eat bacon-covered turds. But he’s not an unreasonable guy. He thinks there’s room to disagree on some matters. He doesn’t drink or use profanity but he knows people who do. Hopefully one of them will get pissed and call him a cunt from me.

More on these latest entrants to the race in the next Donkeys and Elephants, by which time sweater vest-wearing zealot and climate-change denier Rick Santorum should also have entered the race. I’ll just be here biting my fist until then.

Read Donkeys and Elephants from the start here: Part 1 / Part 2.


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Written by Hannah Dunleavy

Hannah Dunleavy is the deputy editor of Standard Issue. She likes whisky and not having to run anywhere.