Written by Hannah Dunleavy

In The News

Donkeys and Elephants

Bored of the UK election already? Then look west, where the starting pistol has been fired in the US election. Hannah Dunleavy’s here with the highlights so far.

Illustration by Louise Boulter

Illustration by Louise Boulter

If the US election is the world’s most expensive festival of flesh-pressing and mass seduction, the races for the Democratic and Republican nominations are the warm-up orgies.

Around a dozen of the country’s richest people take to the road in an attempt to persuade folks to give them the party ticket and their chance to be dead powerful. With predictably hilarious results.

A few hats had already been thrown into the Republican ring, but it was Hillary Clinton announcing her candidacy in the Democratic race this week that jump-started the world’s interest. So, let’s take a look at the field.

The Donkeys

Hillary Clinton’s announcement apparently needed to appeal to the ordinary man. Which is why it was made on her website rather than appearing on live TV with Catherine wheels on her tits.

No doubt about it, she’s the front runner. She’s got Barack Obama’s endorsement, whatever that counts for nowadays, plus she’s credible, experienced and rich. Which is important because Primary campaigns cost an arm and a leg. And are immediately followed by a Presidential campaign.

Clinton’s been a New York Senator and the Secretary of State. She’s also a former first lady. Some news outlets seem over-keen to keep telling us this last one. In case anyone is voting based on whether life might be better if they just went with someone who already knows how to work the White House shower.

Clinton’s considered such a dead cert the Republican candidates are opening their campaigns against her, as well as each other. (More on that fun later.)

It all sounds a bit familiar doesn’t it? I was in America towards the end of the last Democratic Primary, Obama v Clinton, and no one I spoke to held out any hope of her winning, despite her early strength. So, she can squander a lead like an English Wimbledon hopeful, is the salient point.

Her closest competition would apparently come from Vice President Joe Biden – remember him! – although he’s not yet announced his candidacy.


Hillary by Chatham House (CC BY 2.0, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), via Wikimedia Commons

Being the big name on the bill does come with its own problems. She’s already the target of the never-anything-other-than-completely-and-utterly-impartial right-wing media, which can now take a proper break from searching for Obama’s birth certificate and fictionalising Birmingham and get its teeth into a woman.

Clinton’s already had to weather all number of accusations (cracking US news website Mother Jones produced a full run-down here: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/06/hillary-clinton-conspiracy-theories)

Whether the media will successfully get to her through her family is both anybody’s guess and a tactic so Mafioso you wonder whether Plan B will involve threatening Bill’s nuts with some boltcroppers.

The Elephants

Don’t get me wrong, the Democratic race is no honour-bound duel, but it’s a damn sight more sedate than the complete shitshow that is the Republican race.

The first few weeks and months are filled with a group of people highly ill-suited to public service tackling the important issues such as whether masturbation should be criminalised, while painting pictures of dystopian hells that’d make you suspect they were stealing the plot of The Handmaids Tale – if you could believe they’d read it.

Senator Rand Paul, who’s making his Dad Ron Paul look more and more reasonable every day, is in. More news as it undoubtedly happens.

Also in is Senator Marco Rubio, who opposes gay marriage. Although he does at least acknowledge it currently exists, unlike climate change. The last of the official candies (so far) is Senator Ted Cruz, a pro-lifer who has threatened to filibuster any bill regarding gun control. I think these guys are going to be a lot of fun.

Wait. No Jeb Bush? Isn’t that what the world is crying out for? Another Bush in the White House? Jeb’s not stuck his head right above the parapet yet. Presumably because there’s a risk of it being shot off. And not just figuratively. He will undoubtedly join the list of names soon.

As might Scott Walker (no, not the singer, unfortunately), the Governor of Wisconsin, who defeated an effort to recall him in 2012. Everything I’ve read to date suggests he’ll be the Rick Santorum of this election, unless Rick Santorum decides he wants to be the Rick Santorum of this election. One can only hope. That prick will never stop being funny.

Chris Christie

NJ Governor Chris Christie by Bob Jagendorf from Manalapan, NJ, USA, via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0).

Also likely to announce is Chris Christie, the Class of 2015’s Rudolph Giuliani, in that it all started so well. Like Giuliani he was handed a catastrophe (Hurricane Sandy hitting New Jersey) and he dealt with it well. He appeared to be one of those pulling-your-trousers-up-while-walking politicians, like Ken Clarke. A man of the people. A straight talker with cross-party appeal.

And then, then there was Bridge-gate – members of his staff conspired to cause a huge traffic jam, without his knowledge, an inquiry found – and it all started to go a bit wrong.

Early reports suggest he’ll be running as the candidate who’ll say the things that no one else is saying, which, in a Republican nomination race, is a bold claim indeed. He’s also planning to “touch the third rail” of American politics. If you’re wondering if that’s a euphemism for shitting, it is. On social security.

Let the games begin.


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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.