The 1980s contributed so many dismissive catchphrases to our shared vocabulary: “get a life,” “don’t have a cow,” “peace through strength.” These were insurmountable arguments against anything someone else cared about. I remember when my cat died in seventh grade, and I was sad at school, and my classmate told me to get a life. What a burn! In that moment, my central concerns were unimportant—not merely misplaced but nonexistent, failing to even constitute a life. Yet for all his lordly dearth of empathy, the person who says “get a life” remains a third party to whatever problem he dismisses. The real boss move is to dismiss misery you yourself have caused. To that end, no catchphrase beats “so sue me.” It reduces your relation with your interlocutor to the law and whatever money they can extract from you. Today is Friday, and we owe one another no more consideration than that. Why don’t you do something about it with me?
As regular readers of this blog know, I really like the New York Times. I think it’s by far the best newspaper in the country, and I am thrilled to write for them whenever they hire me. But that doesn’t mean the Times is perfect. Last week, news editors came under fire for substantially altering a story about Sanders’s legislative record after it was published online—changing its headline, in the process, from “Bernie Sanders Scored Victories for Years via Legislative Side Doors” to “Via Legislative Side Doors, Bernie Sanders Won Modest Victories.” Today, the Times seems to have reframed another Sanders victory in its analysis of last night’s Democratic primaries. Hillary Clinton won in Arizona, while Sanders won in Idaho and Utah, giving him 67 delegates to her 51. But Jonathan Martin’s analysis does not report delegate totals and strongly implies that Clinton won.
History will be made today, and I’m not just talking about this blog’s most obscure Lebowski reference. I’m talking about Super Tuesday—the finest Tuesday in the land, after Taco Tuesday, when 11 states hold their primaries and determine who is a viable candidate and who is Ben Carson. This year’s Super Tuesday is especially exciting. On one side of the aisle, the Democratic Party is poised to nominate either the first woman or the first socialist Jew. Which will it be? The woman, because she hasn’t threatened to disrupt the richest industry in America. But maybe something surprising will happen, and the socialist Jew will catch up.
The Republican nominating contest is even more thrilling. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are locked in a game of chicken, but it’s the kind of chicken where you both drive toward a cliff. Ben Carson is locked in a refrigerator at the dump. And Donald Trump, the billionaire reality TV star who announced his candidacy by calling America’s largest immigrant population “drug dealers and rapists” at a mall, is poised to destroy the Republican Party. Unless my dad finds a genie and causes John Kasich to win all eleven states, today is probably the day Trump clinches the nomination. Our outcomes from there are soft fascism, woman president and/or third party.
Today is a watershed no matter what happens. We’ve talked a lot about politics this year, and I keep making secret plans to knock it off after this election is over. You’ll notice, if you look at the most popular posts widget to your left, that none of them is about politics. But god dammit, this is the weirdest election of my lifetime. It’s way weirder than 2012. Whatever happens today, tomorrow is going to look a lot like history.
Update: The AP has called the Iowa caucuses for Hillary.
At 9:34 this morning, the Associated Press warned us all not to call the Iowa Democratic Caucuses just yet. Although the Clinton campaign declared victory last night, the tally currently stands at 49.9% Clinton, 49.6% Sanders, and 0.6% Martin O’Malley. O’Malley withdrew from the race, and what the Iowa Democratic Party does with his delegates could change the winner. So, too, could the missing results from 90 precincts. But probably Hillary won what Bernie Sanders has called “a virtual tie.” She said she did, and the normally sensible New York Times agrees. Nate Cohn has declared that the deadlock was “better for Clinton than Sanders.” Obviously, it’s a huge victory for the once-presumptive nominee to finish in a dead heat with a self-professed socialist who pundits agreed was unelectable. In other news, Iowa Republicans decided they would rather swallow a scorpion than a snake.
Wouldn’t it be great if the American people rose up? I’m talking about a popular revolution. I’m talking about a government, an economy, and a society run by regular folks for regular folks—a moment, a movement if you will, to throw off the yokes of political corruption and corporate greed and bring popular values to Washington. Of course I mean such popular values as thrift and hard work, not so much xenophobia or contempt for education. And I’m not saying I want populism in culture, either. Obviously I don’t want to see centuries of tradition reduced to The Big Bang Theory. Today is Friday, and I want a popular revolution without the racism, cultural repression, stupidity, or war of vengeance in the Middle East. Won’t you try to cram the genie back in the bottle with me?