It's been roughly two weeks since we checked in with the comings and goings of the 2016 presidential election. Seems like a thing we should keep up with -- especially seeing as how we could be bordering on electing a Nazi, depending on who you ask. Actually, no matter what side of the fence you're on, you probably think we're on the verge of electing a Nazi. That's precisely how politics works these days.
So all the more reason to pay attention, right? In the name of keeping our eyes on all the moving parts of this probably disastrous moment in American history, we divided the work among our various staff and contributors, inviting (forcing) them to participate in our first (we'll never do this again) presidential election fantasy league. You'll hear more from some of them in a bit. But first, some thoughts on a few of the candidates who barely did enough in the past two weeks to warrant mentioning -- which, at this stage of the process, is probably for the best anyway.
5Candidate Reactions To Mass Shootings (Were Exactly What You'd Expect)
Mass shootings are becomingly frustratingly common these days, to put it as mildly as possible. In fact, we've seen enough tragedy in recent years that you could comfortably bet your rent money on how the reactions from people we expect to react to these kind of things will unfold. That's especially true on social media. Republicans, naturally, take the "thoughts and prayers" route:
It's gotta work sometime!
That's the kind of reaction that would normally go wholly unnoticed by anyone at all, because not only is it what Republicans almost always do initially, but it's also what almost everyone does initially. Except now all of those "thoughts and prayers" posts have become the pumpkin spice of tragedy reactions, in that it's suddenly a thing some segment of society has just taken to getting irrationally angry about.
That's actually great if you're a Republican hoping to convince your base of religious voters that their beliefs are being attacked. They just give it a fancy name like "prayer shaming," and just like that, all those angry posts from the anti-"thoughts and prayers" crowd become "proof" that religious types have been right to worry all along. Good times!
Reactions from the Democrats were also mostly what you'd expect. When your stance on guns is "There should be fewer guns," just saying that in response to a situation of this nature makes perfect sense.
We still get to keep them in movies, right?
There are some on the other side who might argue that this amounts to exploiting a tragedy for political purposes. Even if that's true, it's a thing that happens on both sides. It's just that, thanks to their dedication to protecting the Second Amendment, Republicans have to find more creative ways to convert grief and anger over gun violence into something they can use to rile up their base.
Take Carly Fiorina, for example. She took to Fox News to call out those who would dare link the Planned Parenthood shooting in Colorado with anti-abortion rhetoric -- a stance made all the more strange when she referred to the shooter as a "protester" a few moments later.
Surprisingly enough, hers wasn't the most shocking response from the Republican side (more on that later). Which means that her antics had no bearing on the fantasy league scoring this week. Oh, and since we're talking about people who have no impact on anything ...
4Martin O'Malley Wants To Be Your Favorite Loser
Reminder: There are still technically three Democrats in the race: Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and that third guy. His name is Martin O'Malley, and he did something unprecedented this week.
Call out the NRA by name?
For lack of a better term, he asked to be his party's second-favorite choice.
Alex Wong/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Making this stock photo so much more poignant.
That's not to say that he asked to be vice president; it's more that he's accepted that he has no shot at getting the nomination, and just doesn't want to be forgotten. That's a bad sign, but for fantasy scoring purposes, it has zero impact, seeing as how it's a thing that literally never happens and therefore wasn't taken into account when we were figuring out how to run this thing.
Still, a bad sign is a bad sign, and that means it's worth talking about. To that end, we asked Dan O'Brien, the Cracked figurehead who's been saddled with the responsibility of covering every move of the O'Malley campaign until its inevitable flame-out, to say a few words about his candidate. Here goes:
I was given specific instructions to eulogize or "say goodbye" to Martin O'Malley. But the last time I checked, MOM isn't going anywhere, Baby! Check your ears or eyes or whatever holes you use to consume news. O'Malley didn't say "I'm out"; he said "I hope I can be your second choice." O'Malley -- a candidate with whom I fully disagree on a number of issues, and whom I only chose because he reminds me of Carcetti from The Wire -- has decided to join the illustrious ranks of the second choices and also-rans who litter America's political history. Not everyone can be Washington or Adams or Jefferson. Some of us need to be Henry Clay. Was that not an accessible reference? Fine, he's the Deep Impact to Hillary's Armageddon. The Go-Bots to her Transformers. Congratulations, Martin O'Malley. You're fucking Hydrox.
That might have sounded rude and dismissive, but I actually respect O'Malley's moves. He's aiming for second place. You know what else used to be everyone's second choice? A little magazine from the '50s called Cracked.
Cracked Magazine: When the Internet was made of paper.
Known as "The Poor Man's Mad Magazine" at the time, Cracked's entire business model revolved around convenience stores selling out of copies of Mad, thereby forcing young irreverent comedy fans to settle for Cracked. And as I've told literally anyone who has ever considered dating me, there is nothing wrong with (and in fact, there's a certain nobility in) settling.
You might think that this strategy lacked ambition, but look at Cracked now. We're one of the biggest comedy websites on the planet, and we've been steadily growing every year for the last eight. Our staff and alumnae write books, movies, and TV shows. Meanwhile, Mad Magazine has, oh boy, almost 20,000 fewer Twitter followers than me.
That's a bummer.
Anyway, Martin O'Malley -- that handsome, eagle-faced inevitable loser. Let's get back to him. To be clear, I don't think O'Malley is going to be president, or even the nominee. Not by a long shot. I just respect that he saw the value in Cracked's strategy enough to blatantly copy it. If he plays his cards right, he can reach a level of success that mirrors Cracked's. He's still the Poor Man's Dream Candidate right now, but if he just keeps his head down and sticks around on the fringes of political consciousness for a while, it stands to reason that he (or whatever digital form he ends up occupying) will be our president. In, like, 2066 or so.