How Star Trek's Jeri Ryan's Divorce Got Obama Elected
Joe Biden spent 36 years in the US Senate, plus eight years as vice president, before becoming POTUS. Some would say that anyone with a political career that long should be barred from holding office again and instead be forcibly confined to a retirement home, but this means that, no matter what anyone else says about Biden, no one accuses him of inexperience. In that, he's unique among all presidents from this century.
George W. Bush had been a politician less than five years when he announced his candidacy for president, having become governor of Texas in 1995. Donald Trump, of course, had no political experience at all. Barack Obama had just two years in national politics when he ran for president, as he'd joined the Senate in 2005, and unlike the other two, he had no pre-politics fame propelling him forward. So though the elections of 2000 and 2016 were weirder that 2008's, for many reasons, the rise of Obama was its own special kind of weird.
Many strange factors combined to send Obama to the White House. Such as, for example, Star Trek's Jeri Ryan complaining that her husband pressured her to have sex in public.
In 2004, you see, when Obama ran to become the senator from Illinois, his opponent was Jeri Ryan's ex-husband Jack. We don't know which of the two would have won because Jack dropped out, after the Tribune shared a document Jeri had filed during the pair's divorce.
Jack had taken Jeri to sex clubs in New Orleans, New York, and Paris, Jeri said in the doc. "One club I refused to go in," she said. "It had mattresses in cubicles. The other club he insisted I go to ... It was a bizarre club with cages, whips and other apparatus hanging from the ceiling. Respondent wanted me to have sex with him there, with another couple watching. I refused. Respondent asked me to perform a sexual activity upon him, and he specifically asked other people to watch."
They left, he apologized, and he said he wouldn't try that again. Then, said Jeri, they went to Paris, where he did try this again, taking her to a club where "people were having sex everywhere." She cried, which he said was not a turn-on.
Even with that imagery now public, a fair number of people took Jack's side in all this, criticizing the media for making a case out of it. Both Jack and Jeri had asked that the filing be kept private, to protect their children from seeing it, but the reporters had obtained it and released it anyway. It's debatable how much useful information this offered voters—Jack had not, say, been accused of a sex crime, like some politicians. And that's even assuming the filing was accurate, since when couples divorce, it's normal for each party to exaggerate the other's offenses.
Still, the disgraced Jack withdrew from the race. The Republican party replaced him with Alan Keyes, who had previously run for president but who wasn't even from Illinois. The Obama campaign spent over five times as much as the Keyes campaign and easily won, and next stop was the presidency.
So, you might say Jeri Ryan is responsible for Obama becoming president. This despite her not voting for him in either his senate or presidential elections, only registering to vote in 2016.
Of course, thanks to the butterfly effect, Obama becoming president also caused everything that happened after he was president. So thanks, Obama. And thanks, Jeri.