My 2016 Presidential Candidate Play Dates

January Play Date with Hillary Clinton

Told Hillary to come over dressed for an epic snowball fight. She arrived in a $12,000 Armani suit and wouldn’t stop talking about the unacceptably soaring cost of hot chocolate. I told her to chill out. People have trouble relating to folks who wear $12,000 suits. She said that wearing a $12,000 suit made her part of an exclusive group, a minority, she added, which helped her to relate to actual minorities. In retrospect, I realize that the world around us had been covered in white and that I should have known that some snow won’t melt until we make it.

February Play Date with Donald Trump

He was supposed to come over so we could drink and boast about how many girls we had conned into thinking they were our Valentine, but instead we spent the night boxing, he liked that the gloves made his hands feel bigger, and arguing about who had more chest hair. I had more chest hair, but he said that he knew how to keep terrorists out of the country, so the chest hair didn’t matter. After I put my shirt back on, he accused me of somehow knowing ahead of time that we were going to have a chest hair competition.

March with Hillary

We met up at the starting line for her annual 5k. Instead of running, she paid Debbie Wasserman Shultz to carry her on her shoulders to the finish line. When I asked Hillary which charity all the donations were going to, she said she’d check her email and get back to me. I asked her why she always had to do that. Do what? she asked. Lie about checking your email, I said. I knew she would never get back to me about where the money was going. Then she laughed and said not to worry. No true American would find any possible way to paint a woman in a negative light so she couldn’t break through a glass ceiling.

If only Hillary could have embraced that the only true Americans had been the Native Americans who had been slaughtered hundreds of years ago by the ancestors of people who now hid those crimes within their victims’ very identities. True Americans had died so that all other Americans might pretend that the world was okay and that we were something to be proud of and that we seem to always seek the next group to blame, hold back, and eventually we run away from all that history like cowards who claim to own stars that we’ve never lived up to.

April with The Donald

We spent the morning plotting an epic April Fools Day joke on President Obama. Our eventual Instagram post got so much media attention. So much. The post was huge. Unfortunately, I did such a great Photoshop job that Donald thought the birth certificate was real. I tried to convince him it wasn’t, but he said that he had gotten the certificate via an anonymous source. The certificate proved that Obama had been born beyond American borders. I reminded Donald that no, I had made the birth certificate in Photoshop. In the most demeaning, sarcastic voice, he replied, Yeah, sure you did, and this year we’ll choose a fat woman to be Miss America.

May with Hillary

Went to the Cincinnati Zoo because apparently Hillary is big on snakes. She says they just get her. Anyway, we had to leave early because apparently some gorilla hacked into her email account and would have released her deepest, darkest secrets if her undercover operatives hadn’t been able to distract the great ape by dropping an unsuspecting toddler into the cage.

I asked Hillary if she felt bad about the gorilla getting shot. She said sure, of course, what a tragedy, but could we please stop talking about it? She wasn’t running for the presidency of the Planet of the Apes. I shrugged, thought maybe she didn’t cope well with death, but I’ve never shaken the feeling that she did not rightly see the world she was trying to rule. Beyond our cities live the rural folk, who right now are broken folk, who right now are angry, large in number, and sick of politicians quick to toss the helpless in with the gorilla, so to speak. Never forget that the rural lands speak loud when you try to rule them all.

June with The Donald

Birthday month! We partied every night. Unfortunately, Donald invited this weird guy named Mike to come out with us a few nights. One evening, I asked Mike for a condom, it was an emergency, and he looked at me as if I was the first person to ever ask him to seriously consider the plausibility of evolution. Donald told me to calm down. Mike here doesn’t believe in abortion. I asked Donald what that had to do with me using a rubber, to which Donald replied with a rant about how maybe a better idea than his wall would be engulfing Mexico inside a giant condom. I would have left after that comment, but then Donald’s daughter, Ivanka, showed up drunker than a first semester freshman, and I just knew that I couldn’t leave her alone with Donald and Mike and zero adult supervision.

July with Hillary

She had to cancel on me. Apparently she had forgotten about a big event in Philadelphia that she’d been planning on attending since she was three. I texted her we could reschedule and she replied with, ‘Trust me, you’re in good hands. If there’s one thing the Clintons know how to do it’s cheat and get away with it,’ followed minutes later by the message, ‘Sorry. Awkward. That was meant for my buddy Tim.’ Tim turned out to be just another white guy who believed in God. He was not, as they say in Honduras, muy bien.

August with The Donald

We did cocaine. Like a lot of cocaine. But before the cocaine he told me that he wasn’t racist and he wasn’t misogynistic, xenophobic, or orange. He said, however, that lots of other white people were, and enough minority folks were too, so he just needed to act like he was racist, misogynistic, et al. every now and then because that’s how you reached America’s key voting demographic: Homophobic rural white women and their fascist husbands. That’s when we did the cocaine: To cope with being prejudiced. And let me tell you this about racism, that racism is just like cocaine: you wouldn’t have it if you couldn’t make it yourself, buy it, sell it, thrive off the ways it ruins you while you’re too high to notice.

September with Hillary

Took Hillary to see a game at Wrigley. She brought jerseys for both teams. ‘Just in case,’ she said, ‘the team I’m wearing isn’t tied or in the lead.’ I told her that the point of sports wasn’t to always root for the winning side. Sometimes you have to stand by the losers, the underdogs, the Cinderella stories waiting to happen. But Hillary said that didn’t poll well. She couldn’t sleep at night if she wasn’t polling well. That was the night the Cubs clinched the playoffs.

October with The Donald

Invited Donald over to play with my cat, but I had to force him to leave after he grabbed her with an unnecessary sense of entitlement. Later, I called him. Asked him why he had done that. He replied, I wanted to so I did it. That’s when I told him we were through. I was voting for Hillary. He said good riddance. He didn’t need me. Enough Americans wanted to overthrow the political machine that he didn’t need my support.

But if your washing machine breaks you don’t call the local carpenter. Every break requires the proper hands. And that’s when I realized he didn’t want to fix anything. He wanted to throw the washing machine out and build his own machine. Might not even resemble a washing machine. And that terrified me. Because that – change – was the camouflage his false hope required.

November with Hillary

Shot my girl an email saying I was so sorry for her loss. Received an auto reply stating that her account had been deleted. She could now be reached exclusively via pager. Meanwhile, white women across the country wept, although not as many as you would like, Muslims locked themselves in their homes, although oppression had turned those homes into hideouts, and others prayed that the election had just been one long reality show. And it turned out that it had been. But now it was getting renewed for four more seasons: winter, spring, summer, fall, have we granted enough time to resurrect the Berlin Wall?

December Play Date with Bernie Sanders

I told Bernie I was sorry for calling his little birdie stupid all those months ago, and he said that he still wasn’t sorry for trying to erase my college debt. We hugged. We went skateboarding at the park. We agreed that Hillary and Donald were stupid buttmunchers and that we wouldn’t choose friends so stupidly ever again.

But that is to make light of the situation. What remains serious is not a play date, but a date with destiny. America: Country born of blood, sustained by slaves, fueled by what kills our planet. Say what you want about Donald. Pine all you want for Hillary. We live in no Jerusalem, but might we act as a messiah?

The Sense of the Third Party Vote

Of all the people who could have written an article about young people needing to vote for Clinton that does not at all appeal to young people, leave it to a man named Mr. Blow. That’s a low blow, of course, but no one is going to win the votes of the young by telling them to grow up.

Young voters are not in middle school. They’re eighteen and older and can go and die for your country if they so choose. So don’t write to them like they’re anything less than powerful enough to hold your life in their hands.

As for how to actually convince young people both to not vote for Mr. Trump and not vote for a third party, here’s a better way to do it.

To start, in voting for a third party, young people are not de facto voting for Trump. They’re also not de facto voting for Clinton, since you better believe that plenty of disgruntled Republicans are eyeing third party candidates too.

In fact, voting third party is not de facto voting for Trump or Hillary. It is every eligible American’s right to vote for Hillary, Trump, Jill Stein, Gary Johnson, or whomever they wish to write in on the ballot. I understand the argument of how either not voting or voting third party equates to voting for either Trump or Hillary, depending on your initial side of the fence, but the reality is that voting third party equates to voting for neither of them. The perspective of seeing third party votes as votes for the opposite party feels like both Republicans and Democrats reaching for a scapegoat for when their candidate loses.

Young people are anything but scapegoats. They’re incredulous that so many Americans are willing to vote for a bigoted demagogue like Trump or a deceitful flip-flopper like Clinton. Rather than being scapegoats, young people are the dreamers who envision a day when a third, fourth, or maybe even a fifth party candidate can win the presidency.

That dream derives from the young being sick of old politics. Money scandals here. Sex scandals there. Oh, was that another riot over a police killing? Ferguson, Charlotte, and all the others will calm down. America’s blights will vanish as if by magic.

But they won’t and young people are tired of the lack of progress. So tired of it that they’re searching, yearning for answers that neither major party candidate offers.

Clinton and Trump are both old politics. Clinton is big money, a political climber, and shady in ways that make it hard to trust her integrity. Trump is racist, selfish, and arrogant in ways unbecoming even for the leader of a Cub Scout troop.

Yet they’re the types of politicians who older Americans are used to and young people are disgusted still exist. That’s the essential divide you’re reckoning with when you confront young voters. Older voters can put up with Clinton and Trump. They’re used to Clinton and Trump. They’ve had Clinton and Trump as their president all their lives. Young people don’t want to settle for that.

But Americans are going to have to settle, right? We’re stuck choosing between the lesser version of the past’s despicable politics or the worse version, with the worse version viewing nuclear bombs the way middle schoolers view water balloons.

Somehow, older Americans think Clinton or Trump is an easy choice. They think young people are dumb for even thinking of voting for a third party. Well, you know what? Young people are not dumb. And most of them don’t want either Clinton or Trump to win. Young people are confused. They’re confused that their mothers and fathers, uncles and aunts, grandparents and other admired elders can so easily believe that Hillary and Trump are easy to vote for, even if only because the other is so terrible to vote for.

Don’t you realize that both of their campaigns rely on the logic of them being the lesser of two evils? Two severely negative campaigns as opposed to more positive campaigns that Americans deserve. This election is not about voting for Hillary or Trump. It’s about voting against Hillary and Trump, which every single person who votes third party will do.

Yet the reality remains that unless America somehow rallies behind a third party candidate, making either Jill Stein or Gary Johnson a viable option in this election (Bernie?), no third party candidate will win. That means either Trump or Hillary will earn the Oval Office, and probably Trump if enough young people stick to their good morals and vote third party.

And you know what? Good for them. How can you fall asleep at night being someone who preaches that people can’t actually vote for who they want because who they want is not an actual choice? Don’t you see how broken that makes our voting system? Don’t you see that makes you a supporter of that broken system? Voting third party, at its core, is a plea for America to fix that broken system.

Fixing that broken system cannot be the only motive for voting third party, though. The other motive takes root in Trump. If the masses voting third party results in a Trump presidency, which I am viewing as the worse of the two options for the many good reasons detailed in Mr. Blow’s original article, then some good must come out of a Trump presidency that is better than whatever reality a Hillary presidency would bring.

There are over 50 judges seats at stake. Issues of income inequality and police brutality come to mind. How will America deal with the issues of Syria, Israel, and countless other foreign affairs? The trump card lies in the actual issues: While Hillary Clinton may not move America forward in those and other areas as well or as quickly as young Americans would like, she will not move us backward. Trump will move us backward. Either Jill Stein or Gary Johnson might do the best job of all, but we’re less than two months away from the election. Neither of them will win.

That’s because America remains a two party system. Unfortunately, those two parties gave us a couple of undesirable choices. But the way to earn the votes of young people is not by telling them to vote for Hillary or Trump because they are the lesser of two evils. Two wrongs do not make a right. The way to the young vote is to admit to the young, because they’re old enough and mature enough to understand, that while Jill Stein and Gary Johnson belong to nontraditional political parties, America is a two party system and will remain a two party system until passionate people learn to protest in the ways that provoke needed change far, far before an election.

So vote for Hillary not because you’re childish, dumb, or self-immolating, but because America’s political system is rigged, broken, and completely unfair and you’d rather demonstrate progress by electing the first female president than step back by handing your country over to a racist.