The lower the presidential debate goes, the better for our democracy | HumorOutcasts

The lower the presidential debate goes, the better for our democracy

October 19, 2016

Many recent editorials have bemoaned the depths to which the presidential election has sunk. This reaction is wrongheaded. Normally, I pay little attention to politics. This election, I check the latest campaign news on my phone seven times a day. And I always learn something.

From the Democratic candidate, I learn about a depressed beauty queen who suffers from bulimia. From the other candidate, I learn the Republican position: the beauty queen is not depressed, she is “disgusting,” a claim voters can corroborate by watching a sex tape. These are civic lessons that average citizens cannot and should not ignore, even if they want to.

Our Founding Father, Thomas Jefferson said: “A properly functioning democracy depends on an informed electorate.” Jefferson also fathered many illegitimate children, so I think he would agree with me: For the sake of our democracy, the presidential campaign should go a lot lower.

The more disgusting, salacious and outrageous video that goes viral, the more voters will binge watch election coverage and the stronger our democracy will be.

In this, the media should be playing a stronger role. I call on cable news channels to produce grainy black and white video footage, like the kind used in documentaries with the words “Reenactment of Actual Events.”

A news story about sexual assault accusations could then be fleshed out with footage of Alec Baldwin in Trump-makeup groping an attractive actress in a Manhattan nightclub.

And a story about the Clinton’s marriage problems could be illustrated with “hidden camera” footage of Bill and Hillary in a counseling session: Hillary screams at Bill for what he put her through. Bill stares at the floor. The therapist asks: “Mr. President, how does what Hillary just said make you feel?”

Voter involvement could also be bolstered with more entertaining, family-style programming. TV executives should explores shows like: A child beauty pageant between Clinton and Trump’s grandkids. Grandpa Donald and Grandma Hillary sabotage the other kid’s ballet performance and BMX bike stunts.

Or: A competitive cooking show called “Daddy Day Dinner.” Young adults who were raised by attractive single moms form teams to cook Bill Clinton and Donald Trump’s favorite dishes. Just before the meals go in the oven, DNA tests reveal who are Bill’s illegitimate kids and who are Donald’s.

These programs would be rendered more effective if producers work in a love triangle between a dwarf, a stripper and a incest survivor—especially if they scream at each other and pull hair.

But the biggest potential for boosting voter involvement is during the next presidential debate. Therefore, I suggest that, instead of just looming behind Clinton during the debate, Trump take a swing at her with his chair. This will cause Clinton’s Secret Service detail to pile onto Trump. Which will force Trump’s Secret Service detail to pour out of the dugout for a debate stage brawl.

Of course, I don’t want anybody to get hurt. This is why urgent bipartisan cooperation is needed to stage this event–in particular costumes for the Secret Service agents. I suggest yellow spandex body socks to match Clinton’s pantsuit and, for Team Donald, do-rags and studded leather vests.

We’ve seen little bipartisan cooperation this election cycle. But I call on the parties to make the effort, if just to hear the debate crowd cheer as Secret Service agents piledriver one another. For this, America, will be the sound of an engaged electorate.

Jourdan Arenson

I now write humorous essays about science and the environment for my local paper and High Country News. But for most of my writing career, I've written dull unfunny stuff. My first writing gig was drafting grant proposals for development projects in Northeast Thailand. My Thai colleague would say: "Build dam, then rice growing many up." I would type: "Dam construction will increase agricultural output." During the Asian economic boom of the 1990s I did business reporting and public relations writing. After the Asian economic bust, I got a job as a technical writer for an IT department of a large bank in California. At first, I wrote guides that told users how to use computer systems. I then got a promotion and wrote specifications that told programmers how to build computer systems. It was all dull and unfunny stuff but--unlike public relations--at least I got to tell the truth. After twenty years of this, my two kids were grown up and out of the house. So I quit my job and started writing essays for zero pay. I live in Eugene, Oregon with my wife of 26 years, who is from Amagasaki, Japan. We used to keep chickens but they stopped laying and we had to get rid of them, which is harder than you'd think.

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2 Responses to The lower the presidential debate goes, the better for our democracy

  1. October 20, 2016 at 10:00 pm

    Putin in a mud wrestling sequence?

  2. Bill Spencer
    October 20, 2016 at 11:11 am

    Hi, Jourdan.

    (Jourdan, when you go low, I go, “Hi.”)

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