As politicians are pulling out all the stops, and spending more money on campaigns than ever, I am wrestling with a number of questions:
• Which strategy garners the most votes?
• Which issues stir Americans to the polls?
• And, should a candidate be allowed to use a sock puppet?
If that last question hadn’t occurred to you, then you clearly weren’t paying close attention to one of yesterday’s most-hotly-contested races. I am, of course, referring to my 9-year-old nephew’s second in a series of ill-fated attempts to be elected treasurer of his elementary school.
Although he received only 11 votes, the poor kid actually did amazingly well from a historical perspective. Last year, his vote total was in the single digits. Specifically, three. The breakdown was as follows: one vote for himself; one vote from his best friend, Chris; and one vote from Lucy, a little girl who is largely unaware of my nephew’s existence, but who has a high degree of respect for or a major crush on Chris.
As is often the case in politics, hopes were high at the beginning of the campaign season (last Monday), which comes exactly five days before the end of the campaign season (last Friday). In fact, early indications were that my nephew had already secured at least four votes. (Although the support of Justin, who is frequently described as “a big liar,” was highly questionable.)
Midway through the campaign, which would be Wednesday, things started to fall apart. First, Michelle, who sits behind my nephew in class, intimated that his approval ratings were, perhaps, slipping slightly. I believe her exact words were, “No one’s going to vote for you.”
In political circles, this time-honored tactic is commonly referred to as “saying stuff that will make the candidate cry right before recess.”
The next setback had to do with campaign posters. In elementary-school elections, posters serve much the same purpose as paid political advertisements do in state and national elections. Of course, the kids don’t have access to professional campaign strategists so, quite often, their posters actually make sense.
Each candidate is allowed to make two posters. Generally, this involves a four-step process:
• Step 1: Child spends many hours creating posters.
• Step 2: Child ties posters to schoolyard fence.
• Step 3: Child instantly becomes familiar with the phrase “wind chill factor.”
• Step 4: Child watches posters blow in the general direction of town.
So, by Friday, the last day of formal campaigning, my nephew was posterless, and filled with the confidence that comes from knowing, based on all reasonable standards of measurement, you are 100 percent unelectable. Fortunately for my nephew, this is the ideal frame of mind if one is going to top off his campaign with a memorable speech highlighted by, among other things, accidentally spitting out your retainer.
On the first day of campaigning, each candidate is required to give a one-minute presentation. In my nephew’s case, this was precisely the amount of time he needed to stand before the entire student population to: mumble his name, stare intently at his shoelaces for approximately 45 seconds, form one complete unintelligible sentence, and spew dental hardware onto the podium.
On the bright side, it wouldn’t have made any difference even if the kid had embraced a totally different speechmaking strategy, such as opting to use one or more words from the English language. That’s because—and seasoned politicians will tell you that next to losing the ability to outright lie, this is the biggest fear—my nephew was followed by a candidate with a sock puppet.
The minute this youngster took to the stage, and introduced his puppet, “The Bieber,” the election was clearly over.
“The Bieber” swished his muppet hairs.
“The Bieber” sang songs.
“The Bieber” said absolutely nothing about why the child whose hand was stuffed inside him might possibly be qualified to serve as school treasurer.
“The Bieber” has a very promising political future.
Tsk. Like auntie, like nephew, I guess. I once lost an election to a drag queen channeling Patti LuPone in Sunset Boulevard.
Well, consider the source here.
It’s all politics.
Bye for now.