Friday, February 19, 2016

Pre-South Carolina Primary Presidential Power Rankings

This political season has more storylines and dubious characters than the combined casts of Game of Thrones and The Wire and the FGR wants to get in on the action. Unfortunately, we're dealing with a serious dearth of political knowledge and experience but that's not stopping anyone else from chiming-in so, under the theory that opinions are like assholes (everybody's got one), here we go. 

To simplify this we're going to use the power rankings format with which the FGR is very comfortable after applying it loosely to everything from NFL teams to dads in movies. The ranking criteria is based on who is at the top of their political games right now and who is employing the Cleveland Browns model. It is not a ranking of who we want to be the next president or who we think should be the next president because we don't really want any of these people to be the next president nor do we think any of them should be the next president.* Along with millions of others, we are clinging to the hope that the last several months have just been an opening act and that the "real" candidates from each party have yet to reveal themselves. (We're waiting people. Seriously, this shit isn't funny anymore).   

To prepare for this, we've been watching as much of the debates as we can stomach and more of Fox News and MSNBC than we can stomach. We've read dozens of Facebook rants and learned more about our "friends" than we really wanted to know. And finally, we've spent a lot of time on Nate Silver's website tracking poll numbers and delegates to see how much of the candidates' crazy talk is actually going to translate into voting support. What we've come up with is a fairly useless, though hopefully entertaining, ranking of the candidates. If we did this right, then everybody who has already crawled into bed with one of these people should enjoy about 85% of this and hate the other 15%. (Appropriate coming from a career "B" student).** Let's begin. 

1. Donald Trump

The ironic thing about Donald Trump being the Republican front runner is that he’d gladly partner-up with a Muslim to build a chain of abortion clinics staffed exclusively by illegal aliens if he thought it would turn a profit. It appears that his supporters can be divided into two categories: (1) Those who want our next president to be a true political outsider as opposed to that artificial "outsider" crap that John McCain tried to sell us in the past and Ted Cruz is peddling this year; and (2) Those who are actually buying Trump's bullshit about religion, immigration, etc. The only time Donald Trump cares about the Bible is when he has to buy a thousand of them to stock a new hotel. He's #1 in the rankings because he's made all of that irrelevant. Deep down, his supporters don't really care what he believes in because they believe in him the most which is a really sad comment on the other candidates.    

2. Bernie Sanders

Bernie has convinced young people that socialism is a better option than their current prospects which isn't too difficult when indentured servitude is probably a better option than what most new college grads will be facing. At least under that 18th century plan, they wouldn't have to move back in with their parents with a $200K student loan albatross hanging around their necks. Look for him to start expanding his "Everything Should be Free" program to include benefits like free futons, free mini-fridges, free vape cartridges and free Taco Bell.   

3. John Kasich

It's going to be interesting to see how his newfound "why can't we all just get along approach?" will play with voters. At this point, it looks like his ceiling might be running mate. At least someone finally helped him to get his karate chopping under control. Unfortunately, that didn't happen before the writers at The Daily Show cast him as the fruit ninja candidate. If he starts moving closer to the center of the debate stage, the Donald is going to have a field day with that one.

4. Hillary Clinton

Her support among women and young voters is waning. She just lost the New Hampshire primary by 22 points to a 74 year old socialist Larry David impersonator. Oh yeah, she has the spectre of a Federal indictment hanging over her head. Despite all of that, she is projected to run away with the South Carolina primary and is still the favorite to be the Democratic nominee. Welcome to the 2016 presidential race. I hope you brought your tin foil hat.   

5. Ted Cruz

We've all been stuck in situations in life where we've had to deal with assholes like Ted. Maybe it was a shitty job, a long road trip or God forbid he was your college roommate. I'm pretty sure none of us has ever emerged from one of those nightmares thinking, "you know what . . . that guy would make a great president." We'll give Ted his day in the #5 spot because he's going to finish second in South Carolina before hopefully getting gonged off the stage on Super Tuesday.     

6. Marco Rubio

Marco appears to have recovered from having the wind knocked-out of him when Chris Christie went all Superfly Snooka in New Hampshire. During his back and forth with Cruz on immigration last Saturday night, he only looked a little like the kid trying to stand-up to the class bully while secretly praying for a teacher to walk-by. This would explain why he never directly attacks Trump who would stuff him in a gym locker while the teacher stood by and said, "oh Donald, you are a piece of work."  

If we could offer one piece of advice, it would be to avoid accusing a guy named "Cruz" of not being able to understand Spanish. Even if Ted wasn't fluent, don't you think he could have found someone who was? It raises some concern that Rubio might not be aware that, as president, he will have to interact with people who speak other languages and that they will have translators who speak both their language and English. It just means he'll have to be a little more discreet when talking behind their backs.      

7. Jeb Bush

Jeb Bush picked the wrong year to run as the "establishment candidate." He's only contending in one South Carolina poll and that's based on the question, "which candidate would you never vote for?" He's second behind Trump who he can't seem to beat at anything. He even threw his mother at him during the last debate and it came back and cracked him in the forehead like a boomerang ("she should run"). He probably could have influenced this race if he'd dropped out after New Hampshire and thrown his support behind Kasich but you get the feeling that if he made that call now, Kasich would say, "I think I'm good . . . maybe give Marco a call."   

8. Ben Carson

As the good doctor's campaign continues to fade into oblivion like the grain silos of ancient Egypt, you have to give him credit for making it this far despite having no debate skills, knowledge of foreign policy or understanding of the differences between the workings of the U.S. economy and his local church. Imagine how pissed he would be if he knew that some people were worshiping without greasing the collection plate. Remember, God and America only want people who have "skin in the game" and by "skin" he means cold hard cash. If you don't believe him, check the Bible. It's in there somewhere.     


* Apparently I'm not alone as a recent poll showed that 56% of likely voters would have a negative response to Donald Trump winning the nomination and 54% would have the same response to Hillary Clinton. This just in. Those are the same two people voters like the most.

** Come to think of it, that 85% is about the percentage of people who are not immediately offended or repelled within fifteen minutes of meeting me. The good news being that number is way-up from college when I was running closer to 50%. By comparison, Ted Cruz is currently at 18%.

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