Editorial: The spectacle of the 2016 election just got more spectacular
Surely we have entered some parallel reality — like Bizarro World in the Superman comic books — where reason has been replaced by knee-jerk emotional reactions and sanity has been replaced by self-delusion.
We've been walking on the edge of falling into absurdity ever since Donald Trump announced he was running for president and with his poll numbers on the rise, the whole nation has been teetering on the brink. But after Tuesday, when the former governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin, endorsed Trump, we wonder if we will ever climb our way out of this bottomless well of irrationality and buffoonery.
It's just so ... so ... ridiculous that we find ourselves turning to satirists for a gut check and a reassurance that surely we have not shaken off this mortal coil and entered into our American-specific hell.
"An endorsement from former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is expected to widen Donald J. Trump's already impressive lead among so-called 'idiot voters,' an aide to the billionaire said on Tuesday," wrote the New Yorker's Andy Borowitz. "That's why Palin supporting Trump and not Cruz is such a win for us," the Trump aide said. "She's been out of politics for awhile, but she still has idiot cred."
Yes, this is the same Sarah Palin who John McCain selected as his vice presidential candidate in 2008 and who quit the office of Alaska's governor by saying, "We're not retreating; we are advancing in another direction." Palin attributed that quote to Gen. Douglas MacArthur, but it was actually said by Maj. Gen. Oliver Prince Smith.
"Are you ready for the leader to make America great again?" Palin said on Tuesday with Mr. Trump by her side at a rally at Iowa State University. "He's been going rogue left and right. That's why he's doing so well. He's been able to tear the veil off this idea of the system."
Now there are rumors that Trump might choose Palin as his running mate. That's not too surprising, notes Alan Rappeport and Maggie Haberman for the New York Times. "Mrs. Palin could amplify the news media-circus aspects of Mr. Trump's candidacy: She too is a reality television star accustomed to playing to the cameras and often accused of emphasizing flash over substance."
And as Ralph Reed, the chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, told the New York Times, "Palin's embrace of Trump may turn the fight over the evangelical vote into a war for the soul of the party."
That attack on the Republican mainstream was evident in Palin's endorsement speech, during which she said about the GOP, "They stomp on our neck, and then they tell us, 'Just chill, O.K., just relax.' Well, look, we are mad, and we've been had. They need to get used to it."
Among the other gems Palin dropped was, "He's got the guts to wear the issues that need to be spoken about and debate on his sleeve, where the rest of some of these establishment candidates, they just wanted to duck and hide. They didn't want to talk about these issues until he brought 'em up. In fact, they've been wearing a, this, political correctness kind of like a suicide vest."
Some pundits wondered if Palin might have had a drink or two before she took the stage to endorse Trump, but most of us know her incoherence comes naturally and is not abetted by any external substances.
As Wonkette's Kaili Joy Gray wrote, "We aren't surprised that Sarah Palin gobbled up all the glory of standing in the spotlight again, imagining she is still Moose Queen USA. That's our Sarah. But we are surprised that Donald Trump and his ego stood there silently for a full 20 minutes without rolling his eyes, telling her to shut her stupid 'persona,' or calling in his security to drag the screaming crazy lady away so she could sleep it off somewhere and give him back his mic and his spotlight. That, truly, was a sight to behold."
While this clown show is not good for American politics and for debating actual policy differences between the candidates, it surely is a good spectacle, the kind of which we are used to after years of celebrity sideshows, self-important airheads on reality shows and flash-in-pan stars aided by social media. Perhaps, though, a Trump/Palin ticket is what America deserves, a reward for our superficial understanding of global issues and our willingness to drop bombs on problems of our own creation.
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