I'm embarrassed to say that I miss sprawling out with a jug of wine in my lap, ready to catch the latest sh*tshow from the overcrowded clown car of the GOP primaries. This was when the all-star lineup of bananas presidential hopefuls was deep enough to fill not one but two debates. It was time when everyone was itching to predict what Donald Trump might say next. We were also getting a character study of all the other folks hoping to clinch the nomination — from poor Jeb(!) Bush, who really tried his best, Marco Rubio before he failed to read the terms and conditions of his last software upgrade, and my truest dildo-hating nemesis, Ted Cruz. (We sort of have a "neither can live while the other survives" Harry Potter / Voldemort situation.)
The thing is, while it was going on, I couldn't wait for the non-Trump's to leave. The kind of moral, feminist, non-garbage-person outrage I was feeling whenever they opened their mouths wasn't something I wanted to be feeling. But all the same, the more of them there were, the more ridiculous, awkward, and incoherent they seemed — and the less concerned I was for the results come November. The more I shrugged off the biting concern bordering on nausea in favor of rubber-necking the, yes, thoroughly entertaining sideshow, the more I thought to myself, "We'll be fine."
And they did begin to drop off. We had the obvious dropouts — Rand Paul, Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, etc. — which were inevitable as they were entertaining. Then we had the less obvious ones (like Bush, Rubio, and Cruz), which started to make me real nervous. The debates became less of an exercise in who could outdo one another with the most fearmongering buzzwords or who had the most working-class, apple-pie-eating American backstory, and more of a neon warning sign shouting "Turn back now!"
It's hard not to miss when it all felt less real, you know? Hearing Carson talk about his tithing-inspired tax plan or the pyramids being used as grain silos. Watching Carly Fiorina eat dog biscuits in a major display of pandering. Using the video of Cruz's performance in The Crucible to react to everything (granted, I still do that). Bush, defeated, calling on the crowd to "Please clap" (TBH, he should've invested in an "applause" sign). These were moments that felt ready-made for Twitter. With such a wide range of candidates to choose from, it never felt like any of them could realistically make it to the top of the heap and still be in fighting shape to take on Clinton or Sanders.
But suddenly Trump's candidacy is all too real. His antics have managed to secure him a shot at ruling the country. Part of me even wonders whether that feeling — the desire to be entertained, to distract from the less sexy feelings of fear and rage — didn't help Trump get to where he is today. Maybe the desire to keep the joke running and see just how far it could go was enough to turn the perfect storm of Trump's campaign into something more.
But, unfortunately, it's become clear that the joke is over, and the pithy tweets and epithets about orange skin and tiny hands don't quell the nerves much these days — at least, certainly not like they used to.
Images: Bustle/Dawn Foster; Giphy.com