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An estimated 84,000,000 Americans tuned into the first Presidential Debate at New York's Hofstra University last week, but Donald Trump did not seem to be among them. Mentally he had checked out, maybe to seek admission to Dr. Snuffleupagus's clinic to score some surplus Claritin.
Something craven infects political candidates as the days dwindle down to a precious few, especially when prospects for victory appear slimmer than an emaciated giraffe in a fun house mirror.
We, the American People, should pat ourselves on the back for having survived a multitude of presidential battles this year. So far we've ducked mud thrown during the Little Hands Wars, the Naked Wives Wars, the Bigotry Wars, the Qualification Wars, the Crazier than a Wombat in a Centrifuge Wars, and now a brand new phase: the Health Wars. Open those umbrellas folks, because the partisan splooey is starting to pour.
We might as well be watching a 30-car pile-up the way Americans are holding hands over their eyes trying to avoid the grisly bits of the most grotesque presidential race we have witnessed in this, the second decade of the 21st century.
Poor Labor Day - the most underrated and unheralded of American holidays. It slides by almost as an afterthought in a distracted mix of resignation and dread, without a single aisle at Walgreen's dedicated to its approach.
Any politician angling to be president has to appear believable while wearing many hats. The electorate needs to imagine him/her in a pith helmet to lead us through the jungle. A hard hat to connect to blue collar voters. A top hat to conduct formal diplomatic negotiations. A deerstalker to sift through the intrigue. And a toque to cook up some fun.
Our quadrennial presidential sweepstakes regularly provides textbook studies in contrast. And 2016 raises the bar in disparity. Red and blue. Left and right. Hot and cold. Up and down. Good and bad. Boy and girl. Pro and con. Loud and soft. Rain or shine. Fish and fowl. Dumb and dumber.
So the conventions are over and we've entered the penultimate stage of this presidential demolition derby. Your muted murmurs of "yippee" and "hooray" have been duly noted. That's enough, put the horns away, this is not an overly large celebration.
Striding onto the Philadelphia stage resplendent in a white pants suit like a heavenly sent business bride walking down the aisle to tie the knot with America, Chelsea's mom jettisoned the "presumptive" and accepted the Democratic Party's invitation to become their nominee in the 2016 race for the Presidency of the United States. And contrary to prior dire warnings, the gates of hell did not open up.
Now that the DNC four-day, multi-network infomercial is mercifully finished, the memory of the RNC version grows a bit dim, except for nominee Donald John Trump's speech that ripped the wallpaper off the Quicken Loans Arena. According to him, life in America today is dark, dangerous, dismal, dystopian, full of doom and the only light on the horizon is coming from the blinding white teeth of the "Blue Collar Billionaire" himself.
A Vice Presidential pick is a defining moment in a campaign, motivating nominees to utilize unique strategies. Some try to accentuate their heavyweight status by partnering up with less vibrant versions of themselves in what might be called the "Bad Xerox Without Any Toner" maneuver. Think... Dan Quayle.
Now that the presumptive nominees are set, the presidential campaign has officially entered its "begging for money like we're raising bail for our little sister who's being held in a Turkish prison" stage.
Donald Trump likes to brag he's not a politician. And he's not; he's a hustler, a scam artist, a grifter, a modern day P.T. Barnum who deserves congratulations for running the ultimate con on the American people. He's a carnie with a glob of inedible cotton candy on his head.
If the goal is to cause both sides of the political spectrum to quiver, twitch and shake like a raccoon clinging to the outside of a cement mixer speeding through a railroad yard, just casually throw out the term, "gun control," and step back. The left considers all guns the reprehensible tool of warriors, criminals and primitives, while in most of red state America, the definition of gun control is using two hands and hitting the target.
Every four years our nation's electoral eccentricities escalate exponentially and people throw up their hands and shout, "you know, every election cycle is wacky, but especially this one."
A hearty congratulations to conservatives for a seamless transition from party-wide disgust to near unanimous endorsement of a gorilla as their presidential nominee. Considering the tortuous undulations required, this metamorphosis seems to have occurred with shockingly few chiropractic adjustments.
Oh dear. Not pretty. The upcoming presidential campaign is ugly now and destined to ratchet up to epic uglier as soon as Bernie Sanders decides to bow out. Which is imminent. Not soon enough for Hillary Clinton, but not long.
One of the oddest moments in a presidential campaign filled brim-spillingly with them is the sight of the Republican Party struggling to rally around the man looking more and more like its presumptive nominee, Donald J. Trump. Perhaps "rally" is too strong of a word. More of a depressed dawdle. A lackluster loiter. Melancholy mosey. Crematory crawl.
As evidenced by his hair, Donald J. Trump is pretty much wrong all the time. Every time. About everything. Except when he isn't.
A major silver lining in this cruelest month of April is a lull between show business awards galas. The lack of gold plated statuettes being flung about mercifully allows many Americans to stand upright for the first time in months.