Let’s get two things straight about next year’s presidential election. The first is, quit whining about all those Republican candidates. Seventeen is nothing — there are already at least 459 officially registered presidential candidates. (A couple more could have signed up in the time it took you to read this sentence.) And second, not one more word about how everybody who’s running sounds the same. Are you kidding? You can vote for an anarchist or a socialist or a prohibitionist, a vermin (really, that’s his name, Vermin Supreme) or even a deity. You can vote for a cat. (Slogan: “The time is meeow!”) “We’ve certainly heard from an ample number of candidates from a broad political spectrum,” agrees Christian Hilland, a spokesman for the Federal Election Commission. These are determinedly diplomatic words from a guy who spends his days sorting through paperwork filed by candidates whose platforms include stuff like giving every American a free pony and turning Alcatraz Island into a temple of New Age music and light shows.
Sifting through the presidential declarations filed with the FEC is a rewarding journey through, depending on how you see it, either the richness of American political diversity or the crumbling fault lines of American mental health. There’s a candidate from the Absolute Dictator Party who gives his name as Caesar St Augustine De Buonaparte and complains on his FEC papers that he’s the victim of civil rights violations by the Bilderberg Group, the Trilateral Commission and the media. Right under that is his catchy campaign slogan, “God Blast America!”
Then there’s Temperance Alesha Lance-Council of the Anti-Hypocrisy Party, who says she’s an actress and refers voters to her listing on the Internet Movie Database. Though it lists no films or TV shows she’s ever appeared in, it does boast that she was once mentioned in the National Enquirer (headline: KNOCKOUT BEAUTIES THROWING THEMSELVES AT TYSON) and ran a Los Angeles marathon clad only in a loincloth to protest South African apartheid.
And though her campaign Twitter page is short on policy statements, it’s packed with a contemplative candor you’re unlikely to get from Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush. “Sometimes I like to tell myself that I’m (hashtag) Angelina Jolie,” Lance-Council muses. “LOL! But … I keep my delusions & my mis-rememberings IN MY HEAD, where they belong.”