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Has Politics Become a Joke?

By Dan Friedman

Anyone who has been following the latest election cycle has experienced the phenomenon that is Vermin Supreme. This self-proclaimed warlock was a featured member of New Hampshire’s Lesser-Known Democratic Candidates Presidential Forum in which he promised free ponies for everyone and ran on the platform of good dental hygiene and preparedness for the inevitable zombie invasion. While there is certainly no chance of Mr. Supreme ever seeing the inside of the White House, many pundits criticized Mr. Supreme as making a mockery out of the political process.

However, making light of the political process is something America desperately needs. In this political cycle in particular, the American people are subjected to vicious attack ads criticizing candidates. Politicians have started taking themselves too seriously, becoming almost robotic, just the same talking points repeated ad infinitum. This is why candidates like Vermin Supreme are needed, to give America that laugh amidst all this political fighting, to make us remember that at the end of the day, these politicians are just people like you and me.

Interestingly enough, joke candidates play similar roles in other political systems as well. For example in Hungary, The Two Tailed Dog Party gained public support with its platform of free beer for everyone! In Britain, Screaming Lord Sutch, also ran for office on the platform of having pubs open all day. (I’m sensing a theme here.) These candidates are found worldwide because as politics devolves into factions of the populace fighting with each other, it is humour that can bridge the partisan gap. That’s why hopefully candidates like Vermin Supreme will never lose their valuable place in our political system.