Just kidding. You can’t go all Nancy Pelosi on this article without damaging your computer, and you probably don’t want to do that. Computers are expensive. Seriously, though. Do you need a drink?
You probably need a drink.
Anything to take the edge off is helpful after the week we’ve had. From democracy-spiking apps to geographically-curious tweets, the past seven days have been so full of gaffes that the joke in this article’s headline will probably be two news cycles old before you read it. There were about 90 minutes on Tuesday night when it would have been great, though.
If you somehow managed to maintain your sanity, it probably won’t do you any good to recount what happened, but we’re going to do it anyway.
On Monday, the 2020 Presidential Election kicked off in earnest with the Iowa Caucuses after approximately 16 months of buildup. At least that’s what I was told. I watched cable news that night for more time than I’d like to admit, and all I really saw were reporters stammering in vague attempts to fill dead air. As it turns out, America’s greatest high school dance re-enactment was foiled by a poorly designed cell phone app and a lack of foresight regarding telephone lines.
Before we go any further, let’s get something straight: I don’t understand how the Iowa Caucuses work. You don’t understand how the Iowa Caucuses work. Most importantly, there’s pretty striking evidence that the people running the Iowa Caucuses don’t understand how the Iowa Caucuses work. Iowans did such a poor job of hanging out in high school gyms that more effective caucuses were run in Georgia. The country, not the state.
Ultimately, it took several days before we found out Pete Buttigieg won the majority of Iowa’s delegates. Or maybe he didn’t. No one’s really sure. Honestly, it would have been less confusing and far more entertaining if the networks simply replayed the Super Bowl Halftime show on a loop and then picked Tom Steyer’s name out of a hat after three hours.
By the time precincts began reporting their vote totals none of us really noticed because on Tuesday, President Donald Trump gave his third State of the Union address. The commander-in-chief delivered a resounding rundown of his achievements or regaled us with an imaginative fairy tale, depending on which channel you were watching. Over the course of the night, Trump refused to shake Speaker Pelosi’s hand, and launched full bore into his reelection campaign, despite the theoretical possibility he might no longer be president in 24 hours. In return, Pelosi opted not to introduce Trump with the typical honorifics and then tore up his speech on national television moments after he finished. MSNBC and Fox News responded with the exact type of measured, even-handed coverage you’ve come to expect.
On Wednesday, approximately 19 hours after Trump and Pelosi set the news on fire, the Senate got down to the business of deciding whether Trump would get to keep putting up gold decorations in the White House, ultimately voting not to convict the President on two separate articles of impeachment. It was around this time that Buttigieg decided to remind everyone that he had definitely maybe sort of won the Iowa Caucuses.
When Thursday came around, Trump decided to keep the hits coming and celebrated his victory in the Senate impeachment trial by delivering a meandering speech that stretched on for more than an hour. This might have been the best thing for Iowa, which managed to fly somewhat under the radar that day as Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez called for the state to recanvass its caucus vote totals. That call came right as Bernie Sanders decided maybe he won in Iowa, too.
It seems prescient to note among all this zaniness that Iowa has a grand total of 41 pledged delegates on offer, which is roughly 1% of the delegates to be awarded in primary season.
We’re still not entirely sure who won the Iowa Caucuses. We think it probably wasn’t Joe Biden. We’re pretty sure Donald Trump is still the President. We definitely think America has chosen the dumbest way to start what already may be the dumbest way to choose the most powerful person in the world.
Mostly, we’re just sure we need a nap. Or maybe that drink.
It’s not unusual for the significance of some political happenings to be overamplified these days. This is a country where the news channels once freaked out because Barack Obama wore a tan suit to a press conference. But last week’s rapid succession of consequential events was enough to leave you woozier than an incoming business school student after their first happy hour. So I’ve been told.
Fortunately, those kinds of weeks come far less often than those happy hours. Hopefully, we’re now in for a break from the noise.
Oh, did I mention the New Hampshire Primary is on Tuesday? I’m sure it’ll be fine.
Photo Credit: Erin Schaff / New York Times