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American Shitshows: The Presidential Election of 1912


My original election shitshow post was supposed to be followed up a few hours later with a second part consisting of five more entries that would happily culminate with a Clinton victory. I stopped writing, however, as soon as the numbers in Virginia, Florida, and North Carolina began looking worrisome. Soon after, I stopped thinking rationally and simply watched the unraveling horror with my dumbfounded children. Now that I am somewhat able to write sentences again, I will continue posting about election shitshows of the past until I grow sick of the gimmick. Also, fuck this fucking shit.


Following the example set by the Democrats a half century earlier, the Republicans in 1912 decided to amputate the hindmost segment of its human centipede and see if both organisms might survive.

They did not.

Instead, the party’s delegates in Chicago divided their affections between two perfectly capable mustaches. Theodore Roosevelt, having returned to national politics after several years of strangling giraffes and fretting over the breeding habits of the barbarian races, won nine of 12 state primaries and arrived at the convention with a plurality of delegates, falling a mere five shy of the majority he would need to stop Taft and the party stalwarts who bore him aloft, strenuously, on the sedan chair of sound currency and sensible tariff policy.

Embittered, Roosevelt’s supporters bolted the convention and formed a third party in opposition to the incumbent. The Progressive Party was nicknamed the Bull Moose Party, largely because Roosevelt, misunderstanding the rules of an emerging parlor game, had fucked, married, and killed one of each. With clean consciences and sturdy hymns to inspire them, Progressives campaigned on a promise to rid the nation of corporate corruption, extend basic social insurance to working people, let the lady folk vote, and return bare-knuckle boxing to its rightful place at the center of American sporting life.

In the end, however, the Republican divide only cleared the way for the Democrats to elect the first Southern president since Southern presidents were legally permitted to own black people. Woodrow Wilson defeated a beard and three mustaches and won the nomination based on the promise to remain clean shaven and create a trust fund for libertarian conspiracy theories by establishing the Federal Reserve. Roosevelt campaigned vigorously for the office, so much so that when someone inevitably shot him in the chest a month before the election, he simply removed the bullet and used it to bring down a passing hippo before departing the stage in search of a good surgeon. Buoyed by Roosevelt’s energetic tirades, the Progressives were nevertheless dragged down by vice presidential candidate Hiram Johnson, who could never quite explain his preference for needlessly wide, short ties. Meantime, Taft lingered in Washington, spending his days bathing quietly and drawing giant penises on photographs of Roosevelt, congratulating himself privately for doing all he could to keep most species of deadly bacteria from the nation’s supply of canned pork.

As Woodrow Wilson coasted to victory, the Socialist Party earned its highest popular vote percentage ever in an American Presidential election. Although Eugene Debs did not take a single electoral vote that year, his supporters were totally fucking stoked about getting those federal matching funds and looked forward to breaking the fake-progressive duopoly forever.

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