A British Person's Guide to the US Election
As President Barack Obama faces off against sinister cipher Mitt Romney, for those of you who continue to be baffled by the simplicity of American politics, I've carved through the three remaining salient facts to bring you a bluffer's guide to understanding the greatest election since Goldwater-Johnson.
This election will be decided yet again by these things that keep getting called "swing states." These are the most unhappy places in the union because there are equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans. In these squalid misery-zones, Americans can't even have an abortion without 50 percent of their friends tutting disapprovingly and the other 50 percent cheerleading them into the stirrups. Let's have a look at some of those key battlegrounds.
Pensioners. Minor rappers. Cubans. Hanging Chads.
Pensioners love Romney because he also gets confused whenever he walks into a room. Minor rappers prefer Obama because Jay-Z said they should. Cubans prefer no one knows their immigration status and so will be staying at home, apart from Pitbull.
Predicted outcome: Romney wins.
Tire factory workers. People who have given up hope of ever living a normal life. Canadian refugees.
Ohio is famous for being ugly and polluted. However, it's still hard to know whether voters there will want to hurt the rest of the country as much as they're already hurting by voting for Romney, or whether they are just going to vote for Romney because they want to ship more of their pitiful jobs overseas to relieve themselves the burden of having to commute through its wretched streets every day.
Predicted outcome: Obama wins.
Jockeys. Tobacco farmers. Perpetrators of random killing sprees at technical colleges.
It's hard to know why Virginia always gets flagged up as a swing state. Just because it's halfway between north and south, pollsters often think it has a toe in liberalism. In fact, while jockeys may want to vote for someone who has promised to "stand up for the little guy," overall, this is a state that thinks entirely with its handguns and has consistently voted for the candidate with the largest semi-automatic weapon and the boldest vision of America visible through a telescopic sight.
Predicted outcome: Romney wins.
Spares, not heirs. Yet, should someone put a bullet, knife, or electric drill through either of their bosses, these men will be the next Presidents of the United States. So who exactly are these two Presidential meat-lockers?
Famous for: Gaffes, tan.
Joe Biden is basically a Depends Adult Diapers ad-star who made good. Gaffe-prone and thinking-averse, Obama—in classic fashion—chose him to be non-threatening to the electorate, yet also non-threatening to him. As Bill Clinton learned: the best way to avoid impeachment is to threaten the country with your dipstick VP. Biden is famous for calling people Larry when their name is Barry, and Terry when their name is Hu Xintao. A bland cipher of Washington focus-group nothingness, Obama spent weeks combing Capitol Hill for the man most likely to fail to be recognised in a crowded room. He found him, and all being well, this is the last point in history the name Joe Biden will ever ring any bells in your brain.
Likelihood he would accidentally nuke Norway: 60 percent.
Famous for: 15 minutes.
Ryan is basically the creepy kid who wore a tie to lectures all through university and knew what colour his business cards would be long before he even had a business. If he turned out to have a large collection of pictures of teenage girls riding horses in his house, America would simply shrug. A rabid Ayn Rand, anti-government fantasist – at least you know where you stand with Paul Ryan. And where you stand is "in the next room, facing him at all times".
Likelihood he would deliberately nuke Norway: 70 percent.
Key Things That Americans Will Make Their Decision On
Which candidate has the best plan to get Americans working again? Sure, Romney wants to create jobs, but Obama says he wants to create even more jobs. Who's right?
Which candidate will be best able to continue the fine American tradition of doing whatever Israel wants? Sure, Obama seems pretty craven and submissive, but surely Romney has a hangdog meekness to him all of his own?
Which candidate would be best wielding the hack-n-suck? Sure, Romney's probably got cold hands, but Obama's are probably rather too large to be nimble.
Which candidate hates trees the most? Sure, Obama once uprooted an Ash, but Romney is known to have burnt a Birch with a lighter just to hear it wilt.
What To Say Tomorrow Depending On Who Wins
• Oh, great, typical WASP-y American prejudice: they voted for the human.
• Talented as he obviously is, Obama really couldn't have won this one without the endorsement of Death Cab.
• This shows that Obama is the best at making unkeepable promises.
• The Republicans should never have started that War On Women. Didn't they know they're everywhere?
• Thank god the baby in my womb is finally safe from Obama's blood-soaked hands.
• It looks like the American people have spoken. And they seem to have uttered a swear word.
• Well, if he wasn't good enough to beat John McCain, he's definitely a worthy President.
• Obviously, this is just another phase in the liberal media conspiracy.
• Oh, great. Well, I guess I'm going to have to emigrate to Canada now, and that's going to suck because they've got a right wing government too.
• At least Michael Moore can have a career again.
• Well, it looks like the Republicans deserved this victory.
Yet, overall, the most likely outcome remains a Romney victory and America's first openly-lizard president. What is the most likely outcome of this most likely outcome?
Polls close. As the votes stack up, Romney declares victory. Obama makes a concession speech in which he shows everyone a big picture of the America they could have won, complete with the ten billion dollar tax cut he was "going to surprise you all with, but it's ruined now... " He tells America that if it can't bring themselves to vote for a former President of the Harvard Law Review, then the land of opportunity is clearly dead. He shuffles off to run a small provincial bookstore where people regularly come in and say: “Hey, weren't you that guy who used to be President?”
Romney will quickly become the most gaffe-prone American president since George Bush Senior. He will announce to the Japanese Prime Minister that he is prepared to acknowledge their claim to Taiwan. He will tell the Israelis that he thinks they should thrash out a new treaty this Saturday. He makes good on his campaign pledge and makes all US airplane windows fully openable.
Romney tries to repeal MediCare. Yet, with typical anti-incumbent, anti-status quo fervour, there are massive Tea Party protests across America where activists wave placards saying "Hands Off Our MediCare", "Government Isn't The Solution, Government Is The Problem Dumbo" and "Stop Playing Political Games With Our Medicare" They will burn him in effigy, no matter how many diagrams he draws for them. Glenn Beck will go on TV and announce that he is severing his own windpipe in protest against the policy.
Romney decides that, in order to get the deficit down without reducing military spending, he will stop building bridges. Announcing his "Bridges to a Brighter Tomorrow" policy, he will say that “The American people have always showed cunning and resolve. And I know that they can overcome the absence of bridges with the same fortitude we've overcome so many other challenges in our great history.” As cars continue to plummet off of major roadways, he will continue to point to the falling deficit as evidence of his success.
Romney repeals the government. From now on, all disputes in the US will be settled by free-born citizens shaking copies of the constitution at each other. He has achieved his dream of becoming the last President of the USA and helicopters out of the White House to survive the coming apocalypse inside his sealed steel dome.
Follow Gavin on Twitter: @hurtgavinhaynes
More Election stuff:
Daniel Denvir on Mitt Romney, the liar.
Bhaskar Sankara on why Ezra Klein creams his pants over Paul Ryan.