A Tuesday report in the Washington Post gives a little glimpse into what the newspaper calls the “messy, awkward, occasionally successful dating scene on the campaign trail,” or, in grittier terms, the sex and dating lives of the young people who work on presidential campaigns.
That this anesthetized atmosphere would be an unlikely breeding ground for romance makes sense; it’s almost exactly like what everyone knew to be true but never address about the kids in the marching band: They were all absolutely fuckin’. How the band managed to march in straight lines with all those hormones raging was always a mystery, and how a successful campaign can be run by horny college grads is an even bigger one. Yet, according to an anecdote given by the Post, sex on the campaign trail is a good omen:
“In her book about the 2016 election, Democratic Party honcho Donna Brazile notes an old campaign rule from former congressman Tony Coelho, who believed that if a staff is hooking up, it’s a sign a campaign is strong: ‘Are they having sex? Are they having fun?’ Coelho asked her. ‘If not, let’s create something to get that going, or otherwise we’re not going to win.’”
The idea of candidates stoking the sexual flames of their campaign staffs is not a sentiment that’s aged well, and the Post story includes no mention of alleged sexual harassment on the campaign trail, or of policies that address that issue. The picture painted by the Post is one of a political dweeb’s Valhalla, where the dive bars play candidate walk-out songs on repeat, and couples working on rival campaigns make voter calls “together” from separate rooms. It’s difficult to isolate the sickest anecdote from the story, but below are a few contenders (or shall I say……….. Candidates?):
- “But when [organizer for Kamala Harris, Claire] Goldberg and her date met at a bar in Fort Madison, he greeted her without a handshake or a hug, then recited his life story for 30 minutes before badgering her about how long Harris might remain in the race. He then spent the rest of the date trying to convince the bartender to caucus for Biden. ‘Joe Biden is a much better man than this guy will ever be,’ she says."
- "A New Hampshire staffer for Al Gore’s 2000 campaign who nursed a secret crush on a co-worker, until he clumsily blurted out to her: 'I’m feeling something here and just needed to tell you.' (They’re married with a kid, and he’s now a top aide on Biden’s 2020 campaign.)"
- “When Ryan Bruner met his now-girlfriend on Hinge (the dating app where Buttigieg met his husband, Chasten), he noticed her profile had ‘this sexy photo of herself getting kicked out of a Trump rally.’”
The entire Post story is worth a read, if only to learn the disturbing origins of Ted Cruz’s marriage to Heidi.
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