Carstens: The comedic campaign

Courtney Carstens

A celebrity, a 15-year-old Internet sensation, a neurosurgeon and many has-been politicians. What does this strange mix of individuals amount to? The list of 2016 presidential nominees, of course.

While the presidential campaign has set precedent with the first celebrity running since Ronald Reagan and one of the largest pools of possible candidates ever, it makes the current state of American politics the laughing stock of the political world.

First in our line of jokes, we have business giant Donald Trump. The outspoken, unfiltered and crude Trump has put down minority groups and women. In return, he has been fired from NBC and lost respect from the business world and his fellow “candidates.” 

However, the polls still show Trump in first place ahead of retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson. There is not a sound strategy behind Trump’s harsh campaign, but he does what he wants, and people seem to appreciate his bluntness. This native New Yorker can do this because he is relying on his own money. The primary goal of this presidential race, for Trump, is not to become president but to change the world. He wants a louder voice in politics and wants to raise his public image.

Trump is not the first to do this. Sarah Palin and Herman Cain have done the same. Palin had her own reality television show on TLC that made her even more of a laughing stock. Trump is in a similar situation to Palin because of his show, “The Apprentice.” He is not a true politician.

Carson, the retired neurosurgeon isn’t a true politician either. This man has been an underdog throughout his life. Growing up in a single-parent household in Detroit, Mich., with a bad temper and even worse grades, he was later named one of the 20 foremost physicians and scientists by TIME Magazine and CNN. This prestige has been reflected throughout the campaign.

Many underestimated Carson at the beginning, but he’s now second in the running. So the joke is on us. Carson is not a politician. This tends to be a common trend — American citizens don’t want a politician in politics. They want a person who will be straightforward and honest with them.

The biggest mockery of all came when Deez Nuts officially became a presidential nominee. Brady Olson, a high school sophomore from Wallingford, Iowa, announced his so-called candidacy July 26. A poll released by Public Policy Polling earlier this month showed him with 7 percent support in Iowa. 

When asked how far he will take his practical joke, he said, “As far as America wants to take it.”

Is this really how much of a mockery our democratic process has become? This has turned into a game, and America is allowing itself to play. We are making fun of a fundamental part of our government, the voting system. While this doesn’t necessarily hurt anyone, this action makes our country look like a joke. 

As college students we are just beginning to understand ourselves in this messed up, egocentric world, and yet we are tasked with electing the country’s next leader. The multitude of candidates has only increased the difficulty of that job tenfold. With more people running for president, there are more drama and lies. As citizens, we have the obligation to our country to forget the drama of politics and figure out what each candidate is really trying to accomplish. Figuring out who is best for our country is no joking matter.