by Emma Polini
It was October 18: there I was, sitting on my couch, forgoing America’s Next Top Model reruns in order to provide myself with a little enlightenment. I had tuned into CNN to view the Republican presidential debate and formulate some presidential predictions, as well as stare at moderator Anderson Cooper.
Halfway through the debate, I prematurely changed the channel. My family has already passed through the living room and noted my intellectual superiority attributed to my television choice, and besides, I had already decided who would be running against Obama the following November. I had divided the candidates into a list. The intolerable choices were Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, and Michelle Bachman, though only Romney stood a chance of being nominated. The tolerable choices were Ron Paul, Rick Perry, and Herman Cain, but only Perry had a shot at prevailing. That left the race down to Romney and Perry, and clearly my favorite of the two was going to win. And what about old Newt Gingrich? I gave him one of my special labels: irrelevant.
I woke up the next day confident that my predictions were airtight. Perry was sure to be the Republican Candidate, so there really wasn’t a point to debating anymore. I forgot to skim through The New York Times after school, because I was tied up at the hair salon (color correction is brutal), but I thought nothing of it. It wasn’t until I tuned into CNN the next night that I realized something wasn’t feeling right. Why weren’t they talking about Perry? His popularity had plummeted faster than Chris Brown’s circa 2009.
I held onto hope, but as the days bled into weeks, Perry’s media coverage all but vanished. I decided that we both didn’t have to be on the losing team, so I cast my loyalties aside and quickly joined Team Cain. Munching on slices of Godfather’s pizza, I spent days custom ordering personalized Team Cain gear: sweatpants, t-shirts, bumper stickers, the whole works. Shipping was estimated to take a few weeks, but it was definitely worth it.
Gleefully, I campaigned for Cain, until I was struck with a bad cold. Too sick to even use my iPhone, I was forced to forgo several days of political updates. But on the sixth day of being ill, my mother announced that a box had arrived in my name. My political gear!
Miraculously cured by the arrival of my new clothing, I pulled myself out of bed and got dressed for school. My outfit bore exactly seventeen images of Cain’s face, which ran above the words YOUR FUTURE, AMERICA. Proudly, I marched into school, knowing that my politically-chic ensemble was sure to win me a best dressed nomination on Fashion Police.
I was brimming with confidence, but as I strolled into first period, something started to feel wrong. I was met with quizzical stares and even a few snickers. Figuring it was jealously, I ignored the looks and continued through my morning. It wasn’t until a hipster in the hallways complemented me on my “irony” that I realized something was seriously wrong. Pulling out my phone, I nervously opened my New York Times app. There it was on the front page, my worst fear realized: Herman Cain had announced the suspension of his campaign.
Following the discovery, I abandoned my attempts at forecasting politics and sunk into a gloom. John Huntsman was suddenly one of the contenders. Gingrich shed his irrelevancy, received some recognition, then was shut down by Romney. I slept through Christmas break and woke up to find Santorum was one of the top contenders. It was all too overwhelming. Is a little stability really too much to ask for? Predicting politics has become synonymous with predicting the winning Lotto numbers.
I tried to ignore the remaining candidates, but the temptation struck me once again. Prior to the Iowa Caucus, I nervously attached myself to the computer, feverishly scorning blogs and news cites, devouring any caucus related coverage. After hours of obsessing, I finally decided to put myself out of my misery and go to bed early, figuring I’d wait until morning to see who had won.
But when I woke up, I was struck with a new realization: I was a Democrat. So who cares that Perry dropped out or that they recounted the Iowa caucus and Santorum came away with the win? My vote’s with Obama.