At times, it’s intriguing to mull over how presidential candidates may react to unexpected world events. For instance, how would a President Warren react to Russian aggression in the Arctic, or what would be a Beto response to a pandemic virus entering the US through the porous southern border that threatens the lives of tens of millions of Americans?
While the answers of course could literally run the gamut, there is really no way to know for sure just how these Democrat candidates would react. It’s all just an exercise in conjecture. Rather than engage in very serious and compelling arguments one way or the other regarding these events, I thought that it might be more interesting (and entertaining) to instead delve into the reactions of each of the 2020 candidates if something even more bizarre and life-threatening were to occur.
A zombie apocalypse!
Right up front, I want to reassure every reader with this important disclaimer: I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT THIS EVENT (the zombie apocalypse) WILL ACTUALLY TAKE PLACE. That said, let’s remember that we also never anticipated that Jane Fonda would be arrested at 81 years old because she thinks the weather is unfortunate in the North American hemisphere.
I will treat this like a debate question, where I am the moderator and the candidates will be answering only one question:
How will you deal with the current devastating zombie apocalypse?
JOE BIDEN: “Oh, for God’s sakes, it seems like every time I turn around, President Trump is causing yet another crisis to our Democracy. Let me be real clear, folks. Donald Trump is an existential threat to the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness for the undead. It’s not enough that he continues to make phone calls to the Ukraine with accusations about me and my son…completely unsubstantiated, by the way…and he ignores the fact that these corpses are wandering around aimlessly, looking for some answer from the White House! But what do they get? Silence! Nothing! Nada! It drives me nuts! We gotta impeach him, folks! Plain and simple. The man is a menace. There is not a single person in this audience tonight, nor in the undead community, who is safe from this president's wrath and criminality. He bullies his way through his presidential term like he cannot be harmed! Well, I got news for you: These people are dead serious and they will eat your brains for dessert if you continue to poke their cage! I don’t care how much you – oh, I can see that my time is up!”
OLD SLOGAN: Our Best Days Still Lie Ahead
NEW SLOGAN: Our Best Lies Are Still Days Ahead
ELIZABETH WARREN: “I’ve been reading about this in the papers. Last night, I watched a couple of TV news programs about it. I don’t know what kinds of trauma that these poor cadavers have endured. I’ve never been raised from the dead. But what I can tell you is that these folks deserve their voices to be heard! For the longest time, I have been working on behalf of all people…African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian Americans, women of color…and I can tell you that the zombies are no different. I will work hard on their behalf! I will represent not only the living, but the dead as well! Some of our best voters have been dead! It’s true! So, all this talk from the Oval Office about destruction and offensives against these Americans…well, it’s atrocious and it's an existential threat to our democracy! I won’t stand for it and neither will Americans! I have been working with my fellow senators on a bipartisan bill and will be introducing it shortly. This bill demands reparations for the distantly deceased and back pay for the recently deceased! If I am elected, this will be one of the hallmarks of my first one hundred days in office!”
OLD SLOGANS: We Will Rebuild the Middle Class, We Persist, Win with Warren
NEW SLOGAN: Reparations for All
BERNIE SANDERS: “First of all, I don’t like where this is going. For crying out loud, I just got through a heart attack and let me tell you, it's no picnic in Central Park! I hear people calling them dead…cadavers…deceased…corpses…and, God help me, the undead! That is the problem in this age of name-calling. We don’t have to belittle people by referring to them in the negative. We know that these zombies have been through Hell and back! Who knows how many times they’ve fallen down, picked themselves up, only to be thrown back to the ground again? It’s humiliating, degrading, and unbefitting of an American citizen! I propose that we stop this negativity and begin referring to them in a more positive light. I propose that we call them “undocumented unliving!” They are not undead! Are they walking around? Are they able to communicate in their own forceful language? Yes, and yes! I am proposing an immediate end to the persecution of these unliving guests on our soil and move to grant amnesty across the boards! There is absolutely no reason that they continue to hide in the shadows, or behind parked vehicles, or in dark alleyways, waiting to spring out at any moment! They should be able to conduct their activities during the day, in full sunlight, and know that the United States government is behind them one hundred percent! I will not be party to this existential threat that resides at Sixteen-Hundred Pennsylvania Avenue!”
OLD SLOGAN: Not Me. Us
NEW SLOGAN: Not Me
KAMALA HARRIS: “I’ve been contemplating this question for a while now, ever since the outbreak. You know, in the old days, when I was much younger, I might have reacted like the president. Being a prosecuting attorney, it’s in my blood to go after someone just because they’re, you know, eating other Americans on the street. The attacks are horrific, to be sure. But I feel that there is something deeper here that we’re missing as Americans. We have not really delved into why they’re doing what they’re doing. The president, who is an existential threat to this nation, has certainly shown no interest in these revenant residents who have recently been causing havoc. Looking at their M.O., it’s easy to jump to conclusions. However, has it ever really occurred to anyone in the higher positions of the military and the federal government that, maybe…just maybe…these…uh…undocumented unliving as Bernie called them…maybe they’re just hungry? I mean, let’s face it, America is not a very generous place. Have you ever seen the way some of those convicted felons eat? They’re animals! Hunched over their plates and covering their food like bears in the woods? Maybe, these dead people – uh, unliving people – maybe they just need a sandwich. I’m willing to concede that we need to make major changes in the education system. Our food chain information is all messed up. Right? Let’s face it, we don’t know what the heck we’re teaching our kids about food! Maybe we just need to remove red meat from the food pyramid and reintroduce human flesh…you know, the other white meat.”
OLD SLOGAN: For the People
NEW SLOGAN: People Are Hungry
PETE BUTTIGIEG: “Thank you for that question. I want to start by saying a quick word to all the zombies who are out there right now, wandering the streets, looking for a bite to eat…wondering when this White House, or even his vice president, Mike Pence, is going to get into gear, stop acting as an existential threat, and find a way to solve this crisis. My answer is simple: I am here to tell you that I care about your problems. You know, when I’m back home in South Bend, Indiana, listening to the problems of everyday Americans, I often have a chance to speak to my Christian neighbors and friends. I love the Christians. I am a Christian. But there are times when I hear them espouse some of the more radical solutions put forward by this administration and I am dumbstruck by how very un-Christian it really is. I hear terms like annihilation, decimation, destruction and, God forbid, nuclear extermination. We cannot be so blind as a faithful, prayerful people as to ignore the basic tenets of morality and good conscience. As president, I promise to protect these undead visitors to our nation from the ravages of bigotry and hatred and restore the freedoms to these people that they so sorely lack.”
OLD SLOGAN: A Fresh Start for America
NEW SLOGAN: A Refreshing of America’s Dead
ANDREW YANG: “We understand as Americans the importance of the flesh…the human connection within all of us. We know that it’s not going to take a computer, machine or a robot to show us the way toward the future, but the spirit of man and woman…and everyone else in that long list of genders that the former Vice President refuses to name. That type of spirit is also vital when we see these lost souls of the dead as they wander along our streets, our fields, our sewer systems, in search of purpose…real purpose. I was talking to a friend of mine not long ago and he asked me, ‘Andy, do you believe that these people really have a soul?’ I stopped and contemplated that for only a moment before finally answering him. ‘Of course, they have a soul, Jimmy! Of course, they do!’ We don’t need to wrestle over the issue of whether or not they’re people like you and me. We need to acknowledge the real world struggles that they are up against and recognize that just like us, they require a helping hand and words of encouragement. To you, my zombie brothers and sisters…and every other sibling gender reference in the lexicon of our progressive movement…I pledge that I will stand as equally for your humanity as for the humanity of all Earthlings! And while I don’t know your thoughts on money, if I am elected president, I am committed to giving each and every one of you, ten thousand dollars with which you may spend as you see fit. Oh, and did I mention the existential threat of Donald Trump?”
OLD SLOGAN: Humanity First
NEW SLOGAN: Humanity First, Even If You’re Dead
CORY BOOKER: “This is our moment in time as a people who respect courage and resilience. These folks, the walking dead, the former living, the breathing no-more…the lifeless hungry…these are the real victims in society today. Often times in my job in Washington, DC, as a senator, we become bogged down in the mundane activities of the federal government. We see rampant disregard for the laws of this country by people in higher positions who should know better; existential threats who would rather do nothing than acknowledge that America is just a horrible place. We see utter disdain on the parts of these individuals for people of color, women, Muslims, Jews, the LBGTQIA community, and now, those of the rapidly decomposing persuasion. But no matter what your personal politics, or preferences for warm gray matter, there is no excuse for the exclusion of the people of this country from the inherent rights guaranteed under our Constitution. I vow today, as a gladiator for the masses in both name and deed, to fight for the right of the undead to vote and to exercise their Constitutional authority of assembly, whenever and wherever they see fit to gather in horde-like mobs. I will fight the good fight and continue to crusade on your behalf!”
OLD SLOGAN: We Rise
NEW SLOGAN: We Rise from the Grave for the Resistance!
BETO O’ROURKE: “Once upon a time, I was a writer. I wrote horror stories and tales of terrible injustices to little children, animals, aliens, and yes, even to the unliving. But I was a child. A minor without the benefit of having had spankings in my youth. I didn’t understand the value of discipline because my parents were brought up to believe that it was child abuse. Being white, I didn't value my privilege. I wasn't even aware of it...until now. There were existential threats that were much more real and impactful on my life and, so, I knew little of what benefits I enjoyed. Regardless of that, I stretched my imagination and created some sordid and horrible images in my brain that took me on a journey of discovery, self-awareness and, finally, redemption. As I grew from child to larger person, I realized that just because someone looked different or talked with their hands…or even jumped up on top of bar counters to get a point across…well, that didn’t mean that they didn’t have something worth saying. I remember a skating buddy of mine once said, ‘Zombies don’t just like you for your looks, they really dig your mind, too!’ I live by those words, actually. They remind me that everyone has value…and everyone has a number scale by which they rate you, depending on how cool you are, or how rich or poor you are, or how many PokemonGo characters you’ve collected! I say, zombie folk, don’t sell yourselves short. You have value and you count just as much as the rest of us. Remember: There is no shame in being the victim.”
OLD SLOGAN: We’re All in This Together
NEW SLOGAN: There is No Shame in Being the Victim
AMY KLOBUCHAR: “Okay, well, these are interesting times we’re living in, to be sure. I don’t quite know what the motivations of the zombie people are and it’s difficult for me, being a relatively short and unimposing person, to know why they’re suddenly upset and amassing in the streets attacking people. I’ve been following the stories on the news, but there’s very little information out there to make clear what their demands are, or what it is that they desire. Are we to believe that they’re just mindless things that are cannibalizing the living, as the president suggested yesterday in a horrible tweet? Or should we perhaps look more deeply into why it is that they’ve suddenly risen up from their resting places in graves around the country to make their presence known to us. I mean, we’ve largely ignored the dead, if we’re being honest, for decades. When’s the last time you visited a loved one’s crypt? I know it’s been a while for me. So, before we begin disparaging these disaffected and disenfranchised rotting Americans, we should start a fresh dialogue about what it is that we need to do to find out why they hate us and, perhaps, we can come to a logical conclusion that helps both the living and the dead – I mean, unliving.”
OLD SLOGAN: Amy for America
NEW SLOGAN: Amy for America
JULIAN CASTRO: “Growing up in poverty like we did in my family, I have to say that I sort of get why these funky folks are pissed. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t accept at face value that they’re just hungry, like Senator Harris has suggested. Nor do I believe that we should start automatically talking about reparations, like Senator Warren proposed earlier. I mean, seriously, many of these zombies are white male zombies…granted, they have a greenish tinge to their skin, but really, deep down, they’re still white inside. Reparations should be way down on that list, sister. So, with that said, and putting aside the obvious problems that they’re…like…eating their fellow Americans…I mean, like, chomping down on their limbs and stuff…we also need to take a step back from the rhetoric being spewed by that man in the White House and begin to formulate a plan to deal with this influx of stinky visitors. Let’s not cast blame in their direction because, just maybe, none of this is their fault. This could be some sort of strange plague that was let loose upon the world through the carelessness of the Trump administration’s treatment of regulation. There lies the existential threat to this society. And because Senator Klobuchar didn't say it, I will say it again: existential threat! Has he cut the budget of the CDC? We don’t know. Has he authorized the unleashing of a Lazarus Virus upon the Earth? Probably! But again, until we know the extent to which this administration has committed crimes against humanity, we need to stare the problem in the eye and fix it!”
OLD SLOGAN: One Nation. One Destiny
NEW SLOGAN: Fix the Damn Problems!
TOM STEYER: “Good evening, my fellow Americans. I am here on this stage, among these brilliant and brave individuals, to tell you about a terrifying truth. There is an existential threat in the country today and it is certainly not in the ambulating dead community. No, no, my fine neighbors and friends. The threat we’re facing is much more insidious than any apocalyptic right-wing fairytale can concoct…much more nefarious than any Batman supervillain…and certainly much more damaging to the normal human psyche than any Al Gore-hosted documentary. No, my fellow Americans. I am here to warn you of the impending, imminent, existential threat of a Donald Trump presidency, part two…one that has so poisoned our country as to now force the very dead beneath our feet to rise up from their graves in protest! I tell you, as God is my witness, just yesterday…just yesterday, Benjamin Franklin himself came to me in my office, decaying and smelling of Madeira, to personally let me know that they, the zombies that are currently rioting in our streets, are here in unified protest against this corrupt and criminal president, Donald J. Trump! This is a travesty to our national security! For a president to flout the laws of this great land in deference to his own colossal ignorance of what is going on inside this Earth, how the planet is literally eating itself from the inside-out…for him to disregard the very dead rising up to hand him this dire prediction on a silver platter is the height of arrogance and folly! We must defy this president, remove him from office and punish him severely for his ignorance! The dead of America deserve this second chance! Thank you!”
OLD SLOGAN: There’s Nothing More Powerful Than the Unified Voice of the American People
NEW SLOGAN: Benjamin Franklin is Counting on You
TULSI GABBARD: “I’m a little confused about the question. Let me see if I understand this correctly. There are undead things…rotting corpses…running around the streets of our nation, attacking and eating people and they’re not cogent, reasonable, or…actually, they can’t even talk with words, let alone use the English language. And at the same time, the rest of the candidates here want to, um, protect them? Give them freebies? Are promising to let them vote? Well, I may be a little old-fashioned, but I’m pretty sure that I’ll be donning my very own, fully licensed AR-15 and mowing down these suckers like they’re cartel armies bent on the destruction of the United States! You guys can go down and get chummy with the dead all you want...hey, knock yourselves out...but don’t come whining to me when they take a chunk out of your throat. [stunned silence in the audience] And I'm not saying existential you-know-what. America rocks!”
OLD SLOGAN: Lead with Love
NEW SLOGAN: Love with Lead
And so, that is all we have time for tonight. Thank you for your viewership and remember, the zombie apocalypse may not be real, but the responses by these candidates probably are.