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If Elected, I Will Be Extremely Surprised

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What’s At Stake In New Hampshire

With the New Hampshire primary election Tuesday poised to impact the course of the 2016 presidential race, The Onion examines what’s at stake for the candidates

Monocle-Wearing Oil Baron’s Cigarette Holder Splinters In Clenched Teeth After Hearing Bernie Sanders’ Environmental Platform

GREENWICH, CT—Leaving him visibly seething as he sat in his tufted leather wingback chair in his study, monocle-wearing oil baron Frederick Porter Harriman’s ivory-inlaid cigarette holder reportedly splintered between his clenched teeth upon him hearing presidential candidate Bernie Sanders outline his environmental platform during Thursday night’s Democratic debate.

Biggest Campaign Gaffes So Far

The road to the 2016 election has seen its fair share of blunders, miscalculations, and poorly worded statements, all captured by an eager news media that’s always on the lookout for political missteps. Here are some of the biggest campaign gaffes of this election cycle so far:

How The Iowa Caucuses Work

The votes cast in the Iowa caucuses on Monday night mark the official beginning of the 2016 election season, but the specifics of the state’s selection process can be confusing to voters who don’t live there. Here, The Onion answers the most common questions about how the Iowa caucuses work:

Iowan Comforts Sobbing Jeb Bush At Town Hall

DES MOINES, IA—Slowly approaching the distraught, trembling presidential candidate before embracing him in a gentle hug, 42-year-old single mother Holly Sullivan comforted a sobbing Jeb Bush during a town hall forum, sources confirmed Friday.

Dazed Marco Rubio Wakes Up In Koch Compound To Find Cold Metal Device Installed Behind Ear

‘Hello Marco, We Will Now Begin The Program,’ Says Soothing Voice

UNKNOWN LOCATION—The brightly lit, stark-white room gradually coming into focus as he regained consciousness, GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio reportedly awoke in the Koch brothers’ secret compound Thursday and reached suddenly to his throbbing head to discover a cold metal device implanted behind his left ear.

Hillary Clinton Relaxing Before Debate With Few Hours Of Debate Practice

GOFFSTOWN, NH—Describing it as a much-needed escape from the hype and pressure surrounding the event, aides from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign confirmed that the candidate has been taking it easy and kicking back ahead of Saturday’s Democratic debate with a few hours of intensive debate practice.

Terrified Jeb Bush Beginning To Fade From Visible Spectrum

LAS VEGAS—His voice slowing during his response to a question about immigration as he struggled to comprehend what was happening to him, a visibly terrified Jeb Bush reportedly began to vanish from the visible spectrum while on stage at Tuesday night’s Republican debate.

Koch Brothers Get Each Other Same Election For Christmas

WICHITA, KS—Chuckling and shaking their heads as they described their annual family gift exchange to reporters, Koch Industries executives Charles and David Koch confirmed Wednesday they had unwittingly gotten each other the same election for Christmas this year.

The Pros And Cons Of Political Correctness

A key issue currently driving a wedge between political parties in the U.S. is the question of so-called political correctness, or the avoidance of language and actions that could be construed as exclusive, oppressive, or marginalizing of minority groups. Here are the pros and cons of political correctness in our national discourse:

Rand Paul Escorted Off Stage After Falling Below 2.5% In Middle Of Debate

MILWAUKEE—Interrupted midway through answering a question about how he would reform the nation’s tax code, Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul was reportedly escorted off stage roughly an hour into Tuesday’s GOP primary debate after falling below the minimum 2.5 percent polling threshold necessary for participating in the forum.

Fact-Checking Ben Carson’s Claims

GOP presidential frontrunner Ben Carson is currently under fire for claims he’s made about his past in books and interviews, many of which journalists have alleged are fabricated or skewed in the candidate’s favor. The Onion breaks down what’s truth and what’s fiction.

Republicans’ Demands For Upcoming Debates

Following last week’s contentious debate in Colorado, Republican presidential candidates are formulating demands for future debates in the effort to reduce perceived media bias and foster a more productive, policy-focused discussion. Here are the GOP’s demands for upcoming debates

Top Issues For Voters In The 2016 Election

With the presidential race well underway and the pool of candidates narrowing, Americans will soon have to choose their next leader based on how well they speak to the issues. Here are the top issues that matter for voters in the 2016 election

Winners And Losers Of Last Night’s Debate

The top 10 leading GOP presidential candidates met in Boulder, CO for their third debate last night, hosted by CNBC and featuring a number of contentious moments concerning alleged liberal media bias, frontrunners’ contradictory statements, and more. The Onion breaks down who won and who lost the debate

Ben Carson Tormented By Periodic Rational Thoughts

SAN ANTONIO—Calling the disturbing incidents a persistent source of anguish, GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson told reporters at a Monday campaign stop that he has been tormented by periodic rational thoughts for the past several years.

How Democrats Are Preparing For Their First Debate

The first Democratic presidential debate will be held Tuesday, and the candidates are expected to battle it out over issues as wide-ranging as gun control, climate change, and wealth inequality in America. Here’s how the candidates are preparing for the debate

Group Of Christie Campaign Deserters Found In Forest

SHAMONG, NJ—Huddling together around fires of burning yard signs while sipping small rations of soup from mugs adorned with the phrase “Telling It Like It Is,” a ragged encampment of advisers, pollsters, and volunteers who deserted Chris Christie’s presidential campaign was reportedly found living deep in a New Jersey forest Friday, authorities confirmed.

Sight Of 400 War Elephants On Horizon Marks Hillary Clinton’s Arrival In Swing State

WHEELING, OH—Feeling the earth shake beneath them as they watched the procession climb over the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains toward their village, sources along the Ohio border confirmed Thursday that the sight of 400 war elephants marching on the horizon marked Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s arrival to the critical swing state.

Unemployed Single Mother In Rubio Speech Told Candidate About Her Problems In Confidence

CEDAR FALLS, IA—Describing her shock and embarrassment upon learning that her personal struggles were shared with an entire campaign rally audience, 37-year-old Allison Kilpatrick, an unemployed single mother that Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio mentioned in a recent stump speech, informed reporters Thursday that she told the candidate about her problems in confidence.

Obama Scrambling Around White House Kitchen Before State Dinner

WASHINGTON—Darting back and forth from refrigerator to sink to prep table while hurriedly preparing 350 hand-carved radish rosettes, a visibly agitated President Obama reported Friday that everything must be absolutely perfect for tonight’s state dinner in honor of Chinese president Xi Jinping.

Voters Look On In Horror As 3 New Republican Candidates Appear In Place Of Scott Walker

MADISON, WI—Overcome by a profound feeling of dread and helplessness as the GOP field multiplied before their eyes, voters at Scott Walker’s press conference yesterday, in which the Wisconsin governor announced he was exiting the presidential race, reportedly looked on in horror as three new Republican contenders appeared on stage in place of the former candidate.

Top Snake Handler Leaves Sinking Huckabee Campaign

LITTLE ROCK, AR—Dealing yet another blow to the former Arkansas governor’s presidential hopes, Dalton Hobbs, one of Mike Huckabee’s top snake handlers, has decided to leave the sinking campaign, sources reported Thursday.

Aides Rush On Stage To Rotate Scott Walker Back To Direction Of Audience

SIMI VALLEY, CA—Upon noticing that the Wisconsin governor had become disoriented during one of the moderator’s questions and begun delivering his response while facing the set’s backdrop, several of his aides rushed on stage during Wednesday’s GOP primary debate to rotate Scott Walker back in the direction of the audience.

GOP Debate Stage Manager Pulls Ladies’ Podium Out Of Storage For Carly Fiorina

SIMI VALLEY, CA—Having rummaged through a cluttered backstage closet for nearly half an hour in an effort to locate its elegantly curved lavender form, stage manager Paul Guzman is said to have finally pulled the GOP’s official ladies’ podium out of storage for Carly Fiorina ahead of Wednesday night’s Republican primary debate.
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Ugh, This A Place Where Bartenders Wear Bow Tie

PITTSBURGH—Saying they should have known from the moment they walked in the unmarked speakeasy entrance and spotted the extensive wood paneling, customers confirmed Friday that, ugh, this is one of those places where the bartenders all wear bow ties.

If Elected, I Will Be Extremely Surprised

Distinguished residents of the Pine View Senior Center,

On Tuesday, Nov. 2, our district will hold an election for its seat in the state senate, and you, as citizens of this great nation, will be called upon to take part in our democratic process and exercise that most vaunted right: the vote. I ask you, Pine View residents, when you enter that booth Tuesday, to vote for me, B. Paul Knefler. Because I have no hands-on experience in government, I stand before you with this promise: If I am elected, I will be truly surprised.

Some of you may recognize me as the guy who runs for office a lot. In the past, I've sought seats on the school board and in the city council. Last year, I even ran for mayor. Today, I cast my hat in the ring once more. The state-senate run marks my most ambitious, and most absurd, campaign to date. Please flabbergast me with your support.

As the independent candidate, I'll be facing off against Democratic incumbent Martin LaSoeur and Republican challenger Elizabeth Cowles. But unlike Mr. LaSoeur and Ms. Cowles, if I'm chosen to represent you in our state government, I will be amazed. For, as with my previous campaigns, this one will be characterized by poor organization, ill-defined purpose, and confusing rhetoric. From my opposition to "ideology" in the public-education system to my bizarre municipal-bond-burning stunt in front of City Hall, I will do nothing to convince you, the voters, that I am qualified to hold office.

Several elements of my personality doom my candidacy. Key among my flaws: I don't understand the issues. Many of you are upset about what you call "property taxes." I must say, I don't care about that issue. I've lived with my elderly mother in the same house since the day I was born. My mother holds the title to the home and is therefore responsible for the tax payment, which her pension and Social Security cover. Another common constituent concern is "urban sprawl." This issue, I don't understand. The papers this morning indicate that "a vociferous minority, angered by the town of Eden Grove's unauthorized annexation of nearby Munkado, is calling for the reform of state annexation laws and a reassertion of property rights for individuals." Very complicated.

Another factor contributing to my guaranteed failure is my fixation on a few narrow issues. Citizens, if you choose to let me represent you in our senate, I will eliminate public sewers. I associate sewers with the degradation of the individual citizen's autonomy. (The aforementioned municipal-bond-burning was related to this issue.) Also, I pledge to introduce the ovenbird to our district's ecosystem. The ovenbird is a magnificent bird.

My fellow citizens, a politician must serve his constituents tirelessly and understand their needs. I am not this man. During my travels across this district, I have met dozens of voters. I have seen them squirm under my glassy-eyed gaze. I have clasped their hands in my sweaty palms for much longer than is socially acceptable. I lack character and basic social skills. Why I must involve you, the people of this great state, in my vain grab for office is something that I will explain in a moment. For now, I promise each and every one of you that I will continue to campaign awkwardly until election day in November.

Right now, I am lagging in the polls, but I will mask my fear by adopting a blustery mien and peppering my conversation with grandiose, and usually misapplied, political terms. Few will be fooled, if the public's response to me at a recent debate on city cable channel 17 is a reliable indicator. When I wasn't making long-winded, irrelevant, disconnected remarks or staring into space, I burst into loud and inappropriate laughter. This performance earned me the ridicule of the local alternative weekly newspaper, which referred to me as a "drool case."

Yet, in the face of the obvious and inevitable, I will continue to stump for votes. Is it because I want the flacks at the state capitol to know that it's no longer politics-as-usual in the 31st district? Not really. Is it because I wish to sow the seeds of reform in the minds of voters? Eh, no. Such causes might motivate underdog candidates in their quest for public office, but they don't concern me. So why do I run? Because, good people, if you find it in your hearts to send me to the State Capitol next January, not only will you be springing me from my mother's home, but you will also rescue me from the drudgery of the 15 or 20 hours of work I put in at my uncle's grocery store each week.

Before I go, let me remind you that, unlike the other candidates who hide behind lies and half-truths, I offer only the facts. The first of these facts: I don't stand a chance. The second: If, by some freak occurrence, I am voted into office, I will suck as your senator. Seriously, if elected, I will absolutely blow balls. In return for your support, you will receive nothing.

Thank you, and God bless this state.

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