Really makes you think.
Two weeks before Election Day.
Jim Comey strode into the Clinton war room’s meeting area, eyes ablaze, hair perfectly coiffed. He didn’t have time for this—he had the whole FBI to run, goddammit—but when he heard Hillary Clinton’s campaign was in trouble, he knew he had to step in.
It was Comey Time.
Assembled before Comey was the cream of Hillary’s crack campaign staff: Podesta, Mook, Palmieri. Comey—who everyone in D.C. knew to be the real brains behind Clinton, Inc., given that he, James Comey, had personally convinced Hillary Clinton to use a private email server in order to dodge government transparency laws—had called them together in the glass-walled conference room at the Brooklyn HQ. As 37 staffers under the age of 25 poured their mental energies into crafting a perfect 140-character missive on the other side of the transparent partition—would it be “slay queen” this time or “yassss queen”?—Comey told the chumps to sit.
“I’ll be brief,” Comey said, pausing for a moment. “But I won’t be pleasant. We don’t have time.”
Mook nodded vigorously, almost twitchily.
“Whatever you say, boss. We’re here for you.”
Comey’s eyes narrowed. He had never liked the slim-suit wearing wunderkind, and wasn’t sure if he was being mocked. He let it slide. The fate of the country was at stake, after all.
“So, let me get this straight,” Comey started. “Your polling shows that Trump is either tied or slightly ahead in Michigan. The internals. That’s what you’re seeing?”
“Right,” Podesta sighed, pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose. “It’s closer than we thought it would be. We’re thinking of pouring money into the—”
Comey raised a hand, silencing Podesta.
“Look. Dumb-dumb. If you start pouring money into the state, then Trump will know it is close. I can’t believe I have to explain this to you. Do you even know what game theory is?”
“Well sure, but, you know, certainly his polling will show—”
“Jesus, don’t talk again Podesta. No. Money. Into. Michigan. Don’t want to tip ole Trumpy off. Now, Wisconsin.”
Palmieri nodded, pulling out a sheet with the internals. “We’re up by a point, but the Feingold campaign has been begging us to make a stop for weeks now; he seems to think he’s in real trouble.”
“Oh what does that wanker know about campaigning; it’s his campaign finance nonsense that allowed us to raise a trillion fucking dollars or whatever.”
“OK, but still, he knows the lay of the la—”
“Look, it’s close, but Wisconsin’s part of the blue wall, right?”
“And you don’t, like, inspect a wall every week to make sure it’s not going to fall down, do you?”
“We’re not going to Wisconsin. Instead, here’s what we’re going to do: pour money into Nebraska.”
Podesta, Palmieri, and Mook exchanged a worried glance. Comey could feel his blood pressure rising. He couldn’t believe he was going to have to explain this too.
“Look, geniuses: we want a blowout here. It’s not enough to scrape by with a victory in Wisconsin and Michigan and Pennsylvania, we have to—”
“Pennsylvania doesn’t look good either,” Mook interjected. “He’s pulling cl-, closer?” Mook stuttered, and stopped. Comey was walking around the conference room table, his eyes locked on Mook’s, striding with purpose, arm reaching back as he rounded the corner, his hand striking Mook meatily across the mouth with an open-handed slap when he got to the little nothing’s chair.
Comey, straightening his tie, returned to the other side of the table.
“As I was saying. We don’t want to just scrape by. We want to CRUSH HIM. We want to DESTROY HIS SPIRIT. We want to EVISCERATE HIS CAMPAIGN. And to do this, we need to win one electoral vote in Nebraska. We’re going to pour money into Nebraska. We’re going to spend more money in Nebraska than we are in Wisconsin and Michigan combined.”
Silence echoed throughout the room. Palmieri took notes.
“Good. Now, about Pennsylvania. We’re not going to address voters’ concerns about jobs or manufacturing. That’s kiddie crap. I heard Bill Clinton was carping about our ignoring the white working class? Fuck ’em. And fuck him. Does Bill even know what the word intersectionality means? I’ve got three words for you: Broad City gifs.”
“You want to win elections? You don’t turn out reliable voter bases like middle aged white people. No: you flood Twitter with gifs in the hopes of growing your voting bloc of young people. Everyone knows college kids and recent graduates are totally unreliable voters who can barely be counted on to show up for work without a hangover. What this strategy presupposes is: maybe they aren’t?”
Slowly, Podesta began to nod.
“Jen, you get on the phone with Lena Dunham and Amy Schumer and that British nothing, what’s his, on HBO?”
“John Oliver,” she replied.
“Right, that dong. Get them out there, get them shilling for us. Between them they have like three million viewers; we should spend as much time as possible cultivating their support. Lord knows things like ‘appealing to people who are worried about their economic future’ isn’t going to win anyone a goddamn thing in this election. We need celebrities to hector the people who pay for their entertainment. That will certainly not inspire a backlash and can’t possibly blow up in our face.”
“Got it,” Mook whispered.
Comey glared at Mook and thought briefly about smacking him in the mouth again, just for fun, before turning toward the door. “Don’t make me come back here. Do your jobs. This isn’t rocket science—it’s a presidential campaign.”
The team had their orders. And if they didn’t win? In Jim Comey, they had their fall guy.