As the US queues at the polls to choose their next aging run-of-the-hill white American male President, in a year that’s made a mockery of its numerical name, I want you to leave the bullying, narcissistic, misogynistic, and frightened candidates behind, Biden and Harris too if you like, and join me in Washington State in 1938, one year before Adolf Hitler starts the next World War.
September in Washington means a little extra rain, some warm sixty-something fall days, and cool sleep-perfect nights. And, in the town of Milton, sitting half way between the capital Olympia and the great city of Seattle, on the north-easterly curve of the Puget Sound, an election is underway, just like it is today.
In this particular election, Boston Curtis is standing for the post of Republican precinct committeeman, a highly important role in the town of around five thousand residents.
While the campaign that Curtis is running is very different from many, it does have similarities to those of the current Republican candidate.
For a start, Curtis stands on no particular manifesto, and it seems enough for people just to know that he is a Republican. He’s never talked policy or plans to anyone, just kicked a lot of dirt up around the other candidates. He hasn't run any ads that talk about any significant plans for the future, just barked a lot of nonsense at whoever would listen.
The fact that Curtis will win this election with the vast majority of the vote, and become the new Republican representative should make us all take note. Not least because Boston Curtis is a sterile old mule, and that could easily happen again in a month's time.
Of course, Boston Curtis wasn’t the first or last non-human to try for political office.
In 1968, as the Vietnam war that Lyndon B Johnson vowed not to lose raged on, and Conservative politician Enoch Powell told Britain that immigration would cause ‘rivers of blood’, and Pierre Elliott Trudeau became my own Prime Minister, in Canada, Pigasus the Immortal began his run for the office of President of the United States.
Unlike Saucisse the Dachshund, who began life as a mangy, trashy dog who wandered aimlessly, before finding fame as a reality TV celebrity, and finishing a sixth in the 2001 Marseille mayoral elections, Pigasus had no celebrity-status head-start in his Presidential run. Pigasus was convinced to enter the political arena by several members of the Youth International Party, who sent Phil Ochs, the sharp-witted protest singer, to communicate with him at length over a bag of old cabbages, and buy his services by bribing the farmer who owned him.
Old cabbages may have been enough to keep Pigasus happy as he launched his campaign, but for other candidates, like Clay Henry, brassicaceae wouldn’t have cut it. Henry, while serving as the Mayor of Lajitas, Texas, was often criticized for spending too much time doing activities that were not part of his official duties, including grunting, kicking, and consuming huge quantities of alcohol.
The fact that he would drink from a water-feeder pinned to the wall of his office, or from a beer bottle placed directly in-between his yellowing teeth, just showed how uncommitted Henry was to his public duties, and despite being a goat, was heavily criticized.
His Mayoral reign ended when his son, Clay Henry Junior, assassinated him brutally in his living room-cum-bathroom-cum-kitchen and, in a very nepotistic move, was appointed as the new mayor. Junior, however, was not up to the position and died in office, only to be replaced by Clay Henry III, blurring the lines between cronyism and political professionalism, lines which are as hard to recognize now as then.
Once confirmed as a candidate at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Pigasus, whose name was derived from the phrase ‘when pigs can fly’, requested, through his colleagues one assumes, the protection of the US Secret Service and to attend White House foreign policy briefings. However, it was during his inaugural speech that he and several of his colleagues were arrested, though the charges were later deemed to be hogwash, and all campaign members were eventually released on their own recognizance, after they each had posted a twenty-five dollar bond.
While Pigasus was denied access to the Whitehouse on the grounds of being a large, ugly pig, many have been able to take up office despite these traits.
The 1958 Sao Paulo city council elections saw the candidate Cacareco elected to office. Though somewhat brash and heavy-footed, he appeared a leader with substantial political weight behind him to tackle what he saw as inherent corruption in the institution of the Government. Like some candidates in this month's US election, he was thick-skinned, given to charging clumsily into everything in his way, and trod on a lot of toes. Unlike Donald Trump though, he was a rhinoceros.
Meanwhile, Pigasus and his campaign colleagues were charged with disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, and bringing a pig to (or, traveling to, in the pig's case) Chicago, and at the Chicago Seven conspiracy trial all (except Pigasus who was separated and imprisoned) were questioned about Pigasus. Unlike many other politicians running for Presidential office, the seven testified that from the start Pigasus had been briefed very seriously on his role and was fully-prepared for his campaign run, though his campaign slogan of ‘Make America Grunt Again’ is mere speculation.
Another candidate whose slogan was key to his campaign was Tiao, who used the tagline ‘Vote monkey, get monkey’, and not only ran in the 1988 mayoral race in Rio de Janeiro, but garnered over four-hundred thousand votes. Rather than aping anyone else, Tiao was an honest candidate and worked really hard to convince swing voters of his merit.
Even when some candidates technically win the election, they still don’t get to take up political office. Like Al Gore in 2000 or Hilary Clinton eight years later, or Barsik the Cat in 2015.
The cat ran for mayor in the Siberian city of Barnaul, against six human candidates, and still managed to win ninety-one percent of the vote. Barsik’s slogan was the rather predictive ‘Only mice don’t vote for Barsik’, and even though he gave several interviews that were far more sensible than some we’ve seen recently, he was not allowed to take office due to being a feline, and thus not able to lie.
Of course, as often happens when candidates are unsuccessful, Pigasus the Immortal wasn’t in fact immortal at all. His life after his Presidential run remains a mystery, though the most obvious fate may be the right one, according to several sources, including port and cranberry.
And it should serve as a warning for the upcoming election.
Whether you’re a sterile old mule, a trashy reality TV celebrity, a nepotistic old goat susceptible to cronyism, an ape trying desperately to convince swing voters, or a pussy with Russian ties, there is always a chance you won’t be able to save your own bacon.