“Boo!” (AP Photo/Hektor Pustina, File) (HEKTOR PUSTINA/AP)

They say the first 48 hours are the hardest. At first, the adrenaline keeps you going. You console yourself with memories of Fox News’ last-minute factual scramble. Then you begin to realize that a vast electionless expanse stretches before you, during which you will be expected to say insightful-sounding things about policy. The hemlock beckons, but you push it aside.

Then the shakes begin.

It gets worse as the week drags on. Several pundits just lurched past me twitching uncontrollably. I ran into the zooming animated stars that began every newscast about the Countdown to 2012 or 2012 For Real This Time sitting in a bar downing shots and eating pretzels, looking much worse for wear. Even Nate Silver’s models are quivering and have gathered to smoke outside the building.

Fortunately, 2016 is just around the corner, in the same way that Christmas is apparently just around the corner the SECOND Halloween is over.

So here are some of the possible front-runners for the next election, according to a nightmare that I had after eating cheese too close to bedtime the rigorous methodology generally used to assemble such a list. These are my dream candidates, in the sense that they are sort of surreal and probably an indictment of my childhood.


-Chris Christie

-Daniel Day Lewis as Abraham Lincoln

-Daniel Day Lewis as Daniel Plainview, a mineral prospector

-Live bear

-Hologram Ronald Reagan

-Live bear of independent means

-Ghost of Ayn Rand

-Flag pin wrapped in another flag pinned to a larger flag

-Katniss Everdeen

-Giant Hunk of Coal

-Paula Deen

-Wilford Brimley, after a challenging primary against that guy from the easy-insert catheter commercials

-Donut with firearm

-Retiring cop on his last day

-John Philip Sousa

-The Old Testament

-Ron Paul, disguised as the Constitution

-Lugubrious walrus concerned about the direction this country is headed

-Laurence Welk

-Jar Jar Binks

-Not Rick Perry


-2008 Hillary Clinton

-Big Bird

-Drunk Nate Silver

-John Edwards

-Some guy Dave

-Admiral Ackbar

-Ryan Gosling


-Sober Nate Silver

-First mutant candidate

-First gluten-intolerant candidate

-Whole grain

-Slideshow of kittens sitting in cardboard boxes

-Endangered beetle

-The Homosexual Agenda

-Kenyan-born Muslim

-Charles Darwin and Karl Marx, holding hands

-Vengeful ghost of Christopher Hitchens

-The Onion Joe Biden

-Betty White

-Tina Fey as Sarah Palin

-Tina Fey as Tina Fey

-Yoko Ono releasing a butterfly and lighting a thousand dream-candles