On Thursday night, after he did a virtual town hall with young Americans, Joe Biden went to bed, sleepily content with his performance. He got to bed easily. No Ambien, not even a Nytol or a warm glass of milk.
He was sleeping like a baby…
Then, at very the stroke of midnight, he awoke to hear a heavy, metallic rattling outside his bedroom door. Upon opening it, he found Hillary Clinton entangled in heavy chains. Along with her was a ghost that looked a lot like Uncle Sam.
Joe was confused and lost for words, which wasn’t unusual. Finally, he spoke: “New workout? Kind of like those weighted rope things at the gym?”
“No, you moron,” Hillary said. “Haven’t you ever read Charles Dickens? ‘A Christmas Carol’?”
“He writes for Politico, right? What a lying, dog-faced pony–“
“Never mind,” Clinton interrupted. “OK, look. These chains are the weight I carry around to atone for my 2016 presidential loss. And I’m here to warn you — you’re in the same trouble I am. I know you think you’re invincible, but you’re not. To demonstrate this, you were supposed to be visited by three specters tonight. However, air travel being what it is right now, the Ghost of Going Too Far Left and the Ghost of Alienating Swing State Voters couldn’t make it. So you’re stuck with the Ghost of Election Gaffes Past.”
The Ghost doffed his cap. “How do you do, sir? Pleased to meet you. We’re going to South Carolina and Oklahoma and Arizona and North Dakota … yeaaaahhhh!“
Hillary tried to nudge the Ghost in the ribs, but the Ghost being ethereal and all, it went right through him. “All right, that’s enough,” Hillary said. “Do what you need to do, Ghost.”
“Right,” the Ghost said. “Come, we’re going to go to New York City on Sept. 9, 2016.”
And so, Biden was whisked off with the Ghost and they were floating above an event at which then-candidate, then-lock for the presidency Hillary Clinton was speaking.
About halfway through her remarks, Biden heard something he vaguely remembered. Biden vaguely remembering something wasn’t exactly a new thing, but he also vaguely remembered it was important, too:
“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right?” he heard Hillary say.
“The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it. And, unfortunately, there are people like that. And he has lifted them up.”
Biden turned to the apparition. “Yeah, she got in some sort of trouble because of this, right? It didn’t come across too well, if I remember correctly.”
“You might say that, yes.”
“So what does this have to do with me, O Ghost?”
The Ghost whisked Biden back to his Wilmington, Delaware, home and plopped him in front of his computer. “Well, let me show you some video from virtual town hall you did last night,” the Ghost said, firing up YouTube:
“Do we really think this is as good as we can be as a nation? I don’t think the vast majority of people think that,” Biden heard himself say. “There are probably anywhere from 10 to 15 percent of the people out there that are just not very good people, but that’s not who we are. The vast majority of the people are decent, and we have to appeal to that and we have to unite people — bring them together, bring them together.”
Biden scrunched up his face in disgust. “Listen, corpse guy,” he said. “Hillary said half, and she used that ‘basket of deplorables‘ malarkey. I just said 10 to 15 percent of Americans ‘are just not very good people.'”
The Ghost sighed, a puff of ethereal dust coming out of his mouth.
“Shouldn’t you be wearing a mask?” Biden said. “Flatten the curve, my man. Unless you’re protesting systemic–“
“All right, look. Here’s the deal,” the Ghost said. “Let’s say that half the voting population breaks down into conservatives and half the population breaks down into liberals. Now, we can obviously assume none of these 10 to 15 percent of people you were talking about were liberals. Therefore, by that math, we can assume that 20 to 30 percent of conservatives, you’re saying, ‘are not very good people.’ And the only reason you didn’t use ‘basket of deplorables’ to describe them is because it’s already taken. It’s not like you’re terribly polite, with that whole ‘pony soldier’ and ‘Look, fat, here’s the deal‘ nonsense.
“And anyway, you’re running for president of the United States. You just called up to 50 million people ‘just not very good’ and then, in nearly the same breath, ‘we have to unite people — bring them together, bring them together.’
“Trump voters are Americans like anyone else, mostly hardworking people who are voting for him because they believe he doesn’t represent entrenched interests like you do and don’t want to pay higher taxes for vague programs they don’t think will work,” the Ghost continued. “With the economy in a shambles because of the coronavirus, they think the guy who had extremely low unemployment and solid economic growth for the first three years of his presidency might be the guy to lead us out of it. They also don’t buy into identity politics.
“This is just another gaffe. You make them all the time and you’re still up in the polls, mind you. But this on top of the whole thing where you told minority voters on a radio show that ‘if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black,’ it doesn’t look good.”
Biden was unimpressed. “Look, this is just one comment. You’re not going to convince me that elections get ruined by malarkey like this all the time. After, Hillary’s issues … hoo boy. We could be here until morning talking about that nonsense.”
“All right, let’s make one more visit,” the Ghost said, and took him back to 2012. There, they found themselves in the corner of a room at what appeared to be a private fundraiser.
“Hey, that’s Ritt Mommy or something, right?” Biden said.
The Ghost shushed him. “That’s Mitt Romney. And over there is a hidden camera. You remember what happens next?”
“Um. We won against him that year, didn’t we?”
There was another heavy, musty sigh. “Just listen.”
“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what,” Romney was saying. “There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it, that that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what.”
Biden turned to the Ghost. “So, the lesson is, if you’re going to make a comment like this, make sure there are no cameras around?”
There was a pause. “A little late for that, in your case. Oh well. I gave it my best shot, Hills.”
With that, the Ghost snapped his fingers, and Biden awoke in the same bed he’d fallen asleep in so soundly just a few hours before.
Disoriented, he turned to his wife and shook her. “Jill! Jill! Wake up, babe! I just had the strangest dream!”
“It’s three in the morning, Joe,” she groaned, rolling over. “This had better be important.”
“It is, it is. You’ll never believe the weird new workout program I dreamt Hillary Clinton is doing …”
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