Crazy uncles. Most people have one. Many have two or more. They come in all different kinds of varieties. You have the ones who are stuck in a by-gone age, continually saying and doing things that are no longer proper or acceptable. You have the ones who can’t remember five minutes ago, who constantly call you by the wrong name and can’t remember “who you belong to.”
We often love these uncles despite their craziness, you smile through the awkwardness and try to be loving. But nobody would put them in charge of Thanksgiving dinner. In 2020, its increasingly looking like the nation is going to decide which kind of crazy uncle to put in charge of the country.
Donald Trump has relished his role as America’s crazy, politically incorrect uncle. He has very few scruples, says whatever comes to his mind, and often plays fast and loose with traditional ideas of fact and truth. His sense of humor often comes at the expense of others. It’s said his favorite topic is good looking women, the health of his marriage notwithstanding. He has even commented about how good looking his daughter is. He’s often driven to distraction by the soap-opera of the news cycle and spends countless hours on his phone, tweeting his latest outrage. But when it comes to the essential responsibilities of the presidency, he reportedly has a hard time staying focused. Stories of briefings where his eyes glaze over abound.
Not to be outdone, the Democrats are looking seriously at “Uncle Joe” Biden. He is a veritable gaffe machine. His recollections often become jumbled stories with aspects of multiple different actual occurrences all mixed together. He comes off as awkward, and sometimes a little creepy, when he’s trying to be supportive of those around him. His grin has an almost joker quality to it. While more moderate than others in the presidential field, he sometimes can’t decide where he stands on some of the issues. He even retreats from past positions and then talks about those positions as if he hasn’t recently hedged. It’s a wonder whether he has the stamina to finish the campaign, let alone enough remaining mental faculties to run the country.
Back in 2016, it was common to hear the refrain, “These two are the best America can offer?” when talking about Hillary and Trump. Many people are likely to begin repeating this question in 2020. These crazy uncles, either of which could become the oldest man to hold the office of the President, are men who would never get close to the White House in normal political circumstances. But the realities of our political moment seem to have combined perfectly to allow their bizarre ascendancy and credible consideration for leadership (or continued leadership) of the country.
It has all the makings of a good Walter Matthau/Jack Lemmon flick. Too bad the consequences of all of this will likely be no laughing matter.