And so it begins. The great election of our time.

When this election season got into full gear late last year and in early 2016, between the debates and the primaries, I was super interested.

I watched everything with such a vested interest that I almost became too emotionally involved. But once the primaries started racking up and I saw what direction we were heading in, topped off by the constant flow of divisive rhetoric and back-and-forth name calling, I made the conscious decision to step back.

I decided to stay interested, but to try my best to view the events through the lens of an observer. I already knew how I intended to vote. So nothing between then and November was going to change that.

Instead, I realized that this is a monumental, historic time for America. And I just wanted to pay attention and soak it all in and try to understand both sides of this contentious race.

And what I have realized is that there is no better time to be student of political science in America than right now. If you are in college pursuing that subject, then holy shit, I wish I could be a fly on the wall in your lecture and discussion classes.

Because what is happening in America right now is something that will have its own chapter in history textbooks.

Trump Hillary.png

In those books, we’ll jump from the Bush administration and his ghastly mistakes invading Iraq and Afghanistan, to Obama’s tackling of economic inequality while making amends with long-estranged nations, to now, of which I presume will be given the chapter title of: “What the fuck?”

If there is one bright side, it’s that it is almost over. The Republican National Convention enters its final night on Thursday, and Donald Trump will formally accept his party’s nomination.

It closes a tumultuous week, headlined by Melania’s copycat speech, to Ted Cruz being booed off the stage, to a New Hampshire delegate and adviser for Donald Trump suggesting that Hillary Clinton should be killed by firing squad.

Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, is expected to name her running mate on Friday, and will formally accept the Democratic Party’s nomination next week.

So let’s do this. We’ve built up this election for more than a year, and now we finally have two candidates. There was no open convention, no Bernie miracle. It’s Hillary and Trump.

The first debate will take place in a little over a month at Hofstra University, here on Long Island, less than 10 miles away from where I am writing this.

There of course have been many other things going on in this country recently — racial tension and fear of terrorism has reached a boiling point.

How Americans vote in November will truly set us on a new path. All I ask is that we all take this seriously. There’s no more hypotheticals. No more “we couldn’t possibly elect Donald Trump as president, right?”

We only get one shot at this. Please make an educated decision and think about what America you truly want to live in.

You, my friend, have the ability to alter the future. Choose wisely.

And do not fear. Whichever candidate becomes president, there will still be Pokemon.

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If Ted Cruz can pick a running mate, why can’t I?

Ted Cruz is not going to be president of the United States.

And this isn’t a desperate plea from someone who is in denial — it’s a fact. It is mathematically impossible for Ted Cruz to obtain the prerequisite number of delegates needed prior to this summer’s Republican National Convention.

Amazingly, this incontrovertible truth did not stop him from becoming the first presidential nominee to choose a running mate in Carly Fiorina on Tuesday.

Never mind Fiorina’s clear incompetence to be second-in-command of our country when you consider her track record as a failed business executive and perennial liar regarding a fabricated video that brought unfair controversy upon Planned Parenthood late last year.

Cruz Fiorina.jpgNever mind that Cruz is the first presidential candidate in 40 years to name a running mate before earning his party’s nomination.

Ted Cruz picking his vice president is as meaningful as if I declared myself eligible for the NFL Draft. It’s as meaningful as if I decided I have the ability breathe underwater.

And it’s as meaningful as if I picked my own running mate for the presidential nomination.

Heck, if Ted Cruz is doing it, why don’t we all do it? It could be a fun little Internet game. Choose your running mate. People could play it right after “Choose Which Disney Princess Best Represents You.” And if you can’t think of one, then I’m sure there’s someone in the world with way too much time on their hands that can create a Running Mate Generator.

It’s purely hypothetical and unrealistic, but hey, Ted Cruz just set the precedent. (And no, Ted, that’s precedent with a “c”, not an “s”.)

My decision was an easy one. I select Taylor Swift. And just like that, she’s officially off the board and ineligible to be any one else’s running mate.

How perfect of a choice is she? She’s perfectly amiable, smart, she’s an economic Taylor Swift USA.jpgpowerhouse unto herself, is adored by people of all religions, ethnicities and skin colors, and I don’t care how much you deny it, there is at least one Taylor Swift song for everybody. She’d be the ideal diplomat and representative.

Plus, as a political tandem, you’d get to spend every day of your life alongside Taylor Swift. How cool is that?

I dare the unbound delegates to resist the pull of T-Swizzle. I dare you.

We already know she could handle the pressure. Just watch this recently video filmed by Vogue where she answers 73 highly personal questions in rapid succession. Not once during the unconventional interview does she waver. She answers each question with poise and confidence — which includes one shockingly honest moment when Taylor acknowledges that she became “a lightning rod for slut shaming.”

That’s the type of aplomb and veracity that this country needs. And yes I used a thesaurus to come up with those two words.

Most of all, Taylor is a unifier. She doesn’t degrade immigrants. She doesn’t race bait or mock disabled people.

Taylor, let’s make America great again.

Because we are never, ever, ever … losing an election together.

Force-feeding us a narrative of “who won the debate” is an insult to our intelligence

We are a few days shy from being exactly one year away from voting for our next president, and somehow, we’ve already had three Republican debates. How is this possible.

Even the average American who has a significant interest in politics is not going to be watching all of these debates, let alone the uniformed people who don’t put any thought into it until they walk into the voting booth.

It’s amazing that people are so obsessed with polls. There’s still so much time to go that it does not matter who is winning now. So many issues are going to come to light over the next 12 months that aren’t even being discussed yet.

Republican debate3For example, it took a school shooting to bring gun control to the forefront of these debates. At least for a few minutes. In the months to come, there will be more current events that stir conversation that will have a significant impact on next year’s election. So who cares right now?

That being said, if these candidates want to verbally duke it out on stage, no matter how far in advance of the vote, then we as a general public could benefit from hearing what they have to say. Even just a short snippet of a response to a baited question will give us some indication of what type of politician these candidates are.

But it’s up to us to make up our own minds. One person may love Ted Cruz. Another may hate him. The same goes for Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and all the other candidates who have been put before us.

And yet, minutes after these debates finish, the media takes it upon themselves to tell us who “won” and who “lost.” They decide who had the most defining moments, and who didn’t do a good job distinguishing themselves. And there’s no other room for interpretation.

To me, a successful debate includes people giving insightful, substantive responses to questions about important issues. I don’t care who “stole the spotlight” or who had the best quip. I don’t care if Chris Christie angrily dismissed the significance of fantasy football or if Ted Cruz ridiculed the debate moderators.

When the media declares a winner, it is demeaning and downright insulting, because it comes with the assumption that we as a collective can not make up our own minds. It also assumes that we didn’t watch the debate, and simply wanted to be told afterwards who was the most successful.

Simply knowing who was the winner means absolutely nothing if we don’t know what he or she actually said.

So my challenge to the media is to stop categorizing every debate candidate’s performance, and instead, give us some thoughtful analyses on what the candidates had to say on the important issues. And, for the love of god, refrain from using the words “winners” and “losers.”

In fact, instead of a televised debate, how about next time we have a candidate blog-off?

People would watch that, right?

Another day, another new Twitter application: launching a presidential campaign

What was your first ever Tweet?

I bet it was something like: “Trying this whole Twitter thing out. Not really sure what to think.”

It was before you knew about hash tags, or tagging other people, and you were trying to pretend that you were still too cool for Twitter, and skeptical that it would ever last against other social media juggernauts like Facebook.

Not only has Twitter lasted, it’s become an accepted mechanism for social action. Awareness of certain issues is spread through a tweet; protests are carried out by means of trending tropics; and as of Monday morning, politicians have used it to launch their presidential campaigns.

Ted Cruz“I’m running for president and I hope to earn your support!” wrote Republican Senator Ted Cruz, accompanied by a 30-second video, on his Twitter page just past midnight eastern time.

Not only was he the first to declare a presidential run on Twitter, he’s the first person to declare a presidential run, period, for 2016.

Cruz, 44, a first-term senator from Texas, is ultra conservative, a disciple of the Tea Party movement, and opposes abortion and same-sex marriage. Interestingly, he was born in Canada, but is allowed to run for president because he was considered a U.S. citizen at birth since his mother was a U.S. citizen and lived in the country for more than 10 years.

He’ll get his votes from conservative voters, but at the end of the day, as the New York Times pointed out, he’s a long shot, at best.

But as the underdog, declaring first may be a wise strategic maneuver because he gets first dibs on the publicity that comes with what’s sure to be a tumultuous 2016 election year.

Personally, I’d vote for a Chevrolet Cruze for president before I ever vote for Ted Cruz.

But who saw this coming, several years ago, that Twitter would become a credible tool for making major announcements? It was only a few years ago when EDM artist Deadmau5 proposed to his girlfriend, Kat Von D, via Twitter. They broke up six months later.

And now Ted Cruz uses it to tell us he’s running for president. It makes sense, in theory; the majority of Americans are on Twitter now, and it’s the easiest way to disseminate information in a contemporary, identifiable way. It’s just not very presidential.

But then again, Barack Obama did appear on Between Two Ferns with Zach Galiafanakis, so the standards for “presidential” have lowered somewhat.

What’s next? Are people going to announce their presidential bid on a blog?

Hmm… *thinks for a second*

OK. Ladies and gentlemen, I have an important announcement.

I have an in itch on the bottom of my foot.