It has been a terrible campaign that has debased us all and left an eternal stain on the American democratic tradition. But there were also moments so absurd that they transcended mere farce to enjoy a kind of comic immortality. Granted, these moments mostly occurred during primary season, when the Republican clown car took center stage and a Donald Trump presidency seemed less of an imminent threat. But as we wait white-knuckled for this campaign to finally come to an end, it’s worth revisiting this happier time. Here is a totally objective list of 2016’s best moments:
1) Jeb Bush tries to throw a snowball: A list of Jeb’s foibles alone would be virtually endless, but for me his inability to make and throw a snowball really stands out for its sheer haplessness.
2) Chris Christie jams Marco Rubio’s frequency: Christie’s story took a darker turn once Trump won the nomination, but he will also always be remembered as the hero who destroyed Marcobot’s candidacy by pouring cold water all over his motherboard.
3) Ted Cruz steals a line from The American President: He used it to defend his wife Heidi from the Trump campaign’s attacks. The other great Cruz moment came when he said his favorite cheese was “all of them.”
4) Martin O’Malley’s holiday wish list: Between mugging naughtily for the camera and constantly reminding voters of his name, O’Malley never hit it off with Democratic primary voters. But the low point came when his campaign had to beg for pens.
6) Ben Carson gets a fresh set of clothes: Like Jeb, Carson could fill a list all by himself with his stumbles and odd musings. Let’s not forget the time he said the Star of David is on the dollar bill (it isn’t), or when he waxed apocalyptic about nuclear attacks in the exoatmosphere! But nothing beats him taking a break from his campaign to change his clothes.
7) Bernie Sanders’s facial expressions: The side eye meme will basically live forever.
8) Hillary Clinton defends her ties to Wall Street because 9/11: In which our likely president gets marks for pure chutzpah.
9) John Kasich crowns himself the Prince of Light and Hope: Kasich’s other great moment was when he revealed he was hip to those parties where young people serve “bowls of pills.”
10) That time Patricia Lockwood took over The New Republic Twitter account and tweeted at Donald Trump: Okay, it gave me a heart attack, too. But a near-death experience is basically the story of this campaign.