“I have seen the future, and it is death.” This gloomy truism, though it be as irresistible as the flow of time, never resonates for me, never really rings, until the suffocating freeze of winter makes its annual descent upon New Hampshire. Only in this state of seasonal paralysis, when those who are not thwarted by the snow will split their own skin in the sadistic winds blowing them back, is death a tangible force, even as it remains an abstract concept. We steel ourselves against the lethal chill and remind ourselves we will survive it, but so, too, do we ask ourselves: “For how much longer?” The year, at least, will not endure for more than a number of weeks, and with the end of this year, we will see the demise of more than one presidential campaign.
With so many Democrats competing for their party’s blessing, it’s been tough to keep track of who has dropped out, even among the bottom tier. A week ago, I was stunned and somewhat queasy to learn that John Delaney is still in the race, even after twenty-eight months of existential irrelevance and the shocking absence of pretended principles, even. I was much less surprised, but also much more disgusted, to learn that Michael Bennet was still in the race as of Saturday, December the 7th. While Delaney is a crude caricature of the sexless Washington sleazeball, his incurably awkward manner seems to have stopped everyone from buying into his scam. Bennet, on the other hand, has mastered the art of pretending to be one of the people, evincing a convincingly gregarious warmth that is associated exclusively with the down-to-earth. He swindles people, even those who know he and Delaney stand the same chance of becoming president.
Certainly, Bennet isn’t the first politician to don inexpensive threads, slump his shoulders, and try to pretend he’s an average joe. This populist masquerade, while obscenely disrespectful to middle- and working-class citizens who lack Bennet’s $16 million net worth, did not begin when this man set foot on the floor of the United States Senate. Nor is he the first millionaire to pose for ridiculous pictures in front of mountaintops to play the role of a rugged commoner; as a New Hampshirite, I am all too conversant with this cheesy practice. Nevertheless, I have an exceptional contempt for Bennet, not because there is anything unique to his chicanery, but because he distinguished himself in the mass persecution of Julian Assange.