American Madness

The most absurd statements made by the 2016 presidential candidates

Illustrator: Lizzie Goncharova

Illustrator: Lizzie Goncharova

“Anderson, can I come into this discussion at some point?” Jim Webb spent most of the first Democratic debate complaining about his lack of speaking time, and with the number and caliber of candidates currently in the race for the presidency, it’s no surprise that the candidates have to fight for the spotlight. On the Republican side, the frontrunners are comprised of celebrity businessman Donald Trump and several other outsider candidates, whose forthright and inflammatory comments have earned them both criticism and praise from the divided media. On the Democratic side, the once-assumed shoo-in candidate, Hillary Clinton, is now struggling to maintain her top spot as Bernie Sanders, the 74-year-old senator from Vermont, wins over young Democrats throughout the nation.

The diversity of ages, backgrounds, and personalities of the candidates is to be expected in a field of this size. In an effort to stand out from the sea of competitors, the candidates have each produced some truly amazing quotes on the issues, ranging from the offensive to the downright absurd. Let’s take a look at some of the best, starting with the Republicans.

Donald Trump: “I think the only difference between me and the other candidates is that I’m more honest and my women are more beautiful.” While there is an absolute plethora of absurd Trump quotes out there to choose from, this one sums up his bold personality, egotistic attitude, and misogynistic views very nicely.

 

Ben Carson: 

“ObamaCare is the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery. In a way, it is slavery, because it is making all of us subservient to the government.” Yeah, forced labor and dehumanization is practically the same as the push to get all Americans health insurance. Carson, who lately has surpassed even Trump with his brashness, has quite the collection of senseless quotes under his belt. Some are offensive, such as his insinuation that trauma in prison can cause someone to become gay. Others are pretty fantastic though. Just look at Carson explain why the theory of the big bang doesn’t make any sense: “What you’re telling me is if I blow a hurricane through a junkyard enough times over billions and billions of years, eventually, after one of those hurricanes, there will be a 747 fully loaded and ready to fly.” Yep, you got it. That’s what we’re saying.

 

Jeb Bush: 

“Immigrants are more fertile.” Jeb Bush’s solution to the need to fund social security is to promote immigration, because the immigrants will give us more children to work and pay in. Although probably well-intentioned, because he seems like a nice guy, Bush’s comments come across rather creepy.

 

Rand Paul:

“Just because a couple of people on the Supreme Court declare something to be ‘constitutional’ does not make it so.” Except that is literally what it means.

It is not just the Republicans who have come out with some absurd statements. The first Democratic debate left us with some gems to reflect on as well.

 

Jim Webb, when asked by Anderson Cooper during the first Democratic debate about the enemy of which he was most proud: “I would have to say the enemy soldier that threw the grenade that wounded me, but he’s not around right now to talk to.” Yeah, pretty sinister. Webb made the moment even more intense by pairing this suggestive comment with a frankly terrifying grin. While not the political enemy that I think Cooper was looking for, Webb’s answer certainly leaves an impression.

 

Lincoln Chafee:

“Anderson, you’re looking at a block of granite when it comes to the issues.” Poor Chafee. The “block of granite” comment spawned an unexpected number of memes and jokes at the former governor’s expense, the culmination of a really poor debate performance. Chafee has demonstrated his bold, granite-like politics throughout his campaign. Just look at his strong start to the race: “Here’s a bold embrace of internationalism: let’s join the rest of the world and go metric.” So bold. So inspiring. It’s too bad he’s already dropped out.

 

Hillary Clinton:

“I represent Wall Street as a senator from New York, and I went to Wall Street in December of 2007—before the big crash that we had—and I basically said, ‘Cut it out! Quit foreclosing on homes!’” A strong, decisive command to Wall Street; no wonder she’s on top. It’s rare to find a verbal misstep from the Secretary of State. However, her defense at the debate came across as more of a scolding mother than a stern politician.

With a little over a year until the general election, we look forward to many more amazing sound bites from these natural entertainers.