Ranking the Top 10 Republican Candidates from Scary to Scariest
Obviously our minds were in a spooky place after Halloween weekend, but the holiday season isn’t the only thing filling us with dread. Our minds are still reeling from the utter shitshow of last week’s Republican debate, an all-too frequent event that is inevitably more horrifying than any slasher film.
While we’re all pretty familiar with the faces of this campaign–looking at you, the Donald–do any of us actually know what these people stand for other than screaming, yelling, and a wall for the Mexican border? What will these people actually do if they reach the highest office in the land? With exactly one year to go before Election ’16, and even less time until the GOP names a victor from it’s current Hunger Games-like nomination process, we’re ranking the top 10 Republican candidates and their policies from scary to scariest.
While “normal” is a word with some loaded connotations, it feels safe to say that Kasich is the most “normal” candidate being offered up in this primary. His platform is one that closely mirrors the standard conservative template: pro-guns, pro-life, a more aggressive military stance, etc. And on top of all that, he has a comprehensive economic plan that he’s dubbed the The Kasich Action Plan, a strategy to reform job creation that is ten times more specific than any of the other Republican candidates.
SCARE METER: Not really scary! If anything, he’s more forgettable than scary. If he were a villain he would be someone innocuous, like a grouchy school principal in a Disney Channel movie.
Fiorina suddenly became a viable candidate after being quick to sass in the past two debates, but her campaign platform is dangerously thin. Aside from repeated metaphors that equate her time as CEO of Hewlett-Packard to presidential leadership, she has hardly any specific policies to speak of. What is clear is her commitment to Christianity, one she pledges to incorporate into federal government under her control. Any of her other opinions, like foreign policy or anything that’s not about money, is anyone’s guess.
SCARE METER: Barely registering. I have relatives who would make scarier decisions in the White House than Fiorina. If she were a villain, she would be that grouchy business executive who wants to tear down the kids’ favorite hangout, like the guy in The Goonies or Liar Liar. Like, just quit it and let us play.
Like Kasich, Christie falls into the mold of a cookie-cutter conservative. He loves guns and he hates ObamaCare, but Christie has some surprisingly innovative rhetoric regarding issues like prison reform and our relationship with the police. What makes him a potentially frightening candidate for president is his stance on immigration, one that falls very much in line with Donald Trump. Christie’s wall may not be as big and beautiful as the Donald’s, but he has called for “border walls where appropriate” and the removal of funding for entire cities that are “sanctuary cities” harboring illegal aliens.
SCARE METER: A Christie presidency would be unpleasant at times, but when weighed against his more progressive policies, it’s doable. If he were a villain he would be Professor Snape. The guy has some real attitude problems, but ultimately ain’t all bad.
Are there enough words to describe the insanity of this man’s campaign? Probably not, but here goes nothing. Donald’s well-publicized plan for a “big, beautiful wall” that divides the US-Mexican border, paid for by Mexico no less, is ambitious–too ambitious to ever be realized. But should Trump succeed in becoming president, expect some serious reverse legislation on gun control; he is a firm believer in blaming the mental health system for gun issues. He also has developed a comprehensive tax plan that centers jobs back in America without changing the current rates of corporate interest at all. On a lighter note, he has made it a priority to address the needs and care of our veterans, which is surprisingly noble compared to some of his other interests.
SCARE METER: A Trump presidency would certainly be laughable, but compared to his competitors, his reign in office wouldn’t be too horrifying. If he were a villain he would be like Mrs. Hannigan from Annie: loud and angry, but pretty easy to elude.
It’s easy to like Marco Rubio. His started-from-the-bottom underdog story is legitimately heart-warming, and he brings a much-needed dose of reality into the often cartoonish Republican primary. He is also one of the only candidates who has taken a firm stance on keeping the Internet out of federal regulatory control, something that might be attributed to his younger age. What is concerning is his stance on foreign policy, one that would further heighten tensions with Iran. He also is gun crazy, both at home and abroad, and proud of his concealed weapon permit—a God given right, of course—and of the belief that our defense spending is dangerously low, despite the fact that the US military is still larger than these seven countries combined.
SCARE METER: Rubio as a president is mildly concerning. His relationships with other, more volatile nations could very well spell apocalyptic doom, but at home his policies would be conservative leaning, but generally fine. If he were a villain he would be like Frankenstein’s monster: capable of some serious damage, but also someone you could pick flowers with.
Though his campaign website lists multiple platforms, the most unique thing Bush has going for him is that he’s the only Bush that wears glasses and speaks fluent Spanish. Like Trump, he has placed an emphasis on border security, but he’s not about to build a wall. And like everyone ever, he has “vowed to fight” corruption in Washington with little to no strategy. What would make a Bush (the third) presidency truly frightening is his commitment to an energy plan that runs counter to any kind of progressive environmental policy. His plan to beef up our federal cybersecurity system is also terrifying: it has the potential to take governmental reach in the virtual world to untold levels.
SCARE METER: Pretty scary, to be honest. The Earth truly can’t afford a president with policies that would further damage the environment, let alone a president who would turn the US government into a real life Game of Thrones by keeping it all in the family. If he were a villain he would be Darth Vader: irrevocably tied to protect family interests, despite his better judgment.
Rand’s policies are a very interesting, and kind of strange, mix of incredibly conservative and kind of cool. He wants to completely abolish federal surveillance on the Internet a la Edward Snowden… cool. He’s also in favor of lax regulation on marijuana… also cool. He’s even introduced legislation that would limit the number of terms a politician can serve in office. That said, his stance on issues like abortion and equal marriage rights are positively medieval, not to mention his support of dangerous environmental policies like the Keystone XL Pipeline and ridiculously staunch opposition of any kind of gun control.
SCARE METER: You take the good with the bad, but Paul’s bad is particularly nasty. A Paul presidency wouldn’t be that fun, and would result in a lot of difficult policies for minority communities, and women. If he were a villain he would be Alex from A Clockwork Orange: weirdly likeable in some ways, and absolutely despicable in others.
You expect a certain amount of fanaticism from a former governor turned evangelical radio host, but Huckabee puts a whole new meaning to the word ‘fanatic.’ The issue that he remains most vocal on is the outlawing of gay marriage, a position that his campaign website affirms as “the Biblical position, the historical position, and the right position.” The denial of rights to the LGBT community is the cornerstone of Huckabee’s campaign, but he is also a staunch believer that our current government has ruined our chance “to create jobs and a strong economy” by preventing things like the Keystone XL Pipeline and further production of fossil fuels.
SCARE METER: Pretty high, a Huckabee presidency would advance, not deter, the destruction of our planet and natural resources and work actively to deny millions of Americans their fundamental rights. If here were a villain, he would be the asshole from Avatar: fiercely violent against harmless peoples with wanton abandon for the natural world.
Despite his quiet, calming grandfather demeanors, a Carson presidency is a liberal’s waking nightmare. Many of his policies leave a lot to the imagination; his position on tax reform is that our current tax code is “an abomination” and he leaves it at that, and he says ObamaCare is “a looming disaster,” and favoring a system where each family invests in health care via private accounts. As for his other policies, he favors outright aggression with Russia, a firm support of Israel despite the atrocities against Palestine, keeping more federal prisons open, zero tolerance on abortion, and, perhaps most frighteningly, indoctrination of the Christian faith back into the public sphere of schools and lawmaking. This is from the man who outright said a Muslim should never be allowed to run for president.
SCARE METER: Frankly, pretty terrifying. A country led by Carson would be a highly right-wing theocracy and would lead to more overseas aggression and staunchly conservative policies at home. If he were a villain he would be Dr. Hannibal Lecter: talkative and charming when you’re sharing a glass of wine, but frighteningly dangerous when given any power. Plus they both have their PHD’s.
He’s charismatic, he’s tough, and his opinions on the future of our country are some of the most terrifying of any candidate. Firstly, Cruz stands for religion. By expressing his religious right, he has vowed to undo every one of our newfound laws protecting freedom of marriage, enact witch hunts to destroy any current legislation that allows abortion, and has accused any lawmakers who have supported these decisions as “renegade.” He is also in support of more military spending, more aggressive foreign policy, abolishing the IRS, and removing ObamaCare, as it threatens the ability of small business to grow, and he is calling on “courageous conservatives” everywhere to “help him fight government.”
SCARE METER: This man is the goddamn end of days. Queer individuals would have their rights actively taken away from him at home and his foreign policy spells disaster. If he were a villain he would be Leatherface: acting without any reason or logic, simply swinging his chainsaw into America’s waiting chest.
Images via Getty Images, Reuters, State Press