This is Not a Joke: Comedian Elected President of Guatemala

In the middle of the cacophony of craziness that is election season, it often seems like our favorite TV personalities have more common sense than the candidates, and we find ourselves wishing they’d run for president (Jon Stewart 2020—make it happen). That fantasy became a reality on Sunday for the people of Guatemala.

A month ago, television comedian Jimmy Morales was polling in at less than one percent. But on Sunday, he won the final election with 70 percent of the vote. Morales has no political experience or definite platform to speak of, but has been described by Guatemalans as “the least worst option,” a glimmer of hope in a nation whose government is notoriously plagued by criminal behavior. Morales conducted his campaign while the most recent scandal, which ended in the resignations of the country’s president and vice-present, was unravelling.

An anti-corruption protest in Guatemala this August

His campaign slogan was simply “Not corrupt, not a thief,” and many Guatemalans voted for him because of his promises to be honest and eliminate corruption. Being a comedian, Morales was in no way tangled up in Guatemala’s seedy political world. But it is important to emphasize the fact that the “least worst” option does not necessarily mean a good one. Morales is an evangelical Christian, and strongly opposes same-sex marriage, abortion, and the legalization of drugs. He has also been accused of racism and sexism, which were featured heavily on his TV show.

And even if his intentions are pure, it will be hard to make any kind of change without dealing with some shady characters. Morales will be inaugurated in January, but only time will tell whether the decision to elect a comedian was a good one or not.

Images via Getty.

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