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Having learned nothing from the 2008 US presidential election, America decided to have another one.
In November 2008, Barack Obama was elected as the nation's first black president (Morgan Freeman doesn't count). With Obama possessing the largest popular mandate since 1988, the Republicans decided to recognise this and constructively work with him. Then after wiping the laugh spittle off their monitors they decided to criticise everything from the way he took the presidential oath on out. Republicans spent the next 4 years complaining that Obama was a gay atheist socialist extremist, while Democrats spent the next 4 years complaining that he wasn't.
Obama decided to reform healthcare, something that no American president has ever failed at doing, except all of them. The plan was scuppered with the death of Ted Kennedy, the Republicans pointing out that him having healthcare hadn't stopped him from dying, and Republican supermodel Scott “Charlie” Brown won Massachusetts by using his abs to blind all the Democratic voters into not finding the polling stations. This was followed in 2010 by the Republicans winning everything everywhere with the 'help' of the Tea Party movement and its unerring ability to find Republican candidates who were certain to win, and then primarying them.
Then Obama killed Osama, a headline that confused Fox News proofreaders for the next six months.
Speculation over the Republican nominee for the 2012 presidential election began five minutes before the Big Bang. The Republicans proceeded to host an entertaining and colourful series of primaries for months and months before just nominating the runner-up from last time, like they do every bloody presidential election. This man was well-known Reed Richards cosplayer “Oven” Mitt Romney, a millionaire billionaire and a Mormon, two facts that would be endlessly repeated by the media for the next 18 months due to being unable to find anything else of note to say about him. The only thing that came close was that he tied his dog to the roof of his car. But, as the Republicans pointed out, Obama eats them. “Obama eats cars?” the Democrats wittily responded. “Of course, why else did you think he bailed out GM, otherwise he'd have starved” pointed out the Republicans.
The Republican Party decided on some new primary rules to make things more interesting, such as making the results more proportional and also only opening the primaries to candidates with names that passed a certain threshold of silliness. Gary Johnson, the man with the most stereotypically average name in the United States, was therefore barred from standing. Grumpily saying he would start his own party with blackjack and hookers, he ended up standing for the Libertarians instead. The remaining candidates were not the Republicans' A-list, who stayed out. Indeed, the primaries were basically a fight between Mitt Romney and nothing. Unfortunately, nothing kept winning. The nothing consisted of:
'Herman Cain', the man with the name of a James Bond villain, who some suspected was actually John McCain with a slightly different alias, having decided that the only reason Obama beat him in 2008 was race and thus having had a race-change operation to compete. However it transpired that this was not true and Cain was in fact a pizza magnate. This was ridiculed because the chance of pizza playing a decisive role in the election was of course remote and Cain had no relevant experience–of course he still ended up leading in the polls at some point due to having the most important qualification, i.e. not being Mitt Romney. Cain also had a plan to solve the economy by dialling 999 and asking the British NHS to give everyone healthcare instead. He dropped out of the primaries after it transpired he had slept with every woman in the USA that Clinton hadn't gotten to first;
'Newt Gingrich', who sounds like an amphibious war criminal and is best known for being crazily intransigent towards a Democratic president before it was cool, gaining him the hipster vote. Gingrich also advocated a moonbase, and it says something depressing about modern American politics that in context that sounds like a joke rather than a serious policy. He would also have been the first Alternate Historian president, relevantly for AH.com. Despite having had more sequential marriages than Mitt Romney's grandfather had concurrent ones, Gingrich still managed to win South Carolina and Georgia due to having the most important qualification of not being Mitt Romney;
'Rick Santorum', AH.com's favourite enemy from circa 2006, who would have never been a credible presidential candidate except for the fact that he was not Mitt Romney. Romney tried to play whack-a-mole with him with a hammer made out of money, but Santorum kept popping up over and over again with his sweater vest before finally deciding to stop trolling him and call it a day;
'Michelle Bachmann', who dropped out after Iowa after it was pointed out that her name wasn't silly enough and the rules stipulated that you could not compensate by being extra crazy in other ways;
'Jon Huntsman', AH.com favourite, who despite actually being conservative was tarred with the brush of acknowledging that Obama was president and the outside world existed, and soon dropped out due to the fact although he was not Mitt Romney, he was similar enough that this was not obvious;
'Rick Perry', an early frontrunner who forgot what was the third government department he would cut and ended up cutting himself out of the consideration instead;
'Ron Paul' (R-Internet), whose existence the media rarely acknowledged and who spent most of the primaries infiltrating ninjas into the delegation process. At the Convention these ninjas would reveal themselves and hurl shurikens at the nominee so Paul got it instead. However over the course of the primaries, in a heartwarming story it turned out that Paul was the only person in America who actually liked Mitt Romney, so this plan didn't come off. Paul instead decided to remind people of how closely he complied with the original principles of the American Constitution as envisaged by the Founding Fathers by letting his son succeed him as leader of the dynasty.
Of course the most important part of the primaries was the epic bet between Thande and Mowque, which Mowque won by realising that the obvious fact that the primaries were indicating that nobody at all liked Mitt Romney would not stop the Republicans from nominating him.
When the nomination was finally settled, the campaign itself began. Mitt Romney decided to appease disgruntled Ron Paul supporters by making his VP somebody of the same ethnic group as Paul–people with two first names instead of a first name and surname. Paul Ryan therefore became the VP candidate, at least until he was hospitalised after being beaten to a pulp by Joe Biden and thus vanished from the airwaves for the remainder of the campaign. Clint Eastwood shouted at an empty chair which Romney offered to fill with one of the women from out of the collection he had pressed in binders. The American ambassador in Benghazi was killed by a mob, after which Romney complained that Obama had not provided enough horses and bayonets to protect him from terrorists. Obama had a disappointing debate performance due to being possessed by the ghost of John Denver and then a better two. The media constantly went on and on about how close it was. Meanwhile Nate Silver quietly pointed out that at no point across the whole campaign had Romney led, and was promptly ignored. Then on election night Obama won by a sizeable amount and the media pointed out how surprising it was, causing TV viewing figures in AH.com households to drop overnight due to the number of bricks thrown at TV screens.
Far more importantly from an AH.com perspective, in Massachusetts Scott “Charlie” Brown had the football pulled away from him by Elizabeth Warren, an actual proper left-wing person, in America, no really. A new era seems set to dawn, at least until the next election puts everything back again like it always does. And let the 2016 speculation begin!