In a national, too-many-month-long deliberation to pick the most popular kid on the playground, there is bound to be name calling, someone is going to get their feelings hurt and everyone probably deserves a timeout. While I am hardly informed on the political goings on of the 2016 presidential election, I was certainly a child once and I continue to hear about the strategies of my youth.
All the classic cards have been played and Donald Trump and Marco Rubio are the most public and mean—two desirable “cool kid” qualities. Whether making fun of each other’s makeup, picking on each other’s physical attributes—Trump’s “small hands” and Rubio’s sweating—the attacks are petty and would rile up any group of second graders. Rubio even pulled the classic “Donald peed himself” tactic; a solid, strategic bully move utilized by the youth of America. Short of “your mama” jokes and pulling each other’s hair, Marco and Donald are campaigning without parental supervision.
While Trump and Rubio fight in the sandbox, I would venture to guess Ben Carson skipped recess to extend nap time, Ted Cruz got in trouble for having fireworks in his backpack and John Kasich came down with a cold again and is at home sick. Super Tuesday showed support for Cruz from two friends (states) but it may not be enough for the principal to let him stay in school.
Employing the practice of name calling and smearing in politics, especially—but certainly not limited to—the GOP is not only a silly way to gain media coverage, but it is also a deplorable campaigning tactic that isn’t even new. What’s new is the significantly lower caliber of the derogatory language. While Theodore Roosevelt asserted that President McKinley had “no more backbone than a chocolate eclair,” 2016 has graced us with sophisticated insults like “idiot,” “clown” and “baby.”