McDonald’s is the butt of a lot of jokes. Especially ones that involve tacky, horrible, ugly things that people still buy anyway. Comedian Jim Gaffigan has a whole routine on his embarrassing love for McDonald’s:
I reference McDonald’s a lot ’cause I go to McDonalds. I love the silence that follows that statement—like I just admitted to supporting dog fighting or something. “How could you? McDonald’s?” It’s fun telling people you go to McDonald’s. They always give you that look like, “Oh. I didn’t know I was better than you.” No one admits to going to McDonalds. They sell six billion hamburgers a day. There’s only 300 million people in this country. It’s like, “Hmm … I’m not a calculus teacher, but I think everyone’s lying.” Have you ever been to McDonald’s, and you see a friend for a second? You’re like, “Oh, crap.” Eventually you’re like, “Hey, Hey, What’s going on?” They’re like, “I’m just here for the 99 cent ATM. What are you doing here, Jim?”
“I’m just meeting a hooker. Certainly not eating here. That’s for sure. Yeah. He should be here by now.”
’Cause we all should know better by now, right? We’ve all read the articles, seen those documentaries. It’s the same message, “Look. McDonald’s is really bad for you. It’s really high in fat and calories. And we don’t even know where the meat comes from.” And we’re like, “That’s disgusting. I’ll have a Big Mac, a large fry, and a two gallon drum of Diet Coke.” Because there’s a McDonald’s denial. We all embrace it. No one’s going in there innocent.
Akin to the McDonald’s denial is the Trump denial that’s going on in the GOP. Apparently people are too embarrassed to say they support Trump even though they have already quietly and privately decided to vote for him. Don’t believe me? How about this telling survey:
We [Morning Consult] interviewed 2,397 registered Republicans and Republican-leaning independents over a week in mid-December and varied how they completed the survey [on whether they support Trump for president]. Respondents started the survey online, and about one-third continued to answer questions about Trump and other Republican primary candidates online. Another third answered those same questions with a live interviewer on the phone, and the final third answered the questions with an automated voice on the phone, known as interactive voice response (IVR).
Thirty-eight percent of people who answered questions on the internet chose Trump for president, compared with 32 percent who chose him on the phone with a live interviewer and 36 percent who answered questions via an automated voice on the phone. That six point difference was not seen with other candidates between the different polling methods. Ted Cruz, for example, did about 2 points better on live telephone, as did Ben Carson. Jeb Bush had no difference between the methods.
And it turns out that the online versus in-person spread just got worse the more educated you were. The only people who were unembarrassed to tell other human beings that they actually wanted the Trump in the Oval Office were people who had a high school education or less.
You could say there are a number of reasons for this. Maybe a lot of college-educated people are superficial, snobby, or overly sensitive to political correctness. But that doesn’t really explain why other candidates like Cruz and Carson had a equal support anonymously and over the phone. They’ve said some rather embarrassing things too, remember?
No, this is more akin to the McDonald’s denial. People know Trump is bad for them and bad for the country. They know he’s a bombastic, ideologically bankrupt, self-obsessed demagogue. But when that deep-fried bloviation first hits your ears? It’s like that first McDonald’s french fry. It might be wrong. It certainly can’t be reheated or revisited. But it feels so right in the moment. Just don’t tell anybody about it. Because you’re supposed to be on a diet.
Honestly, the 2016 election is turning out to be the year where, as a nation, we become a little more open about our shameful ignorance and political idiocy. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are desperately trying to get Americans to just let it all hang out. And if it ends up being Trump vs. Hillary, 2016 will represent the inaugural year of our country’s unabashed national humiliation. It will seal our fate as an international laughing stock, a ridiculous effigy of our former glory, a scarecrow nation of ideologically inbred, entitled infants.
We might as well just put a dunce cap on the Statue of Liberty, turn the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool into a mixed use open-air urinal and watering hole, install some super-sized Truck Nutz™ at the base of the Washington Monument, and remodel the White House into another local area Hooters. You know. Just to get it all over with.