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I ran into my longtime political consultant, frat buddy, and pollster, Phil A. “Buster” Mignon, who handled numerous campaigns for me when I was an influential international political force. Fortunately, neither of us was hurt in the collision, but his Smart Car was totaled. I lifted its remains into the trunk of my baby blue Edsel.
I had barely pushed the first gear button on my Edsel’s dash before Buster began to bring up the crazy hijinks we pulled off in college while we both pursued advanced degrees in White Privilege Studies. He had me guffawing. And you, of all people, should know how much I love to guffaw.
Buster was much more serious about his WPS major than I. His masters thesis on “The History of the Country Club” became a seminal work in the discipline, as did his Ph.D. dissertation, the vicious polemic “The Scourge of White People Dancing.”
Buster parlayed his notoriety in the WPS world into his political consulting career for white candidates, and even though he doesn’t qualify for membership in my local Mensa club, he can be quite clever at times.
He rose to fame in politics on the wings of his remarkable ability to capture the character of his clients in a single event. His major coups include the 1972 Ed Muskie snow-cry scene, the 1988 Mike Dukakis tank ride, the 1988 Joe Biden “I suspect my IQ is much higher than yours” contretemps, the ear-piercing Al Gore “lock box” sigh in 2000, and the Jean Kerry windsurfing event in 2004. Most recently, Buster wrote the “Deplorables” speech for Mrs. Clinton, for which he received numerous industry awards in Southern California and New York City. He also insisted she sleep 20 hours a day the last two weeks of the campaign to “protect her lead.”
In spite of these notable successes, Buster’s polling subsidiary totally missed the outcome of the Trump election. Buster’s polls showed HRC with a ten point lead nationally on election eve, carrying all of the swing states by large majorities.
“What happened, Buster?” I asked, pretending concern.
“Who knows? Those evil bastards had something to do with it.”
“Naw. Those lying pricks who answer our calls at suppertime. Just shows what kind of moral rot is afoot in the country.”
“You think they intentionally misled your callers?”
“Pretty sure. We’re doing a corroboration poll on that issue right now.”
“What if they lie when they answer the new poll questions?”
“If we find out they’re lying again, we’re turning them over to the Pepsi brothers. They don’t mind killing people.”
“You mean the Koch brothers?”
“Yeah. That’s who I meant. The soft-drink people—the conglomerate Senator Harry Reid blames for everything.” He paused. “I hate to see Harry retire. I did a lot of his message testing. The thing about Romney not paying taxes? That was me.”
“You weren’t the only pollster who got the election wrong.”
“I know. We were all calling the same voters. Turns out there’s only three or four hundred people in the U.S. using land lines anymore. And people don’t talk on their cell phones or listen to voice mail. They just text. It’s why I’m branching out.”
“Diversification is good.”
“Yeah. I just did a poll for one of the big Christian denominations. It appears there are fewer Episcopalians going to heaven now than ever before. And I did a poll for the white mayor of Chicago, C.D. Rahm. We discovered that many of his citizens are against all the murders in Chi-town, including some of the victims. ”
I started to ask how he knew how the victims felt and how he reached the people in heaven, but I didn’t because I knew Buster kept his proprietary trade secrets close to his alpaca vest.
Looking down at Buster, I could only imagine his despair. The missed call on the election had taken its toll on him physically. He had put on a lot of weight, especially evident in his massive cheeks and the quivering wattle under his chin.
“You should take care of yourself,” I said.
“You talking about my weight?” Buster said. “I ain’t depressed. One of my boiler room workers got crossways with someone he polled at 3:00 a.m., and the jerk overreacted. He used a FatBooth app on me and I can’t make it go way. Now all my collars are too damned tight.”
“Hit the undo button,” I suggested.
“That’s what I told Hillary,” Buster said.
Copyright © 2016 Michael Henry