New Alternate History Novel Debuts In Which Donald Trump Wins 2016 Election

by Mark Saporta, Counterfactual Correspondent


To widespread popular acclaim, beloved alternate history author I. T. T. Line released his third and most detailed work to date earlier this week. Titled Make America Great Again, the novel delves into a thorough examination of an alternate 2016 election in which businessman Donald J. Trump defeats Hillary Clinton and becomes the 45th President of the United States.

The real 2016 election was, of course, a subdued affair. After attaining a massive early financial lead, Jeb Bush steamrolled his primary opponents and was a lock for the Republican nomination by February. For her part, Hillary Clinton ran nearly unopposed for the Democratic nomination, easily winning every state. The general election was then relatively genteel and policy-focused, in contrast to the vicious elections of the last twenty years, and Clinton/Booker defeated Bush/Walker by a comfortable margin of four points.

In Make America Great Again, Line asks readers to consider a completely different and in some ways diametrically opposed reality. In his book, the Republican primary is thrown into chaos as Trump bombastically joins the fray in the summer of 2015. Starting from his announcement speech, he publicly shows no regard for consistent and feasible policy positions, the well-being of anyone who isn’t a white male, or even basic human decency itself. Nonetheless, he rises and rises in the polls, running roughshod over a slate of candidates from across the Republican spectrum and a party apparatus that can’t seem to muster a defense. In the meantime, Clinton finds herself in an unexpectedly difficult race against an unexpected opponent: 73-year-old democratic socialist Bernie Sanders.

The action only continues once both Clinton and Trump are officially nominated, with the former facing down a persistent scandal concerning proper handling of classified material and the latter lurching from massive gaffe to massive gaffe (without spoiling too much, it is worth mentioning that the words “grab them by the pussy” feature near the end of the book). Despite three clear debate victories, a far superior campaign, and the wholehearted support of the increasingly popular sitting president, Clinton’s early lead tightens to three points by November.

Finally, in the climax of the novel, Trump defies the expectations of pollsters, politicians, and the media alike by pulling off a small but solid Electoral College lead and nearly tying the popular vote. The book ends with his victory speech early on November 9th, deliberately leaving the reader uncertain about what’s next for this alternate America.

Naturally, this timeline is incredibly implausible; Line admits as much in the preface. Nevertheless, Make America Great Again is an excellent read for anyone looking for in-depth alternate history, a view into the dark depths of the American psyche, or even just a good political thriller.

Mark’s Review: 4.5/5 Highly Recommended

Report: aaaaaaaaaaa

by Daaaaaaaaaaaniel Bork

According to a late-breaking series of reports following the results of Tuesday’s presidential election, aaaaaaaaaaa. Commenting on the unexpectedly large electoral college margin of victory for the Republican candidate despite receiving fewer popular votes, Democratic campaign chair John Podesta observed “aaaaaaaaaaa.” As the election’s result became clear early Wednesday morning, the Democratic candidate was too consumed by aaaaaaaaaaa to concede the race. Instead, Podesta addressed her supporters, delivering a sober assessment of the candidate’s precarious path to victory by confirming that, indeed, aaaaaaaaaaa. Shortly afterwards, the states of Aaaaaaaaaaa and Pennsylvania were called for the Republican, sending him to the White House and Democratic voters into paroxysms of aaaaaaaaaaa.

On the economic outlook following the election, Paul Krugman of the New York Times reported that the odds of a global aaaaaaaaaaa have spiked in the last 24 hours. On the question of whether the odds of aaaaaaaaaaa were likely to increase or decrease should campaign finance chair and ‘Suicide Squad’ executive producer Steven Mnuchin be appointed Treasury Secretary, Krugman equivocated. “Aaaaaaaaaaa. However, aaaaaaaaaaa,” assessed Krugman, clearly weighing the inexperience of Mnuchin against the possibility of a yet less qualified appointee. “*incoherent sobbing*” added Krugman, upon realizing that the likely front-runner for EPA administrator, Myron Ebell, was an aaaaaaaaaaa denialist who, if appointed, would likely roll back decades of aaaaaaaaaaa regulations.

The victory of the Republican came as a surprise to polling aggregators, many of whom confidently predicted a Democratic win and were stunned Wednesday morning when, instead, aaaaaaaaaaa. One exception to this was the FiveThirtyEight model, which had controversially diverged from the conventional wisdom by predicting a considerable chance of aaaaaaaaaaa throughout the cycle. “Aaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaa,” remarked its vindicated founder Nate Silver on his site’s return to pre-eminence. At press time, sources reported that aaaaaaaaaaa had again retweeted Silver’s predicted men-only electoral map, along with the caption, “#Aaaaaaaaaaa.”

This Article is About Making Sandwiches, Not the 2016 Presidential Election

by Mark Saporta, Meatbread Enthusiast


Your political correspondent has decided that we as a nation have heard more than enough about the forthcoming presidential election, and has therefore opted to write an article about something else.

Instead of adding to the crush of stories, thinkpieces, and polling analyses, some of them written by him, about this horrendous failure of democracy, he is writing about a subject of personal interest: how to make a good sandwich.

The first thing to consider when making a sandwich is the bread. Many people content themselves with bagged, pre-sliced white bread, never knowing the true joy that comes from bread that doesn’t suck. If you can, go to a bakery, or at least the bakery counter at your local supermarket, and get a loaf of something that appeals to you.

You may have noticed that the last two sentences were mostly about making sandwiches, and not very much about the 2016 presidential election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. This will continue to be the case for the remainder of the article.

Once you’ve chosen your bread (your correspondent recommends sourdough), the next step is to figure out what meat to put on it. Obviously, this owes a lot to personal discretion, but the current FiveThirtyEight Sandwich Forecast shows that there is over an 80% chance that using roast beef is a good idea and only about a 20% chance that ham would work better. It should be noted, however, that the trend line in most national polls has been slightly favorable towards ham since the third debate, and the fact that roast beef is reportedly once more under investigation by the FBI probably won’t help its poll numbers.

Of course, there are also vegetarian options if you’re opposed to eating meat, but all of them are currently languishing at five percent or less in the polls. Interestingly, there is a non-negligible chance that portobello mushrooms win the state of Utah, which would be the first time a vegetarian option has won a state since George Wallace in 1968.

Now that you’ve chosen your bread and meat, there are two further things to consider: toppings and spread. Toppings run statewide every six years; here in Pennsylvania, provolone cheese is running a couple points ahead of the Republican incumbent, Swiss. In contrast, spread runs district-wide every two years. In Pennsylvania’s 14th Congressional District, which contains Pittsburgh, pesto is once again running unopposed.

And there you have it: bread, meat, toppings, and spread. The makings of a great nation. Erm, sandwich.

Your political correspondent hopes you enjoyed this break from the unending torrent of presidential election commentary. Even as an avid watcher of politics, he understands that most people find it depressing, even nauseating, especially when it’s the only thing anyone is talking about. If you do feel that way, here is his advice: the next time you get sick of hearing about this election, just go to the polls and make yourself a nice sandwich instead.

Election Night Drinking Game

by Mark Saporta, Politicoholic

Eds. note: readme is not responsible for any illness or injury that may result from actually doing this. Play drinking games published in satirical newspapers at your own risk.

1. For each state Trump wins, take shots equal to that state’s electoral college votes, divided by 10, times the most recent decimal probability that Clinton wins that state on FiveThirtyEight. (ex: Ohio has 18 electoral votes, and Clinton has roughly a 50% chance of winning it, so if Trump wins Ohio, take (18/10) * 0.5 = .9 shots)

1a. Disregard any states which by this calculation would merit less than a quarter of a shot under a Trump victory.

2. Any time Clinton wins any of the following traditionally red states: Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Missouri, South Carolina, Texas, or Utah, there is a 5-minute moratorium on drinking

3. If Evan McMullin wins Utah, no further drinking is allowed for the rest of the night.

3a. If Evan McMullin wins the Presidency, no further drinking is allowed ever.

4. If Trump passes 270 electoral votes, take a shot if you’re registered as an independent, two shots if you’re a Democrat, and three shots if you’re a Republican.

4a. Anybody who voted for John Kasich in the primary is exempt from this condition.

5. If Clinton passes 270 electoral votes, immediately drink at least a pint of water and have something to eat.

6. If the election goes to the House, drink as much alcohol as you can as quickly as you can. You’ll need it. We all will.

Trump Allegedly Hiding Schröedinger’s Cat in Tax Returns

by Kwanpo Cheng, Theoretical Reporter


As the media continues to unearth scandal after scandal surrounding the presidential nominees, the scientific world was wracked with a shocking revelation last Wednesday. Republican candidate Donald Trump has allegedly released his tax returns to the public, stating even though the forms are released, the numbers cannot be examined as they contain details about a Schröedinger’s Cat.

“I’m telling you, I have a tremendous science experiment going on,” Trump said at the press conference. “This Scrodangler [sic] cat is both alive and dead. I cannot look at my tax returns because then I’ll ruin the experiment. You cannot look at the returns. No one can look at the tax returns. In fact, I can’t even tell you about it. This is real science, end of story.”

This reveal has sparked numerous debates in the scientific community. Physicists are evenly split on agreeing whether this was a valid experiment or not. Others argue more heavily about whether Trump has actually released his tax returns, a new phenomenon called Schröedinger’s Taxes in which the returns are both released and unreleased. This discovery may be grounds for a Nobel Peace Prize.

When asked about the possibility of receiving the Nobel Prize, Trump responded, “People are going to tell you I am incompetent or I am crazy. But really I am crazy – about science. Let me tell you, I love science. I have always loved it as a kid. That’s because I am smart. I’ve got people writing my paper for me. It’s going to be great. I’m going to charge people to read it. That’s going to create jobs and bring them back to America.”

“We believe Mr. Trump is ready to lead the country,” said Marcia McNutt, the president of the National Academy of Sciences. “We had initially thought Trump to be unintelligent, biased, and unscientific, but he has proved himself by standing strong.” The Academy is expected to hand several large projects to Mr. Trump including global warming and solar energy.

The IRS is struggling in the aftermath to obtain Trump’s tax returns as opposition from the scientific community increases. Other political leaders are supporting Trump’s decision to withhold his returns while simultaneously releasing similar statements about other Schröedinger’s Tax Animals, such as Dogs, Hamsters, Goldfishes, and Parakeets. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was especially proud of his Schröedinger’s Potato.

Celebrity scientist Neil DeGrasse Tyson tweeted, “If Trump’s theory of observation applies to taxes, then it applies to my Internet cat. We cannot learn the name of my cat until I find out it is ,” before running out of characters.

Hillary Clinton to Take Four Week Vacation

by Mark Saporta, Only Senior Political Correspondent


In an unprecedented show of confidence, Democratic nominee and President-elect-elect Hillary Clinton’s campaign has announced that the candidate will spend the rest of the race on vacation with her family in Martha’s Vineyard, MA.

Seeing virtually no upside to Clinton holding more campaign events, fundraising further or being in the public eye whatsoever, the campaign plans to give her a nice breather while she wins the Presidency more or less by default.

The full press release out of Clinton’s Brooklyn campaign HQ has been transcribed below:

“After a series of devastating gaffes by Donald Trump, culminating in the release of a video in which he claims he can grab women ‘by the pussy’ thanks to his celebrity, the Cantaloupe Colossus has effectively scuppered any chance he ever had of becoming the 45th President.

If the deal hadn’t been sealed when congressional Republicans began deserting Trump in droves, it certainly was following a barely-adequate debate performance in which he ‘apologized’ for about five seconds and then tried to change the subject as quickly as possible.

And that’s not just talk. Recent polls, both national and in the eight to ten states that we actually give a shit about, have shown momentum in our favor from the moment Trump first uttered the name ‘Alicia Machado.’ We were just one or two points up before the first debate; now, we’re up six and rising. It would take an unprecedented turnaround for us to lose now, and, as you know, the 2016 campaign up until now has been about as conventional as it gets.

Now, we at Clinton HQ aren’t stupid. We know our candidate is among the least popular people ever to run for President. It’s become readily apparent to us over the last 18 months that the less people are paying attention to her, the better we do. So, we are not going to waste this beautiful moment of self-immolation by trotting her out fifty more times to say a few platitudes and talk about policies that, let’s be honest, nobody is paying attention to anyway.

But enough about that. It’s time for Hillary, and indeed all of us, to kick back, relax, and watch as we make history in the most depressing way possible. See you on the 8th!”

At press time, Hillary Clinton had secured a private server for storing her vacation photos.

Mayan Apocalypse to Coincide With Inauguration Day 2017

by Kwanpo Cheng


After years of false predictions, the Institute of Maya Studies have released a new interpretation of the apocalypse. According to a recent statement, the Institute believes they have accurately decoded the markings on an ancient Mayan calendar—and the final date is January 20 of next year.

“This past June, we unearthed several carvings in a temple that made light of several Mayan leap days,” said the Head of the Institute, Janet Macklin. “We re-calibrated our research and we are confident that the world will end early in 2017. The fact that the Mayan Apocalypse will occur on the hour of the new president’s inauguration is purely coincidental.”

The carvings also depicted images of humanity’s impending doom, beginning with a false idol’s rise to power and culminating in a global catastrophe where the Earth slowly burns to death.

“The most mysterious interpretation of the text is the massive construction of Walls,” the report continues. “A sharp crack will open, searing across the sky, turning the air foul and the rain sour. The earth will split and massive Walls  will arise to divide the world. Waters will recede and expose large banks to swallow up the masses.”

The Institute is urging everyone to remain calm as the apocalypse approaches. Macklin advises everyone not to panic, despite acknowledging everyone is all on a slow journey to death and destruction.

Local resident John Bastian believes otherwise. “These crackpots have been predicting the end of the world for years. It’s just Inauguration Day. Seriously, what’s the worst that can happen?”

A religious sect has also made similar claims, citing the Bible and saying the apocalypse will be accompanied by a plague of frogs and taxes.

Hillary Clinton Found to be Human; Qualifications for Presidency Under Question

by Apratim Vidyarthi, terrified-of-the-future-of-the-country-columnist


In a shocking turn of events, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton showed up to Zack Galafakakakanakis’ renowned news program Between Two Ferns, citing a desire to make a serious announcement that was likely to appeal to millennials. On the show, Clinton expressed sarcasm, disdain, and other emotions that most millennials had earlier concluded that Clinton did not have due to her being a robot. This major campaign announcement—that Clinton is indeed one of us—has the potential to change the shape of this election by around 0.2 percentage points.

At the debate Monday, her opponent Donald Trump attacked this quality, calling it her “tragic flaw.” He was quoted as saying, “Listen to me, because I know what I’m talking about. I have investments in Chicago, great town, Chicago, and what we need is to make America great again, and I just don’t think a human like Secretary Clinton is going to do that. Don’t get me wrong, I have—I’ve always had a great relationship with the human community, I just think we need to reinstate certain policies that have worked in the past to keep corruption in check, like the stop and flick policy.”

When the debate moderator pointed out that stop and flick was ruled unconstitutional for disproportionately targeting warm-blooded candidates, Trump flicked his own tongue in an ostentatious display of his lizard-folk heritage and supposed ability to lead.

Clinton’s declaration of humanity comes in stark contrast to Trump’s unfettered racism, sexism, lack of logic, and obsession with gold. Several biologists and prominent scientists have claimed that Trump’s behavior and looks are more reflective of snake people than of the dignified lizard race to which he claims to belong.

Whatever the result of this election, it’s sure to be historically significant. America will have either its first human president since Herbert Hoover or a disgraced lizard in a cheeto costume. Stay tuned to find out!

Pence Breaks Down After Yet Another Question About Trump

by Mark Saporta, Only Senior Political Correspondent


In a not-all-that-stunning election eventuality, the endless barrage of questions, requests for comment and unsolicited advice concerning Trump that Republican VP nominee Mike Pence has received in the last two months culminated in him publicly breaking down at a press conference last night.

The Indiana Governor and, Christ, just the most politician-looking politician that this good green Earth has ever produced, reportedly cried out in anguish after another damn reporter asked another damn question about another damn racist or sexist or blatantly false thing Trump had expelled from his mouth.

Multiple sources have confirmed that, following an initial outburst of “NO! I’M DONE! I’M SO DONE WITH THIS!” shouted in a tone far removed from his usual media-trained, old-white-guy-from-the-Midwest strains, Pence began to sob loudly and inelegantly into his cupped hands for several minutes.

Sources also report that Pence occasionally mumbled angrily in between sobs, with the only clearly audible words being “Ghazala Khan,” “tiny hands,” and “great, great wall, more like great, great wall of BULLSHIT.”

In a rare moment of compassion, several reporters in the audience attempted to comfort the 57-year-old piece of white bread. Notably, CNN political correspondent Dana Bash walked up to Pence, gave him an extended “bro hug” (back pats included), and gently whispered, “It’s gonna be alright… Just cry it out.”

After a few minutes more, Pence abruptly shouted “I’M LEAVING!” and stormed away from the podium. Sources report that he spent the rest of the evening crying, binge-watching House of Cards, and eating several pints of Ben & Jerry’s “Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough” ice cream.

While it is, needless to say, unusual to see national politicians candidates display any candidness whatsoever, it is not that surprising that Mike Pence has begun falling apart at the seams. After all, Pence is a staunch fiscal and social conservative who has been forced to awkwardly defend the ridiculous statements of a man with whom he profoundly disagrees every single day since he was nominated in mid-July. That sort of strain can take a toll on anyone, even someone genetically modified and groomed from birth to be the Most Default Politician Possible.

At press time, the Democratic VP nominee is still Tim Kaine, a fact you almost certainly forgot somewhere around early August.

Apparently Some Libertarian Guy Also Running for President

by Mark Saporta, Only Senior Political Correspondent


So it turns out that, aside from Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, there’s also this libertarian dude running for President.

Not only does this guy—shit, what was his name? I just had it a second ago…—have a much higher net favorability than Clinton or Trump, the second-most and most hated presidential candidates in history respectively, he is also doing surprisingly well in the polls for a third-party candidate.

As of early September, the former governor and cannabis firm executive was averaging nearly 8 percent in general election polling, even when the other woman was included—you know the one, the super-liberal one all the Bernie people like.

Unfortunately for Libertarian Bro, the polling floor for being included in the official general election debates is 15 percent, a number which would be hard enough for him to reach even if the third-party vote wasn’t being split by the Greens.

As is usual for most third-party candidates, the primary obstacle for Jackson (wait, that doesn’t sound right…) is name recognition. Without a large and moneyed party infrastructure, Guy-whose-last-name-may-or-may-not-be-Jackson is having a difficult time making his presence in the race felt by voters not following the election closely. Opinion polls indicate that a surprisingly large proportion of Americans more or less agree with his platform of far less social and economic regulation domestically and non-interventionism abroad, so if a greater subset of the voting public knew who this rando was and what he stood for he could be a far more legitimate contender for the Presidency.

Barring some major political sea-change in the next two months, though, his main influence over the election will be whether he siphons more Bernie diehards off of Clinton or principled conservatives off of Trump. If nothing else, he’ll have managed to build a coalition of crotchety septuagenarian Ayn Rand fetishists and soy-latte-sipping twentysomething SJWs, an impressive feat in its own right.