Relying on its typical approach of satirizing human characteristics, as opposed to policies, The Onion published a series of articles ahead of the Republican presidential debate Wednesday making light mockery of the candidates as they prepared for the third of what will be a dozen debates.
The first article, entitled “Candidates Preparing for Colorado Debate Conditions With High-Altitude Speaking Drills,” uses the idea that athletes have to do special training when they compete in Denver, mapping it onto the candidates’ debate preparation. With lines like, “When we first got here, Ted could hardly make it through a single answer about defunding Planned Parenthood before he started feeling nauseous,” the article plays on the imagery of the loss of breath, and uses it to imply the candidates are prone to rambling. “At press time, aides were rushing to supply oxygen to Marco Rubio after he passed out in the middle of lengthy comments about Hillary Clinton’s email server.”
Marco Rubio was the butt of another joke with “Campaign Advisors Secretly Enjoying Totally Destroying Marco Rubio During Practice Debates.” The article digs at Rubio for his weak debate style, but it’s written from the perspective of young staffers who finally have the opportunity to talk back to their boss without discipline. “Last week, I challenged him to name one reason why we should trade with Saudi Arabia but not Cuba, and he started fumbling over his words and grasping at straws. I made it quite clear that he didn’t know what the hell he was talking about, and he just had to stand there quietly and take it,” said one staffer. “God, it felt so damn good,” he added.
Playing on the idea that most political responses are incredibly vague, “Carly Fiorina Promises To Fight For Whoever Everyday Americans Are” places that trait on Fiorina, who is portrayed as being out of touch. “Middle-class families, if that’s precisely what you call them, are what make this country great. They deserve a president who will defend them each and every day from big government, assuming that’s what they need to be defended from,” she is quoted as saying. The article adds, “Fiorina’s remarks contrasted sharply with those of fellow candidate Donald Trump, who said he knew exactly who everyday Americans were but could care less.”
Due to a drop in poll numbers, Jeb Bush was pushed from the center of the debate to make room for Ben Carson, but according to The Onion, “Jeb Bush Inching Podium Closer to Center of Stage During Commercial Breaks.” The article says he moved his podium by at least a foot over the course of the debate, but “At press time, Bush was hastily dragging his podium to its original spot after audibly scraping it against that of fellow candidate Ben Carson.”