The presidential primary season, when we pick the candidates who will compete for our nation’s highest office, is inevitably among the dumbest times in our history. And while we’re not historians, it’s a safe bet that 2016 is among the dumbest we have seen. Today is Super Tuesday, when multiple states cast their votes in this spectacle of our shame, so to smarten up the place a bit, we decided to recommend a few books to the supporters of the various candidates. We want everyone to have an opportunity to tune out the [unintelligible yelling] and enjoy some good reading.
Capital in the 21st Century by Thomas Piketty — A wonky discussion on the driving forces of wealth inequality in our current economic structure. The book tackles what may be the key issue of the Democratic primary in a way that is powerfully argued and persuasive without feeling radical, which is apparently what Clinton supporters are looking for.
The Wife by Meg Wolitzer — A novel about a famous writer (like Philip Roth) whose books are actually written by his brilliant, unassuming wife.
Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow — The story of a passionate advocate for progress who, in the face of massive public scrutiny and the revolutionary zeal of Jefferson’s anti-elite anti-establishment populism, built and mobilized the mechanisms of power that still move our country today.
The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe — Wikipedia summarizes this novel as “a drama about ambition, racism, social class, politics, and greed in 1980s New York City.” These are the exact words you would hear during a word-association test of “Donald Trump.”
Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace — Because Trump supporters might actually enjoy the portrayal of a future in which a popular entertainer has become President of the United States, assumed control over Mexico and Canada, and sold advertising rights to the calendar years. For the rest of us, it’s a novel about how the constant craving for entertainment can kill you, so…
The Bible — Given Trump’s unexpectedly strong support from evangelical voters in the GOP, we thought it might be a good idea if they took a closer look at what this book actually says.
Everything is Perfect When You’re a Liar by Kelly Oxford — I feel no need to elaborate on this selection.
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis — This one also seems pretty clear.
Spiritus Mundi by Robert Sheppard — A novel that was originally serialized on the Occupy Wall Street New York City General Assembly web site. Though now that it is available on Amazon does that make it more of a Clinton selection?
A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn — A genuinely great volume on the untold stories from American history. If you’re supporting Sanders, you’ve probably already read it.
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond — By all accounts, a gut-wrenching narrative of poverty, inequality, systematic injustice and economic stagnation — the very issues that Bernie Sanders has brought to the forefront with his candidacy. Nickel & Dimed author Barbara Ehrenreich says that Desmond has “set a new standard for reporting on poverty.” Probably the best book to press on your Clinton friends if you’re still trying to get them to #FeeltheBern.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald — For one, because Sanders is hoping for a big victory in Fitzgerald’s home state of Minnesota today. And for two, because it’s not hard to imagine Sanders calling the rich out as “CARELESS PEOPLE!” in a rousing speech. Bonus recommendation: For Trump supporters, whatever book it is that Tom Buchanan is reading about racial purity.
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie — Any book at all would be a good start, honestly. But for the sake of their preternaturally unlikable candidate, this might be the best choice.
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling — For people who like a guy with no support from anyone who has ever spent any time with him before.
I, Robot by Isaac Asimov — Offers an important rebuttal to those who claim their candidate has dangerous policy ideas: “First of all, a Rubio may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm…”
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick — The source material for the classic film “Blade Runner,” in which several rebellious androids have incept dates, i.e birthdays, in 2016. Hardly seems like a coincidence.
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg — To dispel the fiction that Marco Rubio doesn’t know what he’s doing when he gets stuck in a Habit Loop.
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon — A good choice following the decline and fall of America’s most prominent political dynasty (so far). Plus you’ve got the time now.
I Was Told There’d be Cake by Sloane Crosley — The Seattle Times said that “this book about nothing is riveting to the very end.” It was written by a publicist.
The Scientific Principles of Grain Storage by T.A. Oxley — Not about the pyramids. Not written by Joseph. Not a lost book of the Bible.
A Million Little Pieces by James Frey — Frey might not have actually tried to stab one of his friends or turned down a full scholarship to West Point either, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t write a heck of a good read!
Mo’ Meta Blues by Questlove — One of the few things people have noticed Kasich saying in this primary was that he disapproves of Questlove’s band The Roots. Since Kasich doesn’t matter anyway, his supporters may as well get to know an artist their candidate wrote off in a matter of minutes. They have to ask themselves the same question Think Progress has asked: Can You Love America and Hate Questlove?