If America’s politicians were cars,
here’s what they would be…
By Paul Ingrassia and Henry Payne
Tomorrow is Inauguration Day, when President Barack Obama will pass the helm of America’s ship of state to a new president, Donald Trump. Here at The Revs Institute we think of it as the car of state.
The occasion got us to pondering a question perhaps more amusing than profound: if America’s leading public officials were cars, which models would best express their political personalities? We came up with the following list, and present it with equal opportunity for amusement (we hope) for all.
The Grand Trumpeteer. This vehicle combines the head of the new president, Donald Trump, with the body of a Jeep Grand Wagoneer. The Grand Trumpeteer only comes in one color, flaming orange. Its steering is suspect as it tends to want to bulldoze through obstacles instead of drive around them. The Grand Trumpeteer is specially equipped to allow Tweeting from behind the wheel, at any hour of day or night, though it’s unclear just how safe this practice will prove. It’s made in America, with no imported parts. Despite its assertive road manners, the Gand Trumpeteer has very thin sheet metal. Sales are virtually nonexistent in California, Massachusetts, Oregon and or New York
The Hillarius. It’s a cross between Hillary Clinton and a Toyota Prius hybrid (what else?). This car is frequently seen in other elite coastal enclaves but less often in the industrial Midwest; last fall it never drove into the state of Wisconsin. The Hillarius’s electronic package originally included a private email server, but that was discontinued. The car was a successor to another model, the Billius, but it never equalled the Billius popularity. The Hillarius’s passionate supporters will never be seen driving a Grand Trumpeteer.
The Pension. This crossover between vice president Mike Pence and a Ford Fusion is short on glamour but, its backers claim, is long on reliability. The car displays a definite bias to steering in the right lane, but the Pension seems practical enough to steer occasionally into the center of the road. The Pension can maneuver in places where the Grand Trumpeteer can’t, or won’t, so you can expect to see this car undertake some delicate journeys during the next few years.
The Barackade. This is President Barack Obama endowed with the automotive attributes of the Cadillac Escalade. Last year the Barackade went into overdrive to stop the Grand Trumpeteer, but to no avail. Despite that, however, the Barackade enjoys high popularity ratings for a model so long in the tooth. A successor model is probably in the works somewhere, but no one is exactly sure just what that model will be.
The Subernie. Subaru is a natural automotive personality for Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. While the Subernie has adherents nationwide it is especially popular in the Northeast. The Subernie’s standard left-wheel-drive induces profound oversteer. Many Subernies sport bumper stickers opposing fracking, despite the inconvenient truth that without fossil fuels Subernies couldn’t go anywhere.
The Jolt. This crossover model combines Jeb Bush with the all-electric Chevy Bolt. The Jolt was an early favorite last year among pundits and pollsters. But its fortunes nosedived when the Grand Trumpeteer derided it as “low energy” and ran the Jolt off the road.
The Punster. This vehicle blends the sensibility of a political pundit with the lane-changing ability of a roadster. Such nimbleness was handy last fall when most pundits predicted the Hillarius would triumph over the Grand Trumpeteer, but then quickly switched to explaining why the GT won. In recent years the Punster has been prone to wildly inaccurate steering, causing many to question the car’s relevance. But Punsters seem to have found a safe enclave on cable TV.
The Ryverado. This vehicle, made in the American Midwest, is the automotive embodiment of House Speaker Paul Ryan cast as a Chevy Silverado pickup truck. It isn’t the most exciting vehicle on the planet, but so far the Ryverado has displayed an ability to haul heavy loads and stay on the road in slippery conditions. It is unclear just how the Ryverado and the Grand Trumpeteer will share the same highway without occasionally bumping into each other.
Henry Payne is a syndicated political cartoonist and auto columnist for The Detroit News
Paul Ingrassia, an automotive author and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, is editor at The Revs Institute.