In honor of the New Year we can finally look back and recognize just how terrible the last one truly was. To celebrate the occasion, here are the people who made 2015 so awful, starting with the absolute worst of the worst. Runners up are in no particular order. No this has nothing to do with that other Person of the Year thing.
Saturated the airwaves with her special brand of infectious, bubble-gum pop dreck. Set women back thirty years with last year’s single “Dear Future Husband,” a sickeningly catchy ode to the days when wives were just supposed to shut up and have dinner ready on time. Championing heteronormativity and stereotypes about women being high-maintenance emotional train wrecks under the guise of empowering young girls.
The Michael Vick of American dentistry, Palmer paid $55,000 to a group of poachers in order to lure Cecil the lion away from a Zimbabwean national park and murder him for sport because, well, that’s how affluent white guys overcompensate these days. Managed to unite most of the nation in sheer disgust over the cowardly practice of paying poachers to “hunt” endangered animals with high-powered rifles.
Disgraced ex-Subway pitchman whose sexual proclivities are more nauseating than the sandwiches he was once paid to advertise. Following an FBI raid on his home last July it was revealed that Fogle was not only hiding a cache of kiddie porn, but actively bragged about molesting children. Permanently ruined the phrase “$5 Footlong.”
Didn’t do her goddamn job, for starters. This weepy, born-again Kentucky clerk became a folk hero to bigots everywhere when she prevented her subordinates from giving marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples, citing “God’s authority.” Went to jail due to her own stupidity, and then played the poor, Christian martyr routine like a cheap fiddle. Right, because ruining a handful of gay nuptials makes you a modern-day Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Turning the Hoosier State into a national punchline. In an effort to preserve his state’s traditional values – and at the behest of religious right lobbyists – the Indiana guv signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) allowing business owners to turn away gay and lesbian customers if doing business with them would offend their deeply held Christian beliefs. The result was a PR disaster which cost Indiana jobs, business opportunities, and millions of dollars while Pence scrambled to do damage control – repeatedly lying about the law’s discriminatory intent in television appearances and, worst of all, making George Stephanopoulos look like a credible journalist. A longtime foe of Planned Parenthood, Pence sought to defund the healthcare provider at the federal level in 2011 on the grounds that three percent of its services are abortion related. While Pence’s bill died in the House, Indiana Republicans followed his lead, slashing funding and shuttering numerous clinics which, in turn, led to an HIV epidemic in the state.
During her reign as CEO of Hewlett-Packard, Fiorina successfully lobbied Congress to pass the Homeland Investment Act of 2004 — a nearly $300 billion corporate giveaway — on the grounds that it would stimulate economic growth. And while it didn’t put Americans to work, it nonetheless netted HP some $4 billion in stock buybacks. Made the disastrous decision to merge with Compaq and fired some thirty thousand workers before she was removed by the Board of Directors — and still managed to walk away with a $21 million severance package. Failed to win her 2010 senate race but somehow thought she could make it on the national stage. Believes compulsively lying counts as a campaign strategy. Stood by her hysterical claim of videotaped infanticide at a Planned Parenthood despite it being repeatedly debunked, and might have influenced Robert Lewis Dear’s deadly attack in Colorado Springs.
Uses his ostensibly progressive credentials as a pretext for acting like a self-righteous blowhard. Although the Real Time host is fond of sneering at low class red staters over their disbelief in evolution and climate change, he betrays this skepticism with his opposition to vaccines, GMOs, and his near rejection of the germ theory of disease. An obvious misogynist who lectures Muslims on gender equality. When the paranoid wingnuts at MacArthur High School had 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed arrested on the bullshit grounds that his homemade clock resembled a bomb, Maher said their suspicions were justified since young Muslims are the ones “blowing shit up” around the world. Has begun waging jihad against political correctness on college campuses without realizing that maybe the reason students don’t want him visiting is that he hasn’t told a decent joke in years.
A propagandist for arms dealers whose 1998 magnum opus More Guns, Less Crime has served as the ammosexual Bible for decades despite having been repeatedly debunked. In an article for his Crime Prevention Research Group’s website, Lott blamed the bloodbath at Mother Emanuel on “gun free zones.” When critics pointed out that South Carolina law allows concealed handguns in churches, he simply scrubbed the gun ban reference altogether to hide the error, then acted as though he never mentioned it in the first place. A serial liar, Lott pretended to be a college-age stalking victim in a viral plea for handguns on campuses, a move that wasn’t particularly surprising given that, in 2003, he posed as a woman named “Mary Rosh” in order to defend his faulty research during online arguments.
The de facto leader of the men’s rights movement whose raison d’être is stopping misandry – a phenomenon that’s about as real as unicorns. Began a lifetime of feminist-bashing at age 13 when his mommy tried to make him take his diarrhea medicine against his will, and he’s been full of shit ever since. Likens the treatment of fathers under our family court system to African-Americans under Jim Crow, but walked out on his biological children (twice) and accused his ex-wife of lying about having been raped in order to relinquish parental rights and escape paying child support.
Inexplicably considers himself a civil rights champion despite the fact that his website, A Voice for Men, has promoted sexual predators, marital rape apologists, white supremacists, and Holocaust deniers. Uploaded a video of himself drunkenly shouting that he would never let feminist “bitch” Jessica Valenti suck his withered dick, which is akin to Vladimir Putin “rejecting” the Nobel Peace Prize. A delusional rageaholic who conned his benighted followers into believing that they’re being crushed under the pink, high-heeled shoe of matriarchal tyranny.
Exactly the type of morally bankrupt dunce you’d expect to be the governor of Texas. Abbott’s fondness for banning same-sex marriage, shutting down abortion clinics and defending a racially discriminatory voter ID law (which one federal judge likened to a poll tax) can only be explained by a pathological hatred of human rights. Successfully advocated for the repeal of Houston’s equal rights ordinance by smearing transgender people as sexual predators. When conspiracy theorists suggested Jade Helm 15 — a routine military exercise — was actually a sinister Big Gubmint plot to invade Texas and declare martial law, Abbott fed into the paranoia by ordering the State Guard to “monitor” the situation.
The megalomaniac who rules Chicago with an iron fist, decimating public schools and overseeing one of the most brutal police forces in the country. When Officer Jason Van Dyke unloaded 16 shots into 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, Rahm suppressed the dashcam footage for 13 months because, well, he couldn’t let something as petty as child murder get in the way of his reelection campaign. Threw his chief of police under the bus to appease protesters right before his boys in blue killed two more black women. The kind of guy who mails dead fish to pollsters and rants about political enemies while plunging a knife into a table.
Even in a year filled with police misconduct this sleazy Oklahoma City cop stood out. Used his position of authority to threaten, rape, and sexually assault at least 13 women during traffic stops. Specifically preyed on poor, black women with criminal records because of the correct assumption that their word would be seen as less believable than that of a clean-cut officer. As one of Holtzclaw’s victims said, “What kind of police do you call on the police?” Would have secured a higher spot on this list if not for the fact that an all-white jury defied all expectations, finding the Claw guilty on 18 of 36 counts and sentencing him to 263 years in prison.
With his embrace of Common Core teaching standards, defense of immigration as an “act of love”, and support for lowering the Confederate flag, Jeb Bush has gotten a reputation as an intelligent and moderate voice in a field full of wackos. While it’s true that Bush looks like Stephen Hawking next to imbeciles like Huckabee and Trump, don’t be fooled. He’s as slimy as the rest of them. As governor of the Sunshine State, Jeb Bush dragged our country through the muck in support of a braindead vegetable – whom he helped elect president – and signed a law which mandated parental notification in cases where unmarried, childless teens sought abortions.
Despite his fondness for rejecting legislation – which earned him the nickname “Veto Corleone” – he allowed the passage of a “Scarlet Letter” law which forced unwed mothers to publish their sexual histories in local newspapers before they gave their children up for adoption, a move which may be partially explained by his belief that “young women are giving birth out of wedlock” because “there is no longer a stigma attached to this behavior, no reason to feel shame.” Lauded George W. Bush for having “kept us safe”, even though the New York City skyline would beg to differ.
Dr. Ben Carson
Routinely walks the fine line between pathological liar and delusional moron as he makes ridiculous pronouncements about humans and dinosaurs coexisting, Satan inspiring the theory of evolution, prisons magically turning straight people gay, history classes encouraging students to “sign up for ISIS”, and the pyramids being secret, biblical grain silos. In 1992 Carson coauthored a paper extolling the benefits of using aborted fetuses in medical research, but suggested that Planned Parenthood be defunded for donating fetal tissue. A squinting, soporific bigot who favors religious freedom unless Muslims are involved and whose advice to gun violence victims is that they should just rush the shooter. And what kind of psycho lies about siccing a gunman on a fast food worker and trying to murder his childhood friend?
The physical embodiment of white, upper class privilege. Killed four people with his pickup truck in 2013 while high on a cocktail of booze and Valium. Got off with 10 years of probation thanks to his attorneys’ now infamous “affluenza” defense – that is, Ethan was such a rich, sheltered brat that he couldn’t comprehend the consequences of his actions. Violated probation and skipped town to Mexico with his vile enabler of a mother, but blew it when he was caught ordering pizza from Dominoes. Fucking Dominoes.
You might remember Roy Moore as the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court who led a 2002 crusade to keep a monument to the Ten Commandments displayed on courthouse grounds, defying a District Court order to remove them, and being booted off the bench as a result. When the intransigent jurist regained his former position a decade later he was as committed as ever to dragging our country back to the Dark Ages, one ruling at a time.
When a federal court struck down Alabama’s law prohibiting same-sex marriage, Moore instructed county clerks to ignore it, likening the ruling to that of Dred Scott v. Sanford. Once remarked that non-Christian religions receive no First Amendment protections because “Buddha didn’t create us. Muhammad didn’t create us. It’s the God of the Holy Scriptures.” That a man who believes the laws of a magical sky being supersede our Constitution became such a high ranking member of the judiciary ought to embarrass us all.
The ideological successor to the late Joseph McCarthy, Cruz would rather spend his senatorial career obstructing legislative progress and scaremongering about Communist takeovers than actually sponsoring bills or attending hearings. In 2013 the Tea Party firebrand successfully shut down the federal government in a ham-fisted attempt to end Obamacare, and nearly succeeded again this year over funding for women’s healthcare. Purports to stand for freedom of speech, but announced his bid for the White House before a captive audience at Liberty University.
In an attempt to ingratiate himself to right-wing theocrats, Cruz called for a constitutional amendment that would allow states to ban same-sex marriage, and was one of three Republican presidential candidates who attended the National Religious Liberties Conference, a two-day hatefest hosted by Pastor Kevin Swanson. Once praised the despicable career of arch-segregationist Jesse Helms, saying that the Senate needs “one hundred more” of him. A smarmy, shameless panderer who would dry-hump a bald eagle to make himself appear patriotic to far-right rubes.
The most influential Islamophobe in America, this former Reagan appointee would accuse anyone who doesn’t share in his paranoid delusions of being a secret Muslim Brotherhood operative. Founded the Center for Security Policy in 1988, a fanatically Zionist think tank whose sole mission is to churn out conspiracy theories about “creeping Shariah” and “stealth jihad” – and whose fraudulent polling ultimately inspired Donald Trump’s proposed ban on Muslim immigrants. Last year saw Gaffney leading the charge against Syrian refugees and co-sponsoring a D.C. rally against the Iran nuclear deal. So unhinged that even organizers at CPAC once banned him for being a “crazy bigot.”
A portly Orval Faubus doppelgänger who called the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges – which legalized marriage equality nationwide – an “out-of-control act of unconstitutional, judicial tyranny” and urged governors to openly defy the decision. Displayed his tenuous grasp of American jurisprudence by asserting that any ruling by the Supreme Court on same-sex marriage had to be agreed upon by the other two branches of government to make it binding – an idea so ridiculous that even conservatives were forced to admit that the Huckster has no idea what he’s talking about.
Gave us a glimpse of the kind of unremitting horror a Huckabee presidency would usher in by vowing to use the National Guard to crush women’s reproductive rights. Thinks it’s just dandy to force a 10-year-old girl to bear her rapist’s child. Doesn’t believe in science. As a part-time snake oil salesman, Huckabee funded his 2016 presidential campaign by spamming supporters’ inboxes with ads for a biblical cancer cure and starring in infomercials hawking a “natural” way to “reverse” diabetes.
Like most New Democrats, Hillary Clinton responds to nearly everything — LGBT rights, the environment, Wall Street regulation, etc. — with craven political posturing. Beyond that, her only consistent position is that of a bellicose interventionist who advocated regime change in Iraq and Libya which, so far, has gone absolutely swimmingly.
Defended her obscene reliance on Wall Street money by invoking 9/11, and sided with Israel during their 2014 bloodbath in the Gaza Strip that resulted in 2,200 dead — many of whom were women and children. How very feminist.
As with 2008, Clinton is viewed by pundits as the “inevitable” Democratic candidate, but they shouldn’t be too sure of that. Despite her focus group-crafted public persona, voters just don’t trust her. Clinton’s only real hope is that millennial voters are too young to remember that she supported DOMA, advocated for her husband’s racist crime bill, and blamed the ’08 housing collapse on homeowners.
The missing link between mainstream pro-lifers and anti-choice terrorists, Troy Newman has ties to everyone from Priests for Life to the Life Legal Defense Foundation to Scott Roeder – the assassin of late term abortion provider Dr. George Tiller – with whom Newman had lunch and discussed the use of violence in order to stop abortion. As the chief zealot of Operation Rescue, Newman is determined to stalk and harass clinic workers until a woman’s right to choose is ancient history.
He sits on the Board of Directors for the laughably misnamed Center for Medical Progress, the nascent non-profit responsible for the recent Planned Parenthood “sting videos” which implied that the healthcare provider was guilty of illegally harvesting and selling fetal tissue – and inspired several acts of domestic terrorism in the process. In reality, the only thing being sliced up and butchered was the footage itself.
An independent analysis found “substantive omissions” in the Center’s videos, while numerous statewide investigations turned up absolutely no evidence of wrongdoing. This fact naturally proved irrelevant to Republican politicians eager to put Planned Parenthood at the center of their latest show trial.
The (now former) CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, Martin “Pharma Bro” Shkreli bought the rights to Daraprim – a lifesaving antiparasitic drug used by AIDS and cancer patients – and hiked the price from $13.50 per pill to $750 overnight. Justified the 5,500% price increase by falsely claiming it was “still underpriced, relative to its peers.” Claimed he would reduce the price, then reneged on his promise as soon as the outrage died down. Then, in an apparent effort to further cement his reputation as a rancid piece of shit, Shkreli set his sights on acquiring a drug used by millions of poor people to treat Chagas disease. Karma seems to have caught up with the rat-faced, human/tapeworm hybrid when he was arrested for securities fraud, because it’s one thing to scam the sick and needy, but the one sin Americans won’t tolerate is ripping off wealthy investors.
Let’s make one thing perfectly clear: The Cos has never been fucking funny. Not ever. Built his entire comedic career on tacky sweaters and dumb sound effects. Primarily revered by white audiences for his role as The Cosby Show’s Dr. Cliff Huxtable, a non-threatening black medical doctor who whitewashed racism and fed into the pernicious myth of the “model minority.” Carved out a niche for himself as a great public moralizer who shamed young black men and women whose poor behavior he blamed for the destruction of the African-American community. Like nearly everyone who trades in respectability politics, Cosby was revealed to be little more than a hypocritical and vulgar fraud who cheated on his wife, possibly fathered a child out of wedlock, and – most disgustingly of all – drugged and raped scores of women, some of whom were underage. America’s willingness to overlook Cosby’s crimes for the sake of nostalgia reveals just how little regard our society has for rape victims.
Another year, another armed, white guy gunning down people due to toxic levels of entitlement and paranoia. Motivated by the fear of an increasingly non-white America – whites are projected to be a minority by 2050 – Dylann Roof resolved to “take his country back” through violent means. Stormed the historically black Emanuel AME Church during a Bible study and slaughtered nine congregants, including South Carolina State Senator Clementa Pinckney, because, as he explained to his victims, “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.” An apartheid-loving, rebel flag-waving, neo-Confederate dunce who exposed the hypocrisy of how white folks treat acts of terrorism – it’s terrorism when a Muslim kid brings a clock to school – and ignore how mass shootings have supplanted baseball as America’s pastime.
Hands down the most wealthy, luxurious villain God ever put on this list. The real estate mogul finally made good on his threat to run for president, giving a speech so laden with xenophobic dog whistles it would make Marine Le Pen blush. Trump surged in the polls with every denunciation of birthright citizenship, Muslim immigrants, and the swarthy “rapists” who cross our southern border, and directly inspired at least one very “passionate” hate crime in the process.
Had the gall to trash John McCain, not for being a senile warmonger, which he is, but for having been shot down and tortured by the Viet Cong. Supported by knuckle-dragging “White Power” cretins who believe him to be their political savior – despite the fact that The Donald’s signature clothing line bears a “Made in Mexico” label. Tom Brady endorsed him, so you know he’s pure evil. A thin-skinned, sexist boor, Trump couldn’t even take a routine question from Fox News’ Megyn Kelly without accusing her of being on the rag. If fascism comes to America, it’ll be wrapped in an expensive suit and sporting an unconvincing comb over.