For the second year in a row I present the person (or persons) who had the worst impact on the year. As usual, this has nothing to do with that other Person of the Year thing. So relax and enjoy yourselves — assuming we won’t be placed in a secret reeducation camp by this time next year.
Hack comedian whose modus operandi is writing excruciatingly unfunny parody articles for The New Yorker with headlines just plausible enough to resemble actual news (e.g., “Mexican President Says He Made Trump Pay For Lunch”). Earlier this year, the website Deadline mistakenly cited the Borowitz Report in claiming actor Sean Penn had set up an interview with the leader of ISIS, prompting a retraction and an apology from its editor for “misinterpret[ing] a humorous story.” That, of course, is another falsehood. There’s nothing “humorous” about Borowitz’s endless stream of self-satisfying dad jokes.
As first lady, Melania Trump says her pet project will be curbing online bullying and harassment, which is somewhat undermined by her refusal to speak out against the alt-right trolls targeting Jewish journalists on her behalf. Unfairly shamed for her modeling career, but wasn’t shamed enough for defending her husband’s “grab ‘em by the pussy” remark. Took a lot of heat for plagiarizing parts of Michelle Obama’s speech in her address to the RNC, but were I given the Herculean task of making Donald Trump look human I’d probably cheat too.
Following the death of Sylvia Browne it was only a matter of time before another cold-reading dipshit filled her snake oil-selling shoes. Enter “psychic” wunderkind Tyler Henry, the “Hollywood Medium” whose victims primarily consist of gullible celebrities. It’d be one thing if Henry was just making a living scamming A-listers with parlor tricks, but this sanctimonious, Macaulay Culkin-looking motherfucker also wants to “help” the parents of children who died by suicide as well as investigators working on missing person cases. You know, for a price.
A long-dead tyrant whose blood-soaked legacy continues to haunt our country to this very day. Made genocide great again through his Indian Removal Act – a law that called for the forced displacement, complete with death marches, of tens of thousands of Native Americans in order to make way for more plantations slave camps. When the Supreme Court declared the removals unconstitutional in Worcester v. Georgia, Old Hickory responded by giving Chief Justice John Marshall the finger. Apparently one of the few Democrats that modern-day Republicans like Steve King can still get behind.
Ordered the 2012 GOP “autopsy” – which concluded that Republicans must expand their outreach to black and Latino voters – and then proceeded to wipe his ass with it by paving the way for an overt racist to win the White House. This dweeb sat idly by as Trump denounced Mexicans as “rapists,” proposed a ban on Muslim immigrants, refused to lend support to down ballot Republicans, and was caught bragging about groping women. A spineless yes-man like Priebus ought to be snaking toilets in Trump Tower for a living, but ended up being rewarded for his obsequiousness with a sweet cabinet position.
Should be in jail, but instead this tough-talking blowhard let his flunkies take the fall for blocking off the George Washington Bridge in an act of political retribution. Dropped out of the presidential race in order to debase himself as Donald Trump’s court jester, then lost the VP nomination to evangelical lunatic Mike Pence. In July, Christie took on the role of RNC Grand Inquisitor, hosting a deranged show trial and finding Hillary Clinton guilty in absentia of a litany of imaginary crimes. Remember when talking to a chair was considered weird?
Once a rising star in the GOP, Lil’ Marco ended up getting trounced in his own home state by a belligerent Latino-basher. Claimed he was done with life in the Senate, but changed his mind after realizing he still had a shot at foisting his fundamentalist Christian agenda onto an unwilling populace – when he shows up for work, that is. Rubio’s stomach-turning response to the Pulse nightclub massacre was to attend a rally hosted by members of the homophobic Liberty Counsel. Thinks its good public policy to force women to give birth to microcephalic babies.
The whitest revolutionaries since the Founding Fathers. Armed with the political self-righteousness of a college freshman and the coping mechanisms of a toddler, the Sandernistas embraced every right-wing conspiracy theory about Clinton – Benghazi, deleted emails, mysterious deaths, George Soros, body doubles, her secret Parkinson’s diagnosis – in an effort to sabotage her campaign out of spite. Cast a meaningless protest vote for a vaccine skeptic and a geographically-challenged Libertarian with the IQ of a ficus plant, and probably helped get Trump elected. Bravo.
Parker’s hagiographic Nat Turner biopic The Birth of a Nation might have had a decent shot at stopping another #OscarsSoWhite fiasco. Instead we learned that this creep might have raped an unconscious woman – who later took her own life – during his days at Penn State. Claimed in his defense that, “I never thought about consent as a definition, especially as I do now. I think the definitions of so many things have changed.” What the actual fuck, dude?
Richard B. Spencer
Donald Trump was responsible for countless unpardonable sins this past election cycle, not the least of which involved making this racist hipster windbag into a household name. As the head of the innocuous-sounding National Policy Institute, Spencer’s goal is
stealing the Ark of the Covenant transforming the U.S. into an all-white ethno-state. Attempted to mainstream the white supremacist ideals of Lothrop Stoddard and Samuel Francis by rebranding his movement the “alt-right.” Was filmed at a gathering in Washington, D.C. shouting “Hail Trump!” while his fellow wannabe Brownshirts gave Nazi salutes – which he insisted to the press was meant to be “ironic.”
Probably wouldn’t have made the list if not for the unprecedented political stalemate set off by his demise. As the Court’s foremost proponent of originalism – the idea that constitutional matters should be resolved by divining the attitudes of dead, slave-owning, white men – Nino was a one-man wrecking crew against the forces of human decency. Following his death, legal scholars whitewashed Scalia’s ruthless jurisprudence, lionizing him as “brilliant” even though he clearly cribbed his opinions on gay sex, women’s rights, capital punishment, and science from the Old Testament. With the stroke of a pen, this putrid little man worked tirelessly to strip the most marginalized among us of their civil rights.
Sheriff David Clarke
Like Malcolm X, if Malcolm X were on the side of the people with fire hoses and attack dogs. Serves as the Sheriff of Milwaukee County, which, unsurprisingly, is home to the country’s most segregated city, and where 62% of black men aged 30 to 40 have been incarcerated. And if the Arpaio of America’s Dairyland gets his way, that number will continue to rise. When this loathsome lawman isn’t accusing Black Lives Matter protesters of being in league with ISIS or cheering on the acquittals of killer cops, he’s letting prisoners languish and die in his miserable jail cells.
Motivated solely by unrestrained lust for money and power, the venal Kentucky senator was once a political moderate. That was eons ago, of course. Since then he’s undergone a sort of political devolution into the godfather of gridlock we all know and loathe. Held hostage funds used to combat the Zika virus in Florida and sabotaged a pair of post-Orlando gun control bills to appease his NRA handlers. But by far his most infuriating move was hijacking the Supreme Court. Citing the so-called “Biden Rule” – which is not a thing, mind you – McConnell argued that a Democratic president should be barred from filling a SCOTUS vacancy in an election year. Worst of all, his scheme worked: The clock ran out on Merrick Garland’s nomination in December, paving the way for Donald Trump to nominate his horse. Probably.
Ammon Bundy et al.
We had to know the year was off to a good start when this merry band of gun-toting hillbillies took over a federal wildlife refuge and occupied it for over a month. Ammon and Ryan Bundy, whose dad you might remember for yet another violent standoff from 2014, spearheaded this takeover to protest the concept of government-owned land. Should’ve been quashed like the Whiskey Rebellion but ended up getting off scot-free for some reason.
In an election season dominated by fake news and capped off with the victory of a fake leader, what could be more fitting than the inclusion of America’s most popular fake newsman? Spent decades using his online/radio platform to vomit out every bullshit, paranoid, misogynistic, and racially-tinged conspiracy imaginable. From 9/11 and the Sandy Hook massacre being “inside jobs” to “chemtrails” turning people gay to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton being literal demons, there’s no belief too bizarre and stupid for the InfoWars host to devote entire broadcasts to. Sorry, Alex, but flying into a red-faced rage over Luciferian globalists who want to take our guns and reduce the world’s population as part of an New World Order plot doesn’t make you the next Edward R. Murrow; it makes you Charles Manson with a larger cult following. And it’d be one thing if this belligerent jackass were just some anonymous nutjob, but Jones’ lies have been parroted by the most powerful person on the planet and even inspired an armed maniac to shoot up a pizzeria.
If there were any joy to be had from this election, it was from watching this repulsive slimeball get humiliated by Donald Trump. Cruz spent months publicly sucking up to the real estate mogul, defending every indefensible idea that oozed from Trump’s mouth hole, hoping in vain to poach his supporters after he dropped out. Instead, the Texas senator could only watch in horror as he lost contest after contest to the orange-haired homunculus. Prematurely picked serial liar Carly Fiorina as his VP before his campaign finally flamed out like a Samsung Galaxy, then found himself phone-banking for the very guy who insulted his wife and accused his dad of murdering JFK. What a cuck.
The shadowy figure behind monsters like Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and Mitch McConnell, Ailes has been polluting American politics for nearly fifty years. As the brains behind the GOP’s chief propaganda outlet, Ailes has succeeded in dumbing down the country’s populace on everything from the presence of WMD in Iraq to climate science. His work on Donald Trump’s debate prep finally answered the question of whether the Republican Party could excrete a turd so foul that not even Ailes could polish it. (Spoiler: It couldn’t.) And on top of that, we might never have found out that this old, racist sugar daddy were a serial sexual harasser if it weren’t for former Fox host Gretchen Carlson heroically blowing the whistle on him.
We really can’t go one year without some crooked bankster defrauding a bunch of his customers, can we? Since Stumpf took over as president of Wells Fargo in 2005, employees were setting up fake bank accounts and sending unsolicited credit cards to artificially boost their numbers and reap untold millions. Employees who alerted their superiors quickly found themselves in the unemployment line, and when the story became national news Stumpf’s response was to let 5,300 minimum wage workers take the fall. This kind of corporate malfeasance starts at the top, though, which is why Stumpf unceremoniously “retired.” Without having to suffer any real punishment, of course.
Ran for president to prove she could commit war crimes as skillfully as any man. Lost due to a myriad of factors, including obvious meddling by the Kremlin, but was ultimately a victim of her own hubris. Neglected the crucial states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania at her peril, despite the repeated protestations of pro-Sanders activists. All that money, all the models, all the polls — and it was all an utter waste because her staffers couldn’t strategize their way out of a wet paper bag. In a just world, the implosion of the once venerable Clinton machine would have resulted in Hillary and the rest of the establishment Democrat droids being set out on an ice floe never to return. Seriously, fuck all of you.
The creepy seasteading vampire who secretly funded Hulk Hogan’s $140-million dollar leg drop of Gawker Media. The snarky website’s crime? They published an article that kind of but not really outed Thiel in 2007. Seemed oddly at ease giving a speech at the RNC’s fever dream of a convention, railing against “fake culture wars” and standing up for a political party that hates gays and immigrants. Like other Silicon Valley neoreactionaries, Thiel openly longs to gut America’s social safety net, scoffs at women’s suffrage, and seems to abhor democracy in general. A prelude to our dark, dystopian future in which hypersensitive tech billionaires crush media outlets they despise through frivolous proxy lawsuits.
Guilty of gross mismanagement. The Flint water crisis started out simple, with Rick Snyder imposing a series of devastating tax cuts for the wealthiest Michiganders. The working poor saw their taxes raised and benefits slashed to the bone, resulting in a statewide spike in poverty. The damage was enough to put cities like Flint in crisis mode, which led to the Republican governor appointing emergency managers who signed off on switching Flint’s water source from Detroit’s water system to the Flint River as a cost-cutting measure — the end result being the city’s mostly black residents drinking heavily contaminated water. True, the entire administration bears responsibility for fucking poisoning black children, but the buck ultimately stops with the asshole who thought he could run a state like a business.
About as awful as a governor could be without poisoning schoolchildren, but more on that in a moment. After the city of Charlotte passed a nondiscrimination ordinance that protected all classes of people, including transgender North Carolinians, McCrory and the Republican-controlled legislature promptly went apeshit, passing — in one day — the monstrosity known as HB2. The law stripped away all nondiscrimination ordinances that protected the LGBT community, banned cities from enacting further ordinances, and forced transgender folks to use the bathroom that corresponds with their sex assigned at birth. Stood up for the law by smearing trans people as sexual predators who assault girls in restrooms despite having no evidence for this. Ultimately the law cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars, and ended up making McCrory the first governor in his state’s history to lose reelection. But not even a surprise loss stopped this dipshit from contesting the election for over a month, citing phantom voter fraud. Then, when he finally conceded, he signed a bill in a special session that curbed his Democratic successor’s powers as one last middle finger to democracy.
In a year full of craven Republicans willing to sacrifice their souls for the sake of their careers, none was more brazen than Indiana Governor Mike Pence. In the early ‘90s the former talk radio host served as president of the Indiana Policy Review Foundation, a conservative think tank known for publishing articles condemning “gaydom” as a “pathological condition.” From there Pence took his anti-gay jihad to the halls of Congress, promoting a ban on same-sex marriage and demanding HIV/AIDS funding be shifted to conversion therapy. And as governor, he not only enshrined homophobia into Indiana law, but signed a bill mandating funerals for fetuses, attempted to create his own state-run news outlet, and tried to block the entry of Syrian refugees. Hitched his wagon to the political career of a pussy-grabbing lout who talks about the Bible the way a middle schooler bullshits his way through a test he never studied for, thus raising the question of whether he’s the born-again theocrat he claims to be or just another mendacious, self-serving shitstain.
Hey folks, remember that old, racist landlord you had? The one who refused to make any repairs, shut your hot water off during the winter, and allowed that rat infestation? Well, apparently almost half the country voted to give him a stockpile of biological and nuclear weapons. Weathering a storm of controversies that would’ve sunk any other candidate – including feuding with a Gold Star family, boasting of his sexual predations, and criticizing a federal judge for his Mexican heritage – the (alleged) billionaire rode a wave of white racial resentment and economic populism to the most powerful office in the world. Betrayed his embarrassing ignorance of even the most basic political concepts during his dismal debate performances, during which he lumbered around the stage, snorting like a coked-up rhinoceros. If Donald Trump were anything other than a white man, he’d have been deemed unfit to work as a Walmart greeter.
Winner: The American Voter
There’s plenty of blame to go around for why this year sucked so hard, but no one bears this responsibility more than you, the average American citizen. You elect power-hungry cretins to high office, complain about their jobs, and then vote overwhelmingly keep them there. You hate “political correctness” even though you can’t even define it. You believe that reverse racism and misandry are real problems, and that #AllLivesMatter. You fell for Ken Bone’s folksy Midwestern charm. You voted for a third party candidate, if you bothered to vote at all. You thought the scandal of sharing classified emails on a private server was a bigger deal than having a Klan-supported tyrant sitting in the Oval Office. There’s no point to correcting you, because you can’t differentiate reality from satire, and share fake news articles when they confirm your preexisting beliefs. More of you are killed taking selfies than in shark attacks, and I can’t bring myself to care.