The thing about elections is sometimes you lose them
But as long as you don't do it too much, it's ok.
It’s 11 am on January 20th. You are the president-elect, and in an hour, you will take the oath of office, and get the nuclear codes. You have a platform that you ran on, and you have goals of enacting that agenda. Ever since being declared the winner of the election in November, you have spent a great deal of time studying past presidencies; what made them successful or unsuccessful. You won a massive victory; your party will have total control of Congress, a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, and your party is totally pliant to you because you are the reason they were elected. You will soon be able to wield greater unrestrained political power than anyone in the modern history of the country.
You step into a bathroom to splash some water on your face and prepare for the big moment. Suddenly, out of a puff of smoke, a time traveler appears. They take whatever form they need to take to convince you that they are legit and that you are not having a psychotic episode. They say whatever needs to be said and offer whatever proof needs to be offered. You are convinced.
They tell you that in four years and two hours, the world will be hit with an unexpected development that no one can foresee and no one can prevent. 9/11 or a pandemic, but taken to the power of n. Totally disruptive but, unlike those other two, truly impossible to anticipate or prepare for. The aliens will arrive, or God will make Himself known, or an asteroid that can’t be tracked will be about to hit, or something. The time traveler tells you that there is nothing you can do in your first term to prepare for this event (which they cannot give you too many details about) but that when this happens, the world will be at a crossroads. More than ever, humanity will face a binary choice between survival and extermination, success and failure—and failure is as bad as can be. The world will be destroyed by fire or flood. But it is possible to meet the moment! And, the time traveler says, you are the person who is capable of responding to that crisis well. If you are still president in four years and two hours, we’ll be fine.
Nothing has ever mattered more than you winning reelection.
And then—poof!—he’s gone.
Every president enters office wanting to win reelection, and so will you, but truly, literally, and in a cartoon sense, this is your one priority.
You can’t tell anyone about this because they’ll think you’re psychotic and invoke the 25th Amendment, but you think about it a lot. You know that presidents do mostly win reelection, so that’s good. But sometimes they don’t, which is bad. You think your agenda will be popular, but you are forced now to be brutal about it. Everyone thinks their agenda will be popular, and sometimes they are wrong.
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