The GOP Chocolate Factory
March 30th, 2016

Presidential candidate Ted Cruz cites The Princess Bride as his all-time favorite movie, whole passages of dialog from which he can recite from memory. I wonder if Ted has ever watched Charlie And The Chocolate Factory? And I’m not talking about the dreadful Johnny Depp remake—which is nothing more than a money-grubbing vanity project—but the 1971 original, in which Willy Wonka, played by Gene Wilder, goes in search of an honest child to whom he can entrust his candy manufacturing empire.

It’s one of my all-time favorite films and one that somehow brings to mind the current Republican presidential campaign. And as we inch toward the nominating convention I have one big question to ask: Was ANYONE who watched that movie rooting for Veruca Salt? I didn’t think so. So why not install a bad egg detector on the podium? That way we can stop fretting that Donald Trump will ever reach the White House. Instead, he’ll drop down the bad egg chute, emitting a yuuuge but mercifully diminishing wail as he plummets toward the trash bin.

So, who’s next? Well, for a time there was New Jersey governor Chris Christie, but then—like Agustus Gloop—he slipped and fell face first into a chocolate pond. But now I see he’s back; in fact there he is standing directly behind Donald Trump on the podium. In a desperate attempt to salvage his political career, Christie clutches at The Donald’s coat tails, once again loses his footing and follows Donald down the bad egg chute.

At this point the party might turn to Marco Rubio—but no, he’s no longer in the running. Evidently he became so full of fizzy lifting drink that he completely floated out of the picture. To bad he had nothing of substance to weight him down.

Perhaps at this juncture the influential National Rifle Association could intervene, by backing the pistol-packing, television-obsessed Mike Teevee. Too bad Wonkavision has already shrunk Mike down to a fraction of his former size—and as we all know from watching the debates, size matters.

As for Ted Cruz, he reminds me of Arthur Slugworth, the unctuous operator who offers dark money to whichever kid will agree to pocket Wonka’s top-secret election confection, the Everlasting Backslapper. Each of the contenders so far has secreted an Everlasting Backslapper—except for Donald Trump, who is so adept at slapping his own back that he doesn’t need one.

The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced the GOP could find worthier candidates just by issuing golden tickets via candy bars. Said bars would be distributed widely but only one to a customer. That way no one could “buy” the election, and if we’re lucky, a principled person of unshakable integrity—someone like Charlie Bucket—could become the next president of the United States of America.

We humble Oompa-Loompas can only hope!

-Richard Menzies