Candidates Going Their Own Way (POTUSGTOW)

Onstage: CALLER on one
side, CITIZEN on the other.
CALLER calls CITIZEN via cell
phone. CITIZEN answers.

 

CITIZEN

Yes?

CALLER

Hi! I’m a volunteer for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. Is this Sophie?

CITIZEN

Yes…

CALLER

Hi Sophie! Joe Biden provides sensible policies with a return to decency and sanity. Do you plan to vote for Biden, Harris, and the Democrats down the ballot?

CITIZEN

Hey, I don’t want to sound mean, but I don’t plan to vote this election. You sound nice though. I wish you and Joe luck!

CALLER

… you don’t want to vote?

CITIZEN

Not really, no.

CALLER

… you do know this is an—

CITIZEN

(sarcastic)

An election year? Golly, no idea.

CALLER

Do you need polling place information or guides on who—

CITIZEN

Not particularly.

CALLER

You do know this is the most important election—

CITIZEN

Since the last one, yeah, yeah. Though I hear the one before that was a close second. Look, you sound nice, so I’m sorry if I came off rude. It’s just that, this is all so exhausting. I got disillusioned with the whole system a while—

CALLER

Do you want Trump to win?

CITIZEN

Absolutely not. I’m actually a little insulted you assumed so. But my vote—

CALLER

Oh, I see how it is.

CITIZEN

What?

CALLER

Voters love assholes! They never give nice candidates a chance!

CITIZEN

…what the heck are you on about?

CALLER

It’s what you do, isn’t it? You see a normal, sensitive contender for high office. Someone who will love and cherish your country. Someone without a criminal record. And what happens? You say “I see you more as a Senator” or “I don’t get involved in politics.” Then you let fascists gain office because you secretly want to be dominated!

CITIZEN

You have a weird call script.

CALLER

Oh I’m done following the script. No more Mr. Nice Guy, I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore. I send you text after text saying “Hi honey! Remember to vote!” and “Have I told you lately how beautiful your demographic is?” And after all that work, I’m still alone on a Tuesday night.

CITIZEN

Yeah, can I give you some advice? No one likes those texts.

CALLER

They were scientifically tested though! It’s all in the guide about how to pick up voters off the street!

CITIZEN

… are you OK?

CALLER

OK? I’m more than OK! I’m the only decent candidate still in the game!

CITIZEN

YOU’RE a decent— Joe, is that you?

CALLER

We’re a little short staffed, all right? Don’t change the subject.

CITIZEN

Fine, whatever.

CALLER

It should be a simple system: I protect the homeland and provide for the common welfare, and in return, you vote for me. Haven’t I told you time after time that I love America? That I’d do anything for her if given the chance?

CITIZEN

Weren’t you a politician for, like, decades?

CALLER

I was!

A pause.

CITIZEN

You really don’t get it, do you?

CALLER

Were we talking about something?

CITIZEN

Your voting record.

CALLER

My voting record? I never miss an election! I get out there every damn year. Sure, my team sometimes loses. A lot. A shocking amount, considering the competition. And sure, there are days so rough that I feel like quitting. But don’t you see I haven’t given up my hope? That’s gotta be worth something. Why can’t people like me for who I am, instead of what I do?

CITIZEN

You know it’s not that simple.

CALLER

Pleeeeeeaase vote for me? I’ll treat you right, I’ll bring you tax credits and stimulus packages all the time.

CITIZEN

Look, no one has policies I like, all right? If Bernie…

CALLER

Oh, here we go again. Bernie this, Bernie that. You’re waiting for some Disney prince with several homes and a 10-inch thick healthcare bill to make you swoon. Well guess what: he lost. He offered free medicine in a pandemic, and he lost. That’s like if you were stranded in the desert and you told the Kool-Aid man to fuck off!

CITIZEN

… ouch. I never thought of it like that.

CALLER

I’m sorry, I went too far. I like Bernie— or “The Berninator,” as I like to call him. He’s just not what the people want.

CITIZEN

Yeah, well, he’s who I wanted.

CALLER

It must be rough to see what you want get thwarted again and again.

CITIZEN

There are days when I feel… I just feel like immigrating somewhere else.

CALLER

… you’re never going to do that.

CITIZEN

No, you’re right, don’t know who I was kidding.

CALLER

It’s a harsh battlefield, Washington. That she is. Because everyone there knows all the rules and all the stakes better than their voters. So do you mind if I let you in on a little secret.

CITIZEN

… OK.

CALLER

 As the months go on, you’ll have to face a harsh reality.

CITIZEN

And what would that be?

CALLER

It’s that, one day, you’ll have to settle. It’s tough. Sometimes I wish it was different. But all’s fair in love and politics. I may not be the smartest candidate or the most moral. But I promise to give your Twitter feed good vibes only. I’ll recite platitudes gracefully after the cops teargas your mom. Voters like normalcy, no matter how terrible. You’ll see it my way eventually. You don’t have face regret when you do.

CITIZEN

You’re a creep and I’m never going to talk to you again.

CALLER

No, wait, I love you!

CITIZEN hangs up phone
and walks offstage.

CALLER

(sighs)

Slut.

QUICK BLACKOUT.

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