Staffers for the 2016 presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton say they have not yet decided when to inform the public that the former first lady and secretary of state died at the start of 2013.
“We actually did try to inform the world that Hillary had tragically passed, but no one would believe us,” said Jim Messina, a chief Democratic operative who was at Clinton’s bedside more than two years ago when the decision was made to pull the plug after a blood clot left her in a vegetative state. “Everyone said that it wasn’t possible, because Hillary’s going to be the first woman president of America. It’s written in the prophecies.”
After consultations with her husband Bill and several longtime aides, it was decided that Hillary should continue to run for president, even as she lay in a morgue awaiting burial. The chief concern was how a campaign might be carried out. Would she still be able to stump, grant interviews, and eventually debate opponents while unalive? As Messina explains it, none of those worries will matter.
“Hillary has a cultish following, and lots of folks get all tingly in the nether region just thinking about her and Bill back in the White House,” Messina said. “And anyway, with Twitter and other forms of social media taking the forefront of how candidates get their messages across, traditional media can be discounted entirely. It will be very easy for us to promote the Hillary brand without Hillary.”
Most constitutional scholars agree that there is nothing in Article II that specifically forbids the election of a deceased person, and because a president’s day-to-day responsibilities are generally handled by cabinet members and a team of staffers anyway, a dead Hillary Clinton serving as commander-in-chief would not come with many drawbacks.
Lucas Garrison, Team Hillary’s social media coordinator, says he doesn’t think that it’s important if Clinton is alive in order for her to be the best president ever. Her greatest assets, he says, are name recognition and high approval ratings among moderates, both of which don’t require her to be breathing.
“The name Clinton has an intoxicating effect, and hearing it brings many voters back to the excitement and optimism of the 1990s,” Garrison said. “It was great time to be alive. The internet was new and anyone could make in a buck in dot-coms. Our old adversary Russia was on its knees and being led by an incompetent drunk. And a lot chicks in my college worried that the Y2K bug would bring about the end of the world, so they were putting out left and right.”
Even in death, staffers believe, Hillary Clinton will be an effective president, and she will help to carry out many items high on the Democratic agenda, including tighter gun control and more restrictions on carbon emissions. Also, electing her as the first non-living woman to serve as president will prove the country’s willingness to break down gender barriers and traditional preferences for leaders who are animated and sentient.
Messina says that once the decision is made to convince the public that Clinton is no longer among the living, which could come as late as next year, her campaign will simultaneously shift its focus to the weaknesses of other Democrats in the field. Then, by showing that a deceased Clinton can win the Democratic primary, Messina and others believe that she’ll be able to coast to an easy victory over her eventual Republican opponent.
“Think of some like [Republican New Jersey governor] Chris Christie, who will likely succomb to heart failure in the next few years anyway,” Messina said. “We will effortlessly persuade voters that Hillary has more working knowledge of the afterlife than he does, and that’s a message that will resonate with voters of all ages.”
“And someone like [Republican Texas senator] Ted Cruz wouldn’t stand a chance, even if some people believe him to already be dead as well, just because he had no heartbeat,” Messina added.
So far, campaign staffers have kept their mouths shut about possible running mates, but many observers believe that the team will opt for Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren, whose liberal credentials would balance out what many see as Hillary’s hawkishness and ties to big business. However, one source claims that the team has put former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt at the top of the list, saying that she would make a wonderful first deceased lesbian vice president, adding that she would be great for entertaining visiting heads of state as she can recount meeting King George VI, partying with aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart, and welcoming former child star Shirley Temple to the White House in 1938.