It has already been a whirlwind of a political campaign for the 2016 presidential election in the United States. There have been an endless number of announcements, mostly from Republicans, about beginning bids for party nominations and elections. In fact, it seems like just about anyone can run for president. In mid-August of 2015 in North Carolina, polls revealed that a surprise candidate had garnered 9% of voter interest. That candidate was Deez Nuts.
Yes, you heard that correctly: Deez Nuts is running for president.
Oh, North Carolina. Where people will get in an an hours-long debate about which style of barbeque sauce is better. Where Voter ID laws are passed to suppress marginalized voters. Where liberal hubs and academic centers are surrounded by rural farmland and conservative countryside. It’s no wonder that something so brilliant and ridiculous would occur in the unique state of North Carolina, as well as Iowa and Minnesota.
So, who is Deez Nuts anyway? Technically, Deez Nuts is a 15-year-old satirist who made up the candidate to poke fun at the political system. But Deez Nuts is more than just a teenaged internet troll: Deez Nuts is an idea. And an idea is powerful, because an idea can never die.
While obviously it turned out to be a fluke, there’s no telling what power Deez Nuts has stored up. All joking aside (well, some) this power play alone has put Deez Nuts on the map, and the deeper message behind his presidential bid – to satirize the ridiculous nature of presidential races and draw attention away from the two party system – was met with open minds.
And satire, as silly as it can be, is necessary for American politics. Beginning with satirical writings and political cartoons in the 1700s – and well before then in other parts of the world – satirization of politics has been a core part of political discourse. Where would we be without our caricatured image of Abraham Lincoln? Without our unnecessary knowledge of William H. Taft’s large weight?
Recently, satire has taken the form of television programs led by funnymen Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, as well as in simpler forms through Saturday Night Live and even The Simpsons. Everyone remembers how impactful Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin impression was in the 2008 election, and that was just a 5-minute sketch. We have yet to see what permanent damage Deez Nuts’ national fame and political success will do for the 2016 election bids. Unfortunately we won’t have Jon Stewart this election, but at least we got Deez Nuts.
Ok, so it may be a bit strong to say that Deez Nuts is the future of America, even jokingly. But the fact that there have been national news stories about him and the fact that 9% of citizens in the state of North Carolina showed support for him means that, for whatever reason, Deez Nuts has made an impact. And let’s be honest: even a fake candidate created by a bored 15-year-old would do a better job than some of the people currently running.