President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden at the first 2020 presidential debate

Image / C-SPAN
President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden at the first 2020 presidential debate.

QuickTakes is a monthly column where Opinion Editor Vincent Rendon connects a hamster wheel to his brain via USB cord and writes about five topics pulled from a hat. 

Fun certifiably-awful activity: watching political ads

If you’re like me, you hardly ever see advertisements anymore. Adblock on Youtube videos, watching Netflix instead of cable, and breaking various laws to view other forms of media for free mean which the only ads I ever see are on social media. Social media ads, meanwhile, are always for the dumbest things—to the point where they barely feel like the ads of the good ol’ days. The other day, however, I was forced to resort to watching basic cable television and, to my horor, was bombarded with political ads. Something about the harmony of my ad-free existence being broken by some of the dumbest advertisements I’ve ever seen caused me serious psychic damage. If you haven’t seen a political ad in a while, go seek one out. Genuinely, they are ALL frustratingly lame and stupid regardless of who or what you support, and if you are under 40 and walk away from the experience feeling good then I extend my dearest sympathies to your bloodline. 

Fake California ballot boxes prove that our democracy is very dumb

If it sounds like I am using words like “dumb” and “stupid” a lot it is because a lot of what is going on lately is dumb and stupid, if not downright tragic. Case in point, California officials began to notice that the California Republican Party was establishing fake ballot drop off boxes and advertising their locations. Naturally, they sent the California GOP a cease and desist for obvious attempts to trick people about an important civic matter. In response, the GOP and Trump said, “lol nah.”  Who knows if anything will actually get done, or if people will be held accountable. It is all up in the air! The fact this can even happen in a modern nation that constantly pats itself on the back for their wondrous democracy is, indeed, dumb and stupid. 

Why are you torturing yourself by watching the Amy Coney Barret hearings? 

Look, I’ve been down bad before. I understand what it is like to reach serious low points. However, watching a Supreme Court nomination process in its entirety is a brand new definition of bad. Unless you have created a really fun 9 a.m. drinking game for the event, what could you possibly be expecting to gain from it? If anything juicy happens, surely you will see it on your Twitter feed or in the news later. Journalists get paid the not-so-big bucks to watch these snooze fests for you and recount the important parts after, so there’s really no reason to wake up early to watch some of the most boring theater possible with a few sparse moments of action thrown in. At that point, you might as well watch baseball.

How will the next debate suck? Take your bets! (THIS SECTION NOT FOR PRINT EDITION)

The first Presidential debate was an all around mess, full of incomprehensible dialogue and a complete lack of order. The first Vice Presidential debate was drier than hardtack and was only notable for the brief appearance of a fly that will surely inspire some of the lamest “Saturday Night Live” jokes you’ve ever seen. There was originally meant to be another Presidential debate on October 15, but that was cancelled due to the President’s sickness. So, that means there is plenty of time to make wagers on how the (tentatively scheduled) October 22 debate will suck! I’ll put my money on the moderator asking a question regarding a very obscure and irrelevant topic snowballing out of control to dominate the debate. The casinos should let people put money on this.

Determining the best drink to watch the election results with

I know it is “bad taste” to treat politics like a sporting defense, but media companies have made their scoreboard-style system the only way to be informed about what goes on election night. Sadly, unlike normal election nights, the results we receive on November 3rd will be incomplete and inconclusive due to the high volume of mail in ballots that will be counted later. Meaning, whatever weird emotion that normally would be on display based on the outcome will need to be suppressed. Still, it is high time to pick a good drink for this year’s festivities. Gin served neat, for example, is a good choice because you probably hate yourself by this point in the campaign cycle. Alternatively, force yourself into good spirits by downing a couple Jack-and-Cokes, the most American drink. For the non-alcoholic drinkers, it only makes sense to commemorate such an awful year with the most awful of drinks—grape soda. 

Vincent Rendon can be reached at or on Twitter @VinceSagebrush.