Zac Gershberg

Zac Gershberg

Zac Gershberg

WASHINGTON, D.C. — For over two weeks since the presidential election was held here in this wizened democracy, the regime party has persistently refused to concede what international observers confirm was a free and fair election won in excess of several million votes by the weak, disorganized opposition.

The tempestuous ruler, having recently recovered from a bout of infectious disease he variously insisted was a hoax, would magically disappear, and could be countered by a host of fantastical cures, like injecting bleach, lashed out in anger by purging the Defense Ministry of its top officials.

Impeached but not convicted earlier this election year for bribing a foreign leader, the overly sensitive strongman has also vocalized his displeasure with the otherwise reliable Ministry of Propaganda, which lapsed in its first-order duties by accurately alerting the public that a southwestern desert state had indeed voted for the opposition candidate.

This election marks the seventh loss of the popular vote for the regime party in the last eight elections, yet its leading representatives hold out hope the nation’s High Tribunal, now packed for the foreseeable future with loyal apparatchiks, can jettison the results and thwart the will of the people.

Such incessant whining from the regime’s partisans has proven remarkably resilient in a nation where they enjoy structural advantages in both Star Chambers of government due to gerrymandering and other geographic distribution effects. For instance, Idaho, a pleasant if small mountainous state composed of under two million people — many of whom distrust, even rebel against, any material sign of progress — is represented by the same number of senators as California, a diverse, economic powerhouse of 40 million residents who enjoy, on the whole, lower income taxes.

One of these senators from Idaho, a wet sock puppet widely acknowledged as rendering the most fawning service to the Dear Leader, comfortably won re-election after images emerged of him “authentically” sporting a denim shirt and hauling around bales of hay. He continues to promise that, at some point, he will hold this one really mean foreign adversary accountable for corrupt trade practices.

Overall, the United States of America, once admired worldwide as a cradle of democracy, now finds itself descending into chaos as regime partisans continue to deny the existence of reality.

“Neener neener,” some of the ruler’s lawyers are fond of boasting in court when confronted with the widespread absence of electoral impropriety.

“We’re a republic not a democracy anyway,” some of the strongman’s most passionate fanatics can be overheard saying to their fellow citizens.

As for the opposition party, its leadership is composed of an aging gerontocracy that, in recent years, has lived in fear of its own shadow. Largely, it has offered nothing of substance to the public save for a vague promise to be slightly less corrupt and gross than the regime. Sources within the opposition privately complain about the erosion of democratic norms, but admit they are not going to do anything about it lest the Ministry of Propaganda call them out as “too far left.”

If permitted, this party of “Democrats” hopes to pass some form of legislation — anything, really — that might address the severe public health emergency that has left a quarter of a million citizens dead. Yet it is doubtful that the regime’s Imperial Senate Chieftain, whose love of power and wealth overrides traditional concerns of democratic governance, will allow any such desire to help people come to fruition.

The nation’s media apparatus, meanwhile, is terrified of the regime party’s decades-long campaign of “bias,” and blanch at informing the public that democracy hangs in the balance. Such propaganda finds mass popularity among a generation of citizens called “Boomers,” the highly influential demographic characterized by its enthusiasm for dismantling the country’s once vaunted public education infrastructure, poisoning its beautiful environment, and complaining about kids-these-days.

Whether authoritarianism and plutocracy continue to wash over this one-time plucky, resourceful nation is hard to determine at this time.

Hope for compromise does exist as some regime party officials have tentatively signaled a willingness to allow a brief, illusory projection of opposition power. It is the intention of these reasonable figures to spend the next few years affecting a pretense of serious concern over the nation’s growing debt before returning to smash up the place once again.

For now, the populist tribune of the masses has retreated to one of his private golf clubs, discussing, among his peer group of wealthy confederates, whether to live out his days in the tacky splendor of his gilded New York tower or his rococo castle on a Florida beach.

Or install a throne room in the White House and decree the nation shall be ruled by monarchy. This option, according to some loyal and patriotic regime party members who insist they alone possess the true meaning of the country’s constitution, “would be what the Founders would have wanted.”

Alas, time will tell. The world watches.

Zac Gershberg is an associate professor of journalism and media studies at Idaho State University