Counting Down the 50 Craziest Moments of the Election Cycle: Nos. 50–41

Donald Trump Signs Autographs
Donald Trump signs autographs at a rally in Eugene, Oregon, on May 7. Jim Urquhart/Reuters

It has been called the year of electile dysfunction. We, the American electorate, have endured nearly 12 solid months during which cable news channels almost completely recused themselves from covering news—with the exception of the occasional Islamic State militant group (ISIS) strike in Europe or visually arresting natural calamity—in favor of the 24/7 carnival of clownage that is the 2016 presidential election.

Who is most fit to govern and sit in the Oval Office? Who cares? The real question is whose name ("Trump") is on the bottom of the screen when you tune in to CNN, Fox News or MSNBC. The run to the White House is now just another ratings-ravenous reality show ("Hillary, will you accept this Rose Garden?") infiltrated with players who are sophisticated students (or practitioners) of the genre.

Be you a liberal-minded blue-stater dismissing the 2016 election as "Dem and Dumber" or a staunch conservative referring to the Democratic hopefuls as "Bernghazi," it doesn't matter. Hold up a selfie stick to this year's election cycle and you must admit that both sides fall under the umbrella of democrazy.

Welcome to the political age of Survivor: Super-PAC. It's an era when presidential hopefuls quickly learn that there is something worse than having no platform on the issues and that is to poll at below 5 percent. It is a wonder that every primary has not ended with an appearance by Jeff Probst somberly informing the candidate tallying the lowest number of delegates that "the tribe has spoken."

The gaffes, the lies, the recriminations, repudiations and reconciliations have been almost too numerous to keep track of. Almost. We have endeavored, in the grand tradition of historians such as Doris Kearns Goodwin (Team of Rivals) and Chris Harrison (The Bachelor), to recall the most batshit-crazy moments of the 2016 presidential race. We've winnowed the list down to the top 50 and will roll them out 10 per day, or until our 45th president passes stricter libel laws, whichever comes first. Here are the 50 Most Batshit Crazy Moments of the 2016 Election, Nos. 50–41:

50. Donald Trump Takes the Down Escalator to Announce He'll Run

Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start. In June 2015, Donald Trump descended an escalator at his namesake Fifth Avenue tower to announce that he would run for president. Trump entered to the sounds of "Keep On Rockin' in the Free World," a 1989 song written and performed by Neil Young, a Canadian. He pledges, for the first of countless times, that "we are going to make our country great again," launching in earnest the summer of Trumpnado.

49. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders Go Native in Brooklyn

At the Democratic presidential debate in Brooklyn, candidates Clinton and Sanders bickered like two customers fighting over the same counter seat at Junior's. At last, CNN moderator Wolf Blitzer intervened. "If you are both screaming at each other," says Blitzer, "the viewers won't be able to hear either of you."

48. Runner-up Name? 'Whatever's Cheapest'


In May, Budweiser announced that it would rename its beer "America" until the November election. Trump takes credit for the marketing maneuver. "They're so impressed with what our country will become," he says, "they decided to do this before the fact."

47. The Enemy of My Enemy Is My Hillary

This month, noted conservative author and journalist P.J. O'Rourke (Republican Party Reptile) announced that he is backing presumptive Democratic candidate Clinton. "I endorse Hillary Clinton for president," O'Rourke writes in The Daily Beast. "She is the second worst thing that could happen to America."

46. Better Call Paul

Paul Ryan is slated to be the chair of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July. Jim Bourg

In the spring of 2016, as Trump continued to win state primaries by decisive margins, the number of stories elucidating the prospect of House Speaker Paul Ryan—who is not running—becoming the Republican nominee rose proportionally. President Obama, speaking at the White House Correspondents' Dinner in April, even got in a dig. "Guests [for the dinner] were asked to check whether they wanted steak or fish, but instead a whole bunch of [Republicans] wrote in 'Paul Ryan,'" says Obama. "That's not an option, people. Steak or fish. You may not like steak or fish, but that's your choice."

45. John Kasich Demonstrates a Fundamental Misunderstanding of How Relating to Your Base Works

At the Republican town hall in Milwaukee in March, the Ohio governor told CNN's Anderson Cooper, "When I left Washington [as a U.S. representative, at the end of the Clinton administration], there was a $5 trillion surplus. And guess who spent it? The Republicans."

44. Is That the World's Largest Phallic Symbol Behind You, or Are You Just Happy to Not Be in the Undercard Debate?

Project runway: the GOP debate in Simi Valley. Lucy Nicholson

In September, the Republican debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, was staged in front of a replica of Air Force One.

43. Call Me Anytime!

Trump gives out Republican Senator and anemic-polling candidate Lindsey Graham's private cellphone number on national television.

42. Newphemism*: 'Anchor Baby'

Noun, a child born in the United States to parents who are undocumented, whether those parents have been here for years or for a day, and regardless of how long they hope to stay. A popular term at the GOP debates, peaking in January when Trump accused an opponent, Ted Cruz, of himself being an anchor baby.

*A newphemism is a newly coined term that serves as a euphemism and is itself, thusly, a newphemism.

41. Ted Cruz Eats Bacon off the Muzzle of a Machine Gun

Because after all, guns don't kill people; polyunsaturated fats do.