Monday, July 20, 2015

Tis the season for super fans

The baseball season is a long one and when the Sox are in a particularly gruesome stretch, I often think of my friends who root for teams like the San Diego Padres or the Milwaukee Brewers. For them, almost every season feels like a futile undertaking and to make matters worse they have no World Series titles — ever — to look back on and celebrate.

I have to believe that supporters of presidential candidates like Lincoln Chafee and Rick Santorum are beginning to feel like fans of these historically bad teams. I suppose that Rick Santorum supporters can look back on the 2012 GOP primary when he won 11 primaries and caucuses (coming in second to Mitt Romney) as the high point, but with so many GOP candidates in the race for 2016, it seems unlikely that a candidate so far on the right will have any shot at the nomination. His supporters and staffers are the equivalent of super fans — those diehards who talk more about prospects than current standings and who paint themselves with war paint when a team is a mere 5 or 6 games back. A few years ago there was a super fan with Brewer fever who set up a website called “Pee Your Pants for the Brewers” and he and thousands of others pledged to wet themselves if the Brewers made the playoffs. Sadly (or thankfully?) the Brewers did not make the playoffs and there was much less laundry to tend to in Milwaukee.

Rhode Island’s own Lincoln Chafee has an even steeper cliff to climb in his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. The somewhat meteoric rise of Senator Bernie Sanders as the true voice of the left side of the Democratic party has been a bit of a surprise for many and probably took any chance the Chafee might have to become part of the conversation. After all, someone who has been elected to public office only as a Republican or an Independent might have a hard time convincing “real” Democrats that he was more suited to carry their banner than the lifelong Democrats he’s running against. Don’t take my word for it though — a Monmouth University poll came out last week with some bad news for the Chafee camp. Of the 1,001 adults surveyed, not one said they would vote for him for president. The last time I can remember hearing so many chuckles about a 0.0 was when Mr. Blutarsky’s mid-term GPA was announced in “Animal House”.

Unlike a MLB team in the middle of a bad season, presidential candidates can bow out of the race gracefully and spend their time and resources on doing something for the public good. Both Santorum and Chafee have long records of public service and could probably find a better way to use their time than trying to garner 3% of the vote. We can all hope that neither one of them catches Brewer fever.

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