There is perhaps no better encapsulation of Charles Dickens’ immortal words, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” than the 2016 Republican presidential primary. It was, generally speaking, the absolute fucking worst—but in its own warped ways, and in terms of watching grown men humiliate themselves on a national stage, it was also sometimes the best, you know what I mean?
As we embark once again on what’s already shaping up to be a nasty and comically uncivil Republican presidential primary for 2024, I find that there are a handful of moments from the 2016 primary that I’m still earnestly trying to process. Yes, we’ve already seen former President Donald Trump call Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) “Tiny D,” “Meatball Ron,” and “Rob”; we’ve seen Trump share an AI-generated Twitter Space of DeSantis announcing his presidential bid alongside gay Satan and Adolf Hitler. We’ve seen Trump’s eldest boy share an edited The Office clip showing DeSantis getting mocked for cross-dressing. We’ve seen Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), for whatever reason, share that he didn’t lose his virginity until he was 46. And, mind you, the first Republican presidential debate isn’t even until Aug. 23.
But I still have to believe this is all just the tip of the iceberg for the 2024 cycle, considering what we saw last time a Republican presidential field was this expansive. I have fond memories of former presidential hopefuls Ted Cruz and Ben Carson working out their differences in a supply closet, Trump instigating a very literal dick-measuring contest, and watching Cruz inadvertently elbow his wife in the face at a rally announcing the end of his campaign.
Yep, those were the days. Now, join me in a nasty little trip down memory lane...