Forget who you would vote for in a contested primary. It’s time to think about which presidential candidate you would want to have on your side in a REAL fight.
14. Ted Cruz
Let’s be clear here: Ted Cruz is not just the worst presidential candidate to have on your side in a bar fight. He is the worst possible human being to have on your side in a bar fight. And it’s not only because when he speaks he sounds like Eddie Murphy doing his nerd character. It’s that everyone hates Ted Cruz, and they hate him for a reason. Not just Democrats, everyone. Ted Cruz is famously and vigorously loathed by everyone in his own party. Fellow Republican Bob Dole has been out of politics for like 20 years and even he takes the time to hate Ted Cruz.
That is because Ted Cruz is on nobody’s side in any fight but that of Ted Cruz, and he’s more than happy to tank the side he’s supposed to be on if it will win him even the tiniest personal gain. Elderly moneyed relatives of Cruz must get distinctly jumpy when he comes to visit.
This isn’t just a warning about having Cruz on your side in a bar fight; don’t even enter the same bar as Cruz. As Cruz’s government shutdown stunt illustrates, he’s the guy who will goad, insult, and posture until you’re suddenly in a brawl you never wanted or needed to have. Once the fists start flying, he scoops the tips off the tables and weasels out the back.
Do not have Ted Cruz on your side in a bar fight.
13. Donald Trump
Another big talker who prefers that other people take the consequences of his barreling around. It’s baffling that so many of Trump’s fans still think he’s a tough guy when everyone who has been in so much as a playground dustup knows that anyone who feels the need for that much bluster is going to fold like a paper crane once an actual fight starts. Trump is going to be a screamer, a cryer, and a bleeder. He’s also going to be the guy who immediately starts shouting “No fair!” and tries to get everyone to stop the fight and start over because of some bullshit rule he just made up like everybody was supposed to take their jackets off first, and if they won’t stop, the win doesn’t really count.
Trump is going to howl bloody murder the second someone lands the first punch on him — which will be instantly — and he’s going to be out the back way almost immediately after Cruz. The best you can hope for is that he won’t be able to resist insulting the kitchen staff and gets his ass kicked on the way out.
He’s going to break into a run as soon as they belt-and-ear hurl him out the door, and he’ll be on television recounting his made-up heroics while you’re still getting punched by some biker who’s wearing an enormous signet ring. Do not have Donald Trump on your side in a bar fight.
12. Rick Santorum
Rick Santorum has spent his career being publicly uncomfortable with people who have gaydar. But in this case, he should be more personally concerned with fraydar. Because, as you’ll notice, the instant you read his name, you thought “Oh, Rick Santorum can’t fight.” You don’t know how you know or when you understood it, but you know, deep in your soul, right in your very bones, that Rick Santorum cannot fight. Most people internalize it as a deep universal truth, a core principle like gravity or the forward direction of time, within eight seconds of hearing him begin to speak.
I’m not saying that Rick Santorum won’t want to fight or try to fight. He will sincerely do his best, which is what puts him well over having finks like Trump or Cruz on your side. It’s just that his best will consist of windmilling his arms while squeezing his eyes shut tight.
If you must have him on your side in a bar fight, try to spin his high, keening wail as a battle cry.
11. Mike Huckabee
At last we hit someone on this list who might have an idea of what fighting might consist of. I am not for a moment suggesting that Mike Huckabee would be particularly good at fighting. Just that he knows what a haymaker should look like. He’s not actually going to throw any haymakers or any other kind of punch, of course. Huckabee is a rush-and-shove kind of guy.
The advantage to Huckabee being on your side in a bar fight is the same thing that makes him keep losing the Republican nomination: Underneath the carefully smooth and reasonable-sounding tones, that little fucker is mean. Listen to him talk about The Homosexuals or a woman who has become pregnant in a context of which he does not approve. While he won’t be a skilled fighter, until he gets taken out (which will be early), Huckabee will hit hard and low, and he will bite. You want Huckabee on your side in the same way that warring medieval lords wanted hardy but disposable peasants on their side: He’s not a power player, but he might slow the enemy down for a second.
10. Rand Paul
While we’re fighting dirty, if you want unbridled eye-gouging, shots to the testicles, rabbit punches, and possibly tasing, look no further than Rand Paul. Paul claims to be a libertarian, but he’s not the old-fashioned kind who cares about individual freedoms on principle. He’s one of the new kind of “Libertarians” who care deeply about their own you’re-not-the-boss-of-me manbaby freedoms, but are fine with legislating women’s bodies and letting other people in general lose their voting rights and/or die horribly, right along with schools and sidewalks. Paul also got in hot water a few years ago for saying that he doesn’t think passing the Civil Rights Act was such a hot idea. So he’s what we now call a Libertarian, but we used to call an asshole.
Rand Paul would be freaking deadly to spend time with in a bar, but he’d do some useful (and horrific) dirty fighting damage in the first 30 to 45 seconds of your bar fight, right up until he decided he might be at some tiny personal risk and abandoned you by skulking out the same exit that Cruz and Trump disappeared through.
Note: If he is on your side in a bar fight, you might be able to get an extra minute of usefulness out of him by blocking any fire exits. God knows he won’t pass any legislation to stop you.
9. Ben Carson
I know it seems like Carson should be lower on this list. He always seems to be waaaaay too relaxed — even sleepy — to be able to react well, and he’s done enough Trumpian lie-bragging about fighting to suggest that he will in fact be abysmal in a bar fight.
But the man has been a practicing surgeon and presumably will know more about anatomy than anyone else in the melee by far. If he doesn’t have a scalpel on him, get a steak knife into his hands. As a bonus, no one will be able to tell what he’s talking about during his pre-fight smack talk. That will make Carson seem like a frightening wild card. Use it.
8. Martin O’Malley
Will Martin O’Malley win you a bar fight? No. But he has certainly demonstrated that he’s the guy who will stay in there and keep plugging when he’s in a battle that he absolutely, positively, with 100% metaphysical certainty will not win. He won’t surprise you. He won’t suddenly snap into Berserker Mode. He won’t be someone you necessarily remember is there. But he will keep swinging, and attention must be paid.
7. Jeb Bush
Yes, I know your fraydar just went off again, and went off hard. It’s probably still shrieking and you’re trying to figure out how to get the damn battery out. Stay with me. It is true that Jeb will never in a million years be able to fight, and that the absolute best-case scenario for his bad-ass ready stance will be him putting the backs of his fists up high and forward in the Victorian fisticuffs pose. It is also true that this smack talk will be wretchedly awkward, and he will stumble over poorly constructed shoe insults before he finally gets frustrated and calls someone on the other side “New money.”
But Jeb Bush is a big dude, and as long as you can quickly get him to untuck his shirt and just loom there while remaining completely silent — I SAID SHUT THE FUCK UP, JEB! — he’s going to be at least a factor in getting the other side to think twice about starting the fight in the first place. Once things get going, he’s, again, not going to be a good fighter. But, much like the current election, he will make his peace with the fact that he’s in this awful thing now and there’s nothing he can do about it, so he may as well see it out. Jeb’s going to be a lurch-puncher, the guy who swings too hard with zero control, but his lunging and crashing may actually do your side some good. Don’t be afraid to shove him into opponents. He’ll understand.
6. Marco Rubio
OK, sure. Whatever. Much like the Republican race, Rubio is ranked this high because he seems to be in reasonably good health and everyone else in the fray is so screamingly awful.
5. Carly Fiorina
Fiorina is yet another well-documented liar in this pack (wow), but she hasn’t to date lied about fighting, which suggests she may be hiding some real goods. We certainly would have heard about it if Fiorina had been taking Krav Maga or something, but it’s undeniable that she’s a scrapper. And completely coldbloodedly ruthless. It’s entirely possible that she’d come at the other side after strobe-stunning them with a demure pink tactical flashlight she’s been hiding in her purse.
There’s no way she is winning the presidency, but don’t write Carly Fiorina off in a bar fight.
4. Chris Christie
Again, Christie is not going to be one of the best physical fighters you’ve ever seen, but it’s a good bet that the guy knows how to throw a punch. Plus Christie has the intimidation factor. He knows how to be mean, loud, and carry menace. And he’s a powerful man from New Jersey, which means everyone is going to assume he’s mobbed up. That’ll make people think twice, and you may not have to have a bar fight at all.
If a fight does happen, he’ll get a few respectable shots in, and he may bellow loudly enough to drown out Santorum and Jeb. And, win or lose, you’ll have the comfort of knowing that when it comes to being vindictive, Christie is a complete and total bastard. Your side may have a few lacerations and broken ribs, but the other side just woke up to find out that their bridges and subway lines have been closed and there will be no trash pickup until 2019. Revenge is a dish best served on a buffet of sorrows, and Chris Christie is their new maitre d’.
3. John Kasich
John Kasich is your stealth weapon in a bar fight. He seems boring, like Rubio levels of boring, and then you find out he wants to do lunatic shit like create a government agency to beam Judeo-Christian values to other countries.
Kasich is the guy who shows up to the bar in business casual and turns out to be carrying a butterfly knife. He’s the guy who scares the piss out of everyone by wading into the deepest part of the fray while swinging double-fist thunderpunches and screaming an extemporaneous sermon.
He’s the guy carving tattoos into his own arm with a broken bottle, the guy who palmed a handful of darts twenty freaking minutes before you even sensed there would be a fight, the guy who is slamming someone’s head into the bar long after the fight is over, screaming “Taste it! Taste it!”
You do not want Kasich in any sort of a leadership position ever, but you definitely want him on your side in a bar fight.
2. Bernie Sanders
Yeah, I know. Bernie is old. I don’t care. Nor will anyone on the other side. He’s wiry, he’s mad, and he’s dealt with way too much bullshit to take anyone else’s.
Picture a furious Bernie Sanders coming at you while brandishing a pool cue and screaming at his mid-speech Full Righteous volume. You’re damn right you’d be scrambling backwards while trying to cover your vital organs. If you see even a hint of an impending tavern brawl, get Bernie on your side immediately, and use him for cover if you’re injured. They shall not pass.
Honorable Mention: Lindsey Graham
Though I think it was an entirely correct decision, I’m a little disappointed that Graham dropped out of the Presidential race, because this is where I would have ranked him. His parents ran a bar/pool hall/liquor store when he was a child, so the man knows his way around bar fight strategy. He will have the kind of deep, intuitive knowledge about brawling that little kids who were raised in snow country have about skiing or hockey.
But what really earns him this spot is the fact that young men who live in certain areas of this country and do not display enough broad stereotypical indicators of macho heterosexual masculinity have to learn how to win a fistfight, and they have to learn it early. I guarantee you: Lindsey Graham can fucking fight. He’s not going to be easy to goad into a bar fight, but once it’s on, Lindsey Graham is going to go full-on balls-out hammer-down mad-monkey terrordome crazy, and he will take on three guys if he has to. Hell, he may take on three guys just for the sheer pleasure of it.
Lindsey Graham isn’t on your side in a bar fight. Lindsey Graham is your side in a bar fight.
1. Hillary Clinton
Get, that, dirt off your shoulder. pic.twitter.com/l2m888ChtH
— Colin Jones (@colinjones) October 22, 2015
Really? You want to pull your girls-can’t-fight nonsense with this one? She may not be great at those dumb campaign-trail talk-show things where she has to dance or laugh delightedly at silly anecdotes, but you’d better believe she’s going to be a natural at throwing a punch. Not to mention the fact that she’s had freaking decades of politely French-pressing rage over bullshit sexist coverage of her serious Presidential campaigns and the entire world’s media speculating on intimate details of her marriage. Hell, Hillary Clinton probably needs a bar fight.
Plus, Clinton takes care of her own. If you’re on her team and you’re in a fight, she’s going to be breaking chairs over people’s backs. And I don’t know where she got that bike chain that she’s whirling over her head, but there’s no time to think about that now; just be glad you’re not the guy she side-kicked into the juke box. Or the one who just had a beer stein spiked into his head.
When the fight is over, be sure to thank her with proper respect, buy her a beer, and relish the speed with which she composes herself and the shining pleasure in her eyes.
You need Hillary Clinton on your side in a bar fight.