We still have a full 252 days until the presidential election, and the Republican primaries don’t end until June. And yet this election cycle has already melted down to an impressively ridiculous degree, culminating with Marco Rubio blazing across the South trying to match Donald Trump insult for insult. This is a bad plan!
Trump, as you may have noticed, is a dedicated insult enthusiast, a man practically synonymous with name-calling as well as a certain delicate shade of ochre. He’s probably the only presidential candidate willing to tweet things like this, making fun of Rubio sweating during a debate:
It’s so exciting to be this close to electing our first shit-posting meme enthusiast president, isn’t it?
Trump’s ability to hang out in the gutter—to really make it his home—is impressive, but Rubio has been doing his best to cram in there beside him, or, as the New York Times puts it, trading “playground insults” with Trump as he tours the Southern states. Their mileage has... varied. Let’s rank ten of the most recent ones, from worst to best:
Rubio suggests Trump is a baby who wet his pants backstage during the most recent debate:
First, he had this little makeup thing applying, like makeup around his mustache, because he had one of those sweat mustaches. The he asked for a full-length mirror. I don’t know why, the podium only went up to here.
Maybe to make sure his pants weren’t wet, I don’t know.
Almost stooping too effectively to Trump’s level, Marco.
Rubio’s newest ad, “Knockout,” features triumphant footage of them yelling at each other at the debate. His team has been tweeting it out referring to Trump as a “con artist.” It’s barely an insult, which is why we’re ranking it so low. More of an observation.
“He’s not a tough guy.”
“Injuries from squash” is kind of funny, we suppose. But “not a tough guy” calls attention to the #MasculinitySoFragile undertones of this fight, a creeping awareness that politics is a soft-handed line of work. Neither of you are tough guys. Let’s move on.
Hmm. A bunch of lunatics, actually? This one might need to be a shade more pointed to really work.
It’s shitting on undocumented people, of course, because this is a GOP argument we’re talking about, but also, that one’s at least a reference to something that actually happened.
Rubio’s online store is selling broken “Trump watches,” calling back a moment in the last debate where Rubio declared that Trump would be “selling watches like these in Manhattan” if he hadn’t inherited money from his dad.
The specificity and effort this one took is impressive, but realistically, Trump would be selling time-shares, come on.
“He’s flying around on Hair Force One and tweeting.”
“Hair Force One” just made me laugh.
Also, this reminds us — does someone know which millenial Rubio just hired to write his jokes? Please email if you do.
“Donald is not going to make America great. He’s going to make it orange.”
Again: this one at least has the virtue of being sort of true!
“Trump likes to sue people. He should sue whoever did that to his face.”
This is the same speech in which he attacked Trump for having “the worst spray-tan in America.”
Again: not that funny, extremely petty, but... not... untrue. And spiritually very close to the kinds of insults that Trump himself dishes out. We’ll allow it.
“He’s like 6'2", which is why I don’t understand why his hands are the size of someone who’s 5'2". Have you seen his hands? They’re like this? And you know what they say about men with small hands. You can’t trust them.”
A dick joke. A joke about the size of Trump’s dick. There it is.
It really says something that Rubio leveled that one during a rally at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia, and even the college students seem shocked. “Oh my God,” you can see a bro in a button-down mouthing, over Rubio’s shoulder.
At the same time it’s strangely satisfying, isn’t it? Every moment of the GOP primary has been leading up to this, and now here we are. Someone please fetch the tape measure and we can finally, mercifully, put an end to this thing.
Rubio and Trump patiently waiting their turn to embarass themselves, February 25, 2016. Photo via AP Images