While most Americans are understandably sick to death of this year’s nightmarish presidential race, a British tour agency — called Political Tours — is busy putting the final touches on “US Election Tour 2016.”
Yes, a number of stalwart, stiff-upper-lip Brits — still reeling from Brexit — are actually ponying up £3,650 apiece to visit key locations in the epic confrontation of Trump vs. Clinton (AKA the Campaign from Hell).
The week-long tour — timed for maximum excitement from November 2 to November 9, the day after the election — visits the key battleground state of Florida as well as Washington, DC (which, of course, will be devoid of Congresspeople, who are all back home trolling for votes).
Political insider David Rancourt will lead the tour. Described as “a senior political strategist and veteran of both Democratic and Republican electoral campaigns for over 20 years,” he offers a uniquely “I’ll-work-for-anyone” perspective on this year’s race.
Florida — where Al Gore’s dreams went to die in 2000 — is the big draw on the itinerary, but Political Tours takes its name seriously. The schedule doesn’t appear to include beach time or visits to Disney World, though one could argue that there’s a fair amount of Fantasyland in Election 2016.
Political Tours hypes Florida this way: “Polling experts say Trump must win here if he is to have a chance of taking the presidency.” Riveting seminars await on the sordid history of hanging chads and butterfly ballots.
I have to admit, as both a travel and political junkie, I tingle at the prospects!
Key Members of Campaign Teams — and More!
Here is the upcoming itinerary — altered just a bit, as a jaded guide might have edited it:
The tour kicks off in Tallahassee, Florida’s state capital, where we will be meeting with “key members” of both the Democratic and Republican campaign teams, as well as a pollster, blue-collar workers (said to be leaning Trump), and members of the black community (leaning heavily Clinton). And what of the dilemma of black blue-collar workers? Can one lean two ways at once? Perhaps the pollster can sort this out for us.
Next day it’s on to Gainesville, where a Florida State professor weighs in on the 2000 “hanging chad” controversy, and to a “massive” retirement community, normally heavily Republican, where “Trump needs the ‘base’ to turn out in force if he is to have any chance of taking the state.” It’s said that the Trump Foundation has poured millions of dollars into wheelchair purchases in the Gainesville area alone; coincidence?
Then comes the piece de resistance: “We join campaigners canvassing and meeting local supporters in their homes before driving south to Tampa.” (OK, we admit it’s not quite “We visit indigenous communities on Bolivia’s beautiful Lake Titicaca before driving the famous Highway of Death en route to Peru’s Macchu Pichu,” but it does send chills down one’s spine, does it not?)
Tampa, though, really promises to be a barnburner.
After a hearty Floridian breakfast (try the grits!), we will learn that “Early voting has already started in the state – we see how it works.” (Or doesn’t, as the case may be!)
Then we trot out the heavyweights: “A former Florida governor, a leading journalist and a publisher all speak to us about campaigning in the state. A former chair of the Republican National Committee talks about campaign finance and what’s changed in this year’s election.”
Surely we’ll sleep soundly that night!
The next morning it’s time to fly to Washingon, DC, the colonial capital! Only two days to go before Election 2016, and a leading poll analyst will offer his or her predictions over lunch. A “prominent Democrat” (to be named later) will assess Obama’s two terms, while dearly wishing he could run for a third.
Then, “we step back a little and look at how divided U.S. politics has become – how did this evolve? A senior Republican politician gives his insight.” (And he should know.)
Dinner and overnight follow — could they possibly be at Trump’s ballyhooed new hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue? You’ll have to join the tour to find out!
The Big Day Nears!
Finally we reach the eve of Election Day, Monday, November 7. This is the day for “final predictions” and assessing the “long term fallout” from 2016, which we dearly hope won’t be nuclear.
It starts with a visit to the bureau of one of the country’s leading newspapers in DC, where editors weigh in on the campaign. The excitement further builds as a constitutional expert attempts to explain the intricacies of the electoral college, which turns out to be nothing like any college any of us ever went to! (No beer, no pizza, no frat parties of any kind….or are there?)
The Centre for Public Integrity, formerly the Don Quixote Institute of Windmill-Tilting, will brief us on how the campaign was financed.
Rival Democrats and Republicans then present their final thoughts on a pressing question the day before the vote. “What is the long-term impact of Trump on the Republican party?” At this point, do you even care?
Then comes the moment we’ve all waiting for: Free time to explore Washington in the afternoon! Handy handouts include lists of nearby shops, museums, and, of course, pubs (Insider Tip: beer, it seems, is served cold, but if you let it sit for awhile it gets warmer. Meanwhile, “chips” are what we call crisps, so don’t be fooled — ask for “fries” with your fish. Seriously.)
As the Big Day finally arrives, we visit two DC suburbs to examine get-out-the-vote efforts in one wealthy area and one poor area, what might be called the “Champagne Campaign” versus the “Two-Buck Shuck.” (Are we being too cheeky here?)
Then it’s off to a national TV studio “as they assess the exit polls.” How do they do it? And just exactly how do they call the winner? Do they even know or do they just tune in to the other networks? We’ll find out — or not.
Reluctantly, on the Day After, we bid adieu to our new-found friends in DC and across the States. But first, we’ll examine the results with a “former New York Times polling expert. There are options to join Democratic or Republican groups as the results come in overnight,” which should make our fond farewells even more awkward.
During a Wednesday morning brunch, “we’ll review the election campaign with several commentators and look at the election’s decisive moments.” Will they prove to have been charges of groping and grabbing, or something to do with missing emails? Will they involve putting your opponent in jail, or in the loony bin? Will Vladimir Putin be cheering or jeering?
You won’t want to miss this one!
Late-Breaking Note: Sorry, ladies and gents, the tour is already sold out! Or cancelled due to a sudden wave of nausea sweeping our clientele. (You decide!)
It seems you’ll have to wait another four years for “US Election Tour 2020.” Will it be Hillary vs. Mike Pence or The Donald vs. Tuppence? (We couldn’t resist that one.) Our experts will have it sorted for you before you can say, “Kill me now!”
And in the meantime, why not try our insightful tour of North Korea? Plenty of spots open on that one!
And remember, Americans, don’t forget to vote!