Favorite Thanksgiving Dishes of Eight GOP Presidential Candidates

On Thursday we’ll all be strapping on the holiday feed-bag and gluttonously consuming as many calories as we can fit over our belts before we pass out on the nearest empty couch, listening to the low gurgle of one meal taking approximately 1.3 months off our expected lifespans. And the GOP candidates for president? No exceptions.

In fact, the GOP candidates will probably invite the press to their Thanksgiving feasts to portray that Norman Rockwell sort of image and to carve up a bird and humbly thank God for life, joy, and salvation from transgressors into our homeland — you know, in the true Thanksgiving spirit. And like everyone else, the 2015 GOP hopefuls have their favorite items on the table. And here they are, in all their festive glory. (Fair warning: as in the debates, we really only care about the holiday dietary faves of those candidates who are polling above a certain number. There’s a reason we have a kids’ table: so we don’t suffer interruptions to real, grown-up conversations.)
8) Jeb! Bush: Mashed Potatoes
Jeb! would like to point out that if you asked his brother this question, his brother would have answered "sweet potatoes" without hesitation. But Jeb! wants to remind America that he is his own man. Jeb! doesn’t want any potato dish that may or may not include a layer of marshmallows. Not that Jeb! has anything against marshmallows, but he’s something of a maverick about this, he has to tell you. (No wait, not a Maverick, that didn’t work last time. Let’s use the term “rebel.” That’s better.) When it’s prudent to do so, Jeb! will ask you to please pass the mashed potatoes, if it’s not too much trouble. No gravy, thank you. Just the potatoes are fine. No salt.
7) Dr. Ben Carson: Crescent Rolls
Dr. Carson loves breads of all types, because he believes they’re made from the same grains that Joseph and Moses and the Argonauts kept in the silos in Egypt, guarded in silent vigil by the Sphinx, which is actually of Greek origin, and was originally designed to hold tons of feta deep within its stony heart. Many years ago — maybe even a hundred or so — dairy thieves broke off the nose of the Sphinx trying to access the fabled stores of goat cheese that lay within. Luckily, the Sphinx was relocated for its own safety to Las Vegas by none other than Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci. All of this is recorded in the book of Poverbs. Amen.
6) Ted Cruz: Pecan Pie
Ted Cruz would like to remind folks that there are two pies battling it out for the hearts and minds of the American public: He is speaking, of course, of pumpkin and pecan. Pecans, and therefore pecan pies, are utterly American, from the southern states to the southwestern U.S., including his own home state of Texas, where he serves proudly as junior Senator  — and proudly serves pecans in everything from pies to ice creams to candied logs. But what of pumpkin you ask? Well, friends, we have no real vetting process for pumpkins. And where do pumpkins come from? Cruz will readily remind you: We don’t know. Probably Europe; maybe eastern Europe, we don’t know. And therein lies the problem, friends. We don’t know where pumpkins come from, we don’t know their agendas, we aren’t even sure if they’re fruits or vegetables. We can’t put that in pie. You’re going to serve your grandmother that pie. And before you try to tell Ted Cruz that you’re okay serving American grandmothers foreign, un-vetted, potentially vegetable-based pie? You come say that Ted Cruz’s face.
5) Carly Fiorina: Stuffing
Ms. Fiorina affirms that she very much enjoys stuffing. And she dares anyone to who’s seen videos of birds being stuffed — the bread crumbs steaming, the celery tender — while someone in the background says “We have to keep it moist, or we’ll never hear the end of it from Mom,” to somehow deny that stuffing is delicious. Granted, the videotape that Fiorina describes has been determined not to exist, and was in fact created by a pro-Stove Top lobbyist by splicing actual footage of Fiorina’s 2013 Thanksgiving and shots from both Julia Child and (somewhat inexplicably) stock Nazi footage. But Fiorina stands behind her staunch support of stuffing and that videos of said stuffing activity do, in fact, exist.
4) John Kasich: ???
Nobody knows what John Kasich’s favorite dish is, even within the state of Ohio. It’s possible that John Kasich himself doesn’t know. (It’s also possible that we’re all just dreaming up John Kasich.) But with regards to John Kasich’s favorite dish at Thanksgiving, that’s not what John Kasich wants to talk about. What John Kasich wants to talk about instead is that he’s not getting enough chances to talk — about his platform, about foreign policy, about mealtime choices, whatever. When he was governor of Ohio, John Kasich addressed all those issues, and he wants to bring that same problem-solving to the White House, where he will probably enjoy some green bean casserole. But that’s not the central issue.
3) Rand Paul: Cranberry Sauce
The Paul family has a tradition of making a cranberry sauce that’s very specific and, they say, very fair to all consumers at the Thanksgiving table. The full recipe is undisclosed, but what the Paul clan will share is that it is made up of 14.5 percent real cranberries. How that percentage stretches to actually create a satisfactory compote that will fill a serving bowl and still retain its essential cranberriness has yet to be fully studied. In 1988, a young and rebellious Rand filibustered in favor of adding walnuts, but that filibuster lasted only 18 minutes due to the fact that MTV’s Headbangers Ball was starting in the other room.
2) Marco Rubio: Bottled Water
Because Marco has learned that hydration is important in ways one cannot imagine.
1) Donald Trump: The Turkey
Yes, the turkey. All of it. The Donald doesn’t even like turkey, but damned if someone else is going to get his turkey. He’ll build a wall around his turkey. He’s built buildings that were 95 stories tall, so he can definitely build a wall around his turkey big enough to keep you from snagging that drumstick, pal. Forget about the wishbone, too — Trump has that handled: Trump vs. Trump, left hand vs. right hand. Trump wins. And then the Donald will wish for a million more wishes, and then he’ll build a wall around those wishes, and then, walls around those walls. That’s Trump’s plan: walls protecting walls protecting glorious walls. And nestled safely in the center? His fucking turkey.
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Teague Bohlen is a writer, novelist and professor at the University of Colorado Denver. His first novel, The Pull of the Earth, won the Colorado Book Award for Literary Fiction in 2007; his textbook The Snarktastic Guide to College Success came out in 2014. His new collection of flash fiction, Flatland, is available now.
Contact: Teague Bohlen