The 7 Worst Political Embarrassments of 2016

Misfires that generated some of the most humiliating outcomes for politicians this year

2016 has surely been a year for the history books. Several of pop culture’s most iconic celebrities died, radical Islamic terrorist attacks on Western soil have almost become “normal,” and ideas that nearly all of the West’s leaders took for granted have been turned entirely upside down.

It is arguably in the area of politics that 2016 has been the most significant. When the year began, the continued march of globalist liberalism seemed inevitable. As the year closes, many are asking whether globalist liberalism will survive the next.

Such significant shifts in the political landscape rarely come without politicians making significant political and tactical errors, so it’s hardly surprising that 2016 also saw some tremendously embarrassing political moments. The following are some of the most significant political embarrassments of 2016:

Cruz’s Scheme Backfires
Ted Cruz was long-expected to finally deliver an endorsement of Donald Trump at the 2016 GOP convention. He did not. Instead, Cruz offered a sanctimonious and wholly transparent call for Republicans to “vote your conscience.” Cruz’s advice was met with a resounding chorus of boos. The Texas senator did later see the writing on the wall and finally got behind the GOP nominee in late September.

Obama Butts into Brexit
Another cringeworthy political moment came when President Obama arrogantly told an entire foreign, sovereign nation that it shouldn’t be sovereign. During a press conference with then-Prime Minister David Cameron, Obama was clear: If Britons voted to leave the E.U., the “U.K. is going to be in the back of the queue,” he warned. They didn’t listen, and voted to leave the E.U.

No-Show Hillary
Of course, Trump’s victory in the election was in and of itself a supremely embarrassing moment for the legions of progressive politicians and pundits who dismissed his candidacy out of hand, and continued to do so all through Election Day. As if Clinton’s loss — her second in her quest for the White House — weren’t embarrassing enough, Clinton did not appear at her own watch party to give the traditional concession speech. This became even more embarrassing when two possible explanations for her absence were reported — either she was too upset or too intoxicated.

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#NeverTrump Marches On
This isn’t so much a moment as it is a string of moments — moments which taken together reveal the slow, steady descent of former Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol into apparent madness and a complete detachment from reality. At the beginning, Kristol dismissed Trump’s chances out of hand. When proven wrong, he tweeted bloody murder before deciding that a white knight candidate could ride out of the night and save the dying neoconservative ideological space he inhabits.

Apparently hell-bent on solidifying his transformation into a figure of scant credibility, Kristol tried to draft relatively unknown National Review writer David French for the role of president, before finding a volunteer in former CIA agent and Goldman Sachs employee Evan McMullin — a living embodiment of everything against which Trump voters were rebelling. A man once widely respected, even by his ideological opponents, Kristol’s behavior during Trump’s ascent to the presidency was truly embarrassing, and has surely done irrevocable damage to his reputation. Shortly after the 2016 election, Kristol was replaced as editor-in-chief of The Weekly Standard by Stephen Hayes.

Merkel’s Fall
The embarrassment of Angela Merkel’s political decline is matched only by the horror of its causes — the Muslim migrant crisis which she in large part precipitated. The very year that was ushered in with mass sexual assaults in Germany on New Year’s Eve will close to the cries of those who lost loved ones in Monday’s Islamic terrorist attack in Berlin. Merkel’s shame on Monday would have been intense enough, but — as if the very cosmos itself were trying to humiliate her — the very moment that a truck plowed into a Berlin Christmas market, killing 12 Germans, Merkel was at a ceremony celebrating her migrant policies.

John Kasich’s Ego
The way John Kasich comported himself throughout the election and afterwards was utterly embarrassing — if not disgraceful. Kasich was apparently just as convinced as Hillary Clinton that he deserved the presidency. Kasich let his temper flare during the debates, and when it became clear that his plan to secure the GOP nomination by being the anti-Trump was doomed to fail, Kasich took it upon himself to become an effective surrogate for the Clinton campaign. He continued to attack Trump after he secured the nomination, even going so far as telling people not to vote for the Republican candidate.

Jeb Bush’s Entire Campaign
Where does one start with Jeb Bush? Bush went into the election as the clear favorite — the anointed one, the latest successor in a long-established dynasty – and with enough money to buy Kennebunkport 100 times over, only to run what was arguably the most stunningly unsuccessful campaign in American history. From awkward, stuttering performances at debates, to numerous failed attempts at making jokes, to nervous performances at empty town halls — who could possibly forget the infamous “please clap” incident? — Jeb’s campaign was an utter train wreck. The entire fiasco was a masterclass in mismanagement and miscalculation. This is, after all, a campaign that thought selling guacamole bowls was a good idea.

Speaking of Jeb Bush, This Photograph

Yes — this is indeed Jeb Bush standing on his toes in a sad attempt to make himself seem taller.

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