BURLINGTON – The three leading candidates in Burlington’s mayoral race sat down virtually for a bonus debate hosted by Vermont’s leading satire site, The Winooski on Thursday night. The political hopefuls were asked questions on topics ranging from the police force to affordable housing, and this time we didn’t let them get away with stupid, political answers.
The Winooski: Welcome, gentleman, to the first ever satirical debate. We’d like to take a moment to point out that none of you identifies as female, which should be upsetting to many people. Also, there are no conservative voices on…
Max Tracy: (interrupting) The conservative GOP is full of extremist nutjobs whose ideas would never work in Burlington.
TW: Pot, kettle, but yeah, we get your point. So on to the first question.
MT: Also, could you please not use that picture of me where I look like a confused baby gnome? I mean, come on, Digger, there are tons of good pictures of me on my website! I don’t look that surprised and nerdy in real life.
TW: Okay, how about this one?
MT: What?! No! I look like a disgruntled serial killer!
TW: So the first question. Rent prices in Burlington are sky-high, and there is almost no new housing available. It’s a huge problem.
Ali Dieng: That was not a question. That was a statement.
TW: Fair. Okay, so, housing sucks, huge problem, what are you going to do about it?
Miro Weinberger: I keep trying to build stuff, but everyone gets mad at me!
AD: That’s because you try to build stuff with criminals and idiots.
MW: Look, I can’t be blamed for the fact that, in this country, criminals and idiots have all the money.
MT: Bernie Sanders raised millions of dollars from grassroots campaigns, showing that the little guy, the unheard voice, does have the power to…
MW: We’d all like to be Bernie, now wouldn’t we. How are you going to solve the housing problem without building anything?
MT: My plan is to increase housing in Burlington by 30%, while also making it 55% more affordable.
AD: That isn’t a plan. Those are goals. Do you actually have any real plans to get anything done?
MT: Of course I have plans! I plan to defund the police, I plan to bring about racial justice and equality, I plan to raise the minimum wage, I plan to criminalize the use of incorrect pronouns, and I plan to solve the housing crisis!
AD: Again, those are not plans. Those are goals. Do you not know the difference between a plan and a goal? Maybe you should google it…
TW: Ok Mr. Dieng, we know how Mayor Weinberger has been trying to solve the housing crisis, by building more housing that should be completed by 2037, and we know how, well, actually, I guess we have no idea how Mr. Tracy plans to solve the housing crisis. But how would you solve it?
AD: The important thing for voters to realize is that I am going to study the housing issue very seriously and make many long term plans for solving it, and by the time the day comes to implement those plans, after years of careful consideration, I will have taken over for Bernie in Washington and the next mayor can figure out what to do.
TW: A very good point. Let’s move on to climate change. Anybody for it? Or are we all pretty much against it?
MW: I’m strongly against it.
MT: Then why didn’t you report Del Pozo’s fake Twitter account earlier?!
MW: What does that have to do with climate change?
MT: Defund the police! Defund the police! Defund the police!
AD: Are we still talking about climate change? I think we should study the problem very seriously and make some long-term plans surrounding ways the city can combat impending ecological disasters on a local level, so that I support those plans from Washington once I am elected to the Senate.
TW: No, sorry, I guess we’re talking about the police now. The current mayor supports having police officers, and treating them with respect and dignity, while also training them in more effective methods of non-violent conflict resolution. How about you other two? What do you think?
MT: Honestly man, why do we even need police? The only reason we have crime at all is because the current mayor continues to support the idea that certain activities are illegal. If we could just decriminalize “not being white,” I think we’d see that we don’t need police at all.
AD: I have studied Max’s “Hug Patrol” idea at length, and I have to say that I do not support it. I also do not support the current system. If elected, I vow to make it a priority to study the inherent problems rooted deep within our flawed system of justice, in order to make recommendations for future political leaders to act upon.
MW: You just can’t win, you guys. Seriously. Being mayor is hard. I know it’s easy to judge from the outside, and honestly it’s good to have activists like Max keeping me in line, and smart, thoughtful people like Ali who are carefully working to make the city a better place. But how are they going to be mayor? Remember the Battery Park protesters? Everybody was mad at me about that. Half the city was mad that I didn’t just clear them out, and the other half was mad that I didn’t give in to all of their demands. As mayor, you have to look at all sides, compromise, and try to do your best for every resident. If everyone’s a little upset, I think you’re doing a good job. We have to support the police. Their morale is low enough as it is. The last thing we need is for all the officers to be underpaid and angrier.
MT: Spoken like a true politician! Drain the swamp! I will never compromise! If the police are angry that we hate them, we should fire them!
AD: I agree with everything that both of my fellow candidates have said, and I promise to be the best of both of them. Boom. Beat that.
TW: Okay, well, we’re just about out of time, because we can’t afford the paid version of Zoom and I think our session is about to expire. Does anyone want to make a closing statement?
MT: If elected, I promise to radically change everything about this city, while keeping it exactly the same so it remains the Burlington that we all know and love. I will not build or improve upon any infrastructure, and in doing so will grow our opportunities exponentially.
AD: If elected, I promise to not be here that long. Seriously, it’s an easy vote. If you don’t like me, I’ll be moving up the ladder as soon as possible. Just try me out! What could it hurt?
MW: I’m the mayor right now. I think I’m doing okay. I guess if you like some stuff I’ve been doing, you should vote for me, and if you don’t like stuff I’ve been doing, you should vote for Ali. But dear God people, Max Tracy will burn this city to the ground. I beg of you, don’t let him turn this place into a Cheech and Chong version of “The Purge.” But again, hopefully vote for me. And try not to think about the pit. I try not to.
Brilliant! But it’s not satire.