A proposed campaign poster for the Meacham/McGraw ticket. Image courtesy of O’Neill.
By Jeremy O’Neill
As American politics finds itself plunging down an uglier and uglier rabbit hole, it has become clear to me that there is an untapped political juggernaut waiting to save the future of this country, and it resides surprisingly close to The University of the South. This partnership is truly bipartisan and includes years of political experience, unparalleled knowledge of Washington and its inner workings, and a relatable personality.
It includes both a Pulitzer Prize winner and a member of Taste of Country’s “10 Sexiest Male Country Stars of 2013.” It features one man wearing a well-fitting Brooks Brothers suit juxtaposed with his partner in a jet black Stetson. What could be more American than that? The answer to our nation’s problems: Meacham/McGraw 2020.
The docket in question includes one of Washington’s most well respected political correspondents, Mr. Jon Meacham (C’91), and his Vice-Presidential running mate, country singer Tim McGraw. While this may seem like an unlikely combination of individuals—and this country clearly doesn’t need another ticket of two wealthy, heterosexual, white men—there is tremendous potential in this duo.
First of all, it is news to no one that our nation sits in an extremely polarized political position. What better to unite the country than two moderates who fit very close to the center of the political aisle? Both men have been particularly critical of the Trump administration, and neither have been afraid to express disdain for America’s current political situation. McGraw has even publicly said that running for office would be an endeavour he would consider.
It is in their differences, however, that their true strength becomes clear. Meacham understands Washington and what makes it work (or fail to work) like only a man who has written on multiple presidents can, and McGraw has been able to speak to the everyday American that only a purveyor of “three chords and the truth” can.
One of the Democratic Party’s issues in the 2016 election was connecting with rural voters who felt like they had been left behind by changing times. How can this be different in 2020? A Vice-Presidential candidate who sings about a “Redneck rockin’ like a rockstar / Sling a lil’ mud off the back, we can do that / Friday night football, Saturday last call, Sunday hallelujah.”
Meacham’s knowledge, electability, and Sewanee connection can appeal to the wealthy elite, along with his very presidential appearance. He also has the calm, southern presence Sewanee most certainly gave him that would result in successful negotiations with even the most shrewd of foreign diplomats.
What about individuals farther to the left of the political spectrum? Well, there is a McGraw lyric for that: “When you get where you’re goin’, don’t forget to turn back around, help the next one in line.” Explaining the broad concept of socialized medicine is much more attractive when put to country lyrics. Instead of thinking of paying more taxes, we are simply helping the next one in line.
So, however you may vote in 2020, remember a few poetic words: “Always stay humble and kind.”