The room is empty now.

A cleaner picks up a discarded note, hastily scribbled on legal paper. Full of panic and desperation.

“A NOTE” is a political short story about power slipping away and frantic plans to hold on. In the aftermath of a political storm, this single sheet of paper may change everything.

Who will rise from the chaos?

Who will lead?

1,000 words / 4 minutes of strategic reading pleasure

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‘A week is a long time in politics.’ Harold Wilson



Copyright 2024 Stefano Boscutti
All Rights Reserved

One of the older cleaners at CNN finds it under the sofa after everyone has left the green room.

A one-page note scrawled in a rushed hand on yellow legal paper. Hours before the room had been filled with President Biden’s aides and strategists watching and worrying as Biden debated the Republican Party presidential candidate and former president Donald Trump.

Biden’s closest and most trusted advisers had been there. Mike Donilon, Ron Klain, Ted Kaufman. This small circle of lifelong insiders watched in horror as Biden stumbled and fumbled and bumbled in the debate, often incoherent and veering off topic. Support for Biden evaporated before their eyes.

Now the green room is empty. Only the mess is left behind. Garment racks and chairs pushed against a wall. Half-empty pitchers of water with half-empty plastic cups. An empty half-pint of vodka and two empty bottles of wine. A craft table with half-eaten pretzels and spilled coffee. Scrunched paper napkins mopping up the spill.

The cleaner looks at the note. It has nine numbered points written in blue pen in an increasingly frantic hand.

One - We’re fucked! This is unspinnable. Biden just spent ninety minutes advertising to the American people that he is incapable of being president. Cadaver. Belongs in a wax museum. Call Tom Seyer and apologise.

Two - Find medical issues pronto so Biden can resign for health reasons, resign for the good of the country. Leave with dignity. Make it an age-related medical condition. Call Kevin. Get Biden to military hospital as soon as he returns to Washington for undisclosed tests. Get press team to link medical condition to aging Trump who’ll turn eighty in two years.

Three - Prepare for an open convention. What a shit show!

Four - Kamala Harris is not up for it. Too liberal elite, too Hilary Clinton. Nice in theory but completely impractical. Polls don’t stack up. Dollars don’t stack up. Won’t move the needle. Make sure Anita Dunn stays away.

Five - Gretchen Whitmer? No way. Too whiny. See above. (Although good record on affordable community college, insurance refunds and tax cuts for seniors. Balanced last four budgets with no tax increases. Solid campaigner.) 

Six - Gavin Newsom? Spare me. Homelessness, high taxes, escalating housing costs. Too Californian, too slick. Taller and better looking than Trump but parties too hard. Short campaign might help.

Seven - JB Pritzker? Progressive, two-term governor, notable victories on abortion rights and gun control. Billionaire heir to the Hyatt Hotels fortune and fat as fuck. Enormous cash reserves. Spent three hundred and fifty million dollars of his own money on his two campaigns for governor. How much does he have left?

Eight - Josh Shapiro? Way too Jewish. Can’t move across the middle, can’t shift the redline states. Former attorney general. Too political. Too insider. Seen as part of the problem. No personality.

Nine - Beto O’Rourke. Good name recall. Easy to position as comeback kid, as political outsider being called to duty to save the party, save the country. Tall, lanky, photogenic family. Deep voice, cunning. Don’t mess with Texas and all that. El Paso native. Reword “Beto for Texas” campaign slogan to “Beto for America”. Can beat Trump on immigration, health, education, climate change, reproductive rights, voter suppression, any debate.

Flip Trump’s election theft lies by calling for fair and free elections. Keep talking about voter suppression, keep referring to Article 1 of the Constitution, voting rights are human rights, make your vote count.

Position Beto as young and inclusive against Trump as old and hateful. Hopeful future vs hopeless past. Kennedy vs Nixon strategy. Challenge Trump to a series of televised debates across all networks and platforms, national and international. Trump won’t be able to resist the largest audience in history.

Ensure studio lights over Trump become extra hot. Slowly cut air conditioning. Let Trump sweat on camera, need to see make up run down his face while Beto remains cool. Need to see Trump lose it live on air. Step up security. Call Jill.

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Copyright 2024 Stefano Boscutti

All Rights Reserved

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No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, digital, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying or copying and pasting, recording or any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing.

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This is a work of fiction. While many of the characters portrayed here have counterparts in the life and times of Joe Biden, Donald Trump, Beto O’Rourke and others, the characterisations and incidents presented are totally the products of the author’s slippery imagination. This work is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. It should not be resold or given away. Thank you for your support. (Couldn’t do it without you.)

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