There’s a nonzero chance American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken is murdering his political rivals.
Okay, that might be an exaggeration.
Or it might be the biggest understatement anyone’s ever made. (It’s not).
Here are the facts: Clay Aiken was declared the winner of a deadlocked Democratic congressional primary in North Carolina’s second district despite having a lead of less than 400 votes because his chief rival, Keith Crisco died suddenly in his home.
Here’s what we don’t know: Crisco’s cause of death, whether or not Clay Aiken is a slightly less gay Frank Underwood (“No really, I can bandage my own hand.” -Various members of Clay Aiken’s staff).
I’m no Karl Rove, but if it is revealed that Clay Aiken wiped out Crisco, it’s probably not going to be good for his political career. Just look at how that worked out for Byron “Low Tax” Looper who when running for Tennessee State Senate in 1996 allegedly told people he “intended to win this election with a Smith & Wesson” then went ahead and murdered his Democratic counterpart. On the plus side for Looper, due to Tennessee election rules, his was the only name on the ballot due to the Democrats not being allowed to change their candidate so close to the election. On the minus side, his late opponent’s wife won as a write-in candidate, and he was convicted of murder and died in prison. So, hopefully Clay Aiken didn’t do that.
Still, there’s one part of this story I just can’t wrap my head around. Clay Aiken is running for Congress? I feel like someone should have told us. It might be because he doesn’t have much of a shot at winning, barring a second mysterious opponent death. But still! Clay Aiken is running for Congress! America Congress! The one that makes laws that we all have to follow!
Now, you may think a 35-year-old who has never held political office and is best known for almost winning a singing competition might not be super qualified to be one of the 535 or so most important legislators in the most powerful country in the world. And in some sense you’d be correct. And Clay Aiken’s last experience with democracy didn’t go so well: he lost by 130,000 votes to Ruben Studdard on American Idol, which seems like a lot, but was basically a rounding error on the 24 million votes cast.
So there’s a certain logic to his running for Congress after failing to win American Idol in that he must figure that if he came so close to winning something competitive that Americans actually cared about, he’d cruise to victory in a Congressional run. Unfortunately, he’s fighting an uphill battle, as the district leans heavily Republican.
On the other hand, people are idiots and may just vote for the guy they’ve heard of. Besides, like all famous people, he’s good at the first and most important part of politics: fundraising. See, Aiken’s fans, or Claymates, as they are presumably known to someone, somewhere, can fund his run to a degree that a nameless Democratic challenger couldn’t. And hey, if Sonny Bono and the guy who played Cooter on The Dukes of Hazzard can do it, why not Clay Aiken? (If it turns out he murdered this guy, then that would be the reason why not.)