Trump's Potential Cabinet Is More Terrifying Than Our Worst-Case Alternatives

Donald Trump is President-elect of the United States. If you've spent the last week convinced the results of the recent election were perhaps delirium brought on by hemorrhagic fever or the result of someone swapping your chai latte with ayahuasca, allow me to bring you out of your haze with the verbal equivalent of ice water in the face: Steve Bannon.

Trump has selected Bannon, a former Navy officer and Goldman Sachs investment banker, as his chief strategist. Before he became Trump campaign CEO, Bannon was known as the executive chairman of Breitbart Media, a charming site that's hosted such informative articles as "Birth Control Makes Women Unattractive and Crazy" and "1001 Reasons Why Global Warming is So Totally Over in 2016" (the last one citing a study by an "amateur enthusiast"). Bannon himself has referred to feminist women as "a bunch of dykes" and once wrote the cure for mental illness was to "spank your children more."

Of somewhat greater concern is the fact Bannon used Breitbart to champion the rise of the"alt right" movement (another Breitbart story: "Hoist It High and Proud: The Confederate Flag Proclaims a Glorious Heritage"), so named because "Fourth Reich" still has negative connotations. For now. Bannon's hiring was endorsed by the chariman of the American Nazi Party, barely two weeks after the KKK itself endorsed Trump for President.

Damn, it's a good thing we didn't elect that woman with a private email server. Pass the ayahuasca.

Because while Bannon may be the racist cherry on top of the shit sundae, it doesn't get any more appetizing the further down you go. With only a couple months until inauguration, speculation continues about Trump's potential Cabinet appointees, and there are some real doozies: Sarah "Drill Baby Drill" Palin for Secretary of the Interior? Climate change denier and young Earth creationist Ben Carson for Secretary of Education? How about Mike Huckabee for Health and Human Services? Between all of the above and reports of just how unprepared Trump's team is for the transition, it doesn't seem like things could get any worse.

Ha ha, oh please. If 2016 has taught us anything, it's that things can *always* get worse. Here, in what started as a joke exercise, are all 15 of my projected Cabinet picks. At first, this was merely a way to inject some levity into what is becoming an increasingly terrifying reality — but reality is outpacing my imagination at this point.

Secretary of State: Dick Cheney
Qualifications: Possibly less unhinged Rudy Giuliani.
Appeals To: Neocons; anyone who's ever secretly wanted to shoot a friend in the face.
Drawbacks: Might actually be dead.

Secretary of the Treasury: Bernie Madoff
Qualifications: An uncertain economy could use a guy who can generate $18 billion in profits out of thin air.
Appeals To: People who use "bootstraps" in conversation, reverse mortgage enthusiasts.
Drawbacks: Would have to attend confirmation hearings via prison Skype ("prison Skype" is holding a piece of Plexiglas over your face and screaming out a window).

Secretary of Defense: A Great White Shark
Qualifications: Is a fucking shark.
Appeals To: The throngs of Trump voters who will support even an embarrassingly unqualified candidate as long as he's white.
Drawbacks: More susceptible than most to Russia's submarine fleet.

Attorney General: Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer
Qualifications: Has law degree; Neanderthal mindset perfectly in line with current GOP attitudes towards reproductive and LGBT rights.
Appeals To: Mullet aficionados; folks who pine for the "good old days" ... of the Late Pleistocene age.
Drawbacks: He's just a caveman.

Secretar(ies) of the Interior: The Koch Brothers
Qualifications: Have spent decades tirelessly pursuing responsible land management and sober environmental policy [the preceding was paid for by a grant from the Koch Brothers].
Appeals To: Plutocrats; down-ballot Republicans for whom gerrymandering and voter suppression aren't quite enough.
Drawbacks: If, as so many Republicans claim, there is a God, the Kochs are about three decades overdue for being smote by holy fire.

Secretary of Agriculture: Dan Cathy, CEO of Chic-fil-A
Qualifications: Makes fast food chicken that doesn't immediately trigger explosive diarrhea.
Appeals To: People opposed to the integration of McDonald's playgrounds, veterans of the War on Christmas.
Drawbacks: Due to Chic-fil-A's Sunday closure policy, thousands of churchgoers are forced to dine at Cracker Barrel.

Secretary of Commerce: "Brad" Putin
Qualifications: Not much is known about this go-getting newcomer on the scene, but the President-elect seems fond of him.
Appeals To: Authoritarians; bold thinkers who wish those Ukranians would learn their place.
Drawbacks: Honestly, at this point Trump could probably *actually* appoint Putin to a Cabinet post and Breitbart would ask what the big deal was.

Secretary of Labor: Rush Limbaugh
Qualifications: Has personally kept several doctors employed thanks to his affinity for prescription painkillers.
Appeals To: Thrice-married moral crusaders; your uncle
Drawbacks: Has never actually "labored" a day in his life.

Secretary of Transportation: Lord Humungus
Qualifications: Has a sweet ride.
Appeals To: Dune buggy mechanics; Mustache Parade attendees.
Drawbacks: More LGBT-friendly than Trump and company are probably comfortable with.

Secretary of Health and Human Services: Brock Turner
Qualifications: None, but he's probably going to have a hard time finding a job and — gosh darn it — the kid just made a mistake.
Appeals To: Someone 20 percent of women are familiar with; anyone for whom "grab 'em right in the pussy" wasn't an instant deal-breaker.
Drawbacks: You can no longer leave your drink unattended at White House parties.

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: David Duke
Qualifications: Once lived in a house, also talks a lot about ghettos.
Appeals To: Anyone who refers to the "War of Northern Aggression" without irony; your other uncle.
Drawbacks: Sometimes forgets to wash up after weekly cross burnin's.

Secretary of Energy: Doctor Victor Von Doom
Qualifications: Technological prowess could prove beneficial in developing alternative fuels, and his Time Platform would also enable President Trump to travel back to Kenya in 1961 and obtain photographic evidence of an infant Barack Obama.
Appeals To: Particularly egomaniac cosplayers; loud talkers.

Secretary of Education: Abubakar Shekau
Qualifications: Putting the head of Boko Haram in charge of the department is the next best thing to getting rid of it entirely.
Appeals To: Child soldiers, white people who still can't say they have "a black friend."
Drawbacks: Cannot legally approach within 1,000 feet of any schools.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs: Ted Nugent
Qualifications: Appointing a draft dodger to this post would finally dispel any lingering impression that the government gives a shit about veterans.
Appeals To: Non-obligate carnivores; dudes who book solo tours to Thailand.
Drawbacks: Extended jam version of "Stranglehold" played at inauguration.

Secretary of Homeland Security: Negan
Qualifications: Speaks softly, carries a big stick.
Appeals To: Post-apocalyptic fascists, those seeking stability in an uncertain world.
Drawbacks: Potentially introducing Justin Trudeau to Lucille.

Minister for Magic: Lord Voldemort
Qualifications: Evil, but not demonstrably more so than most of Trump's possible nominees.
Appeals To: Racial purity devotees, cultists ... come to think of it, someone should check to see if he's already writing for Breitbart.
Drawbacks: May withdraw support when he realizes Trump's victory was due to garden variety Muggle fear and ignorance instead of dark magic.
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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar