McAuliffe-Cuccinelli Not Quite the Grimmest Rooting Choice in History

Photo: Nicholas Roberts/AFP/Getty Images,Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

The most depressing election in America is unfolding in Virginia, where voters will trudge to the polls this fall to choose either Republican nutjob Ken Cuccinelli or soulless Democratic hack Terry McAuliffe as their next governor. We know why Republicans picked Cuccinelli — he’s crazy, they’re crazy, it’s the sort of perfect match that regularly produces nominees like Todd “legitimate rape” Akin and Richard Mourdock.

Just how McAuliffe managed to clear the field is harder to explain. McAuliffe is a House of Cards character, only less articulate. Unlike most soulless hacks, he did not obtain his position through years of greasy pole climbing — he’s a novice in electoral politics whose only real power base is Beltway insiders. McAuliffe is the Democrat Democrats have been dying to vote against, except they can’t, because he’s running against a falling-off-the-right-edge-of-the-map Republican. (It’s a testament to McAuliffe’s visceral loathsomeness that he’s starting off with a ten-point deficit against Crazy Ken Cuccinelli, in a state Barack Obama won twice.)

Grim though it may be to take sides in a race like this, history has presented us with grimmer choices before. Herewith, a list of seven more unpleasant rooting choices:

Hitler vs. Stalin. The most evil dictator in world history went to war against the second-most-evil dictator in history. Nothing will ever top it.

Photo: David Low/The Evening Standard

Iran vs. Iraq. Secular totalitarianism versus Theocratic totalitarianism. So hard to pick, the United States government couldn’t stay with one side.

Picture released on October 1980 of Iraqi artillery during the shelling of Abadan and Khorramshahr, in Iran, during Iran-Iraq war.
Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Duke vs. Edwards. Edwin Edwards was called a “crook” and a “lizard.” By his own supporters! You can do that when you’re running against a white supremacist.

Photo: Wally McNamee/Corbis,US House of Representatives

Duke vs. UNLV. Different Duke, same general aura of white supremacy, also facing an incredibly sleazy opponent.

30 Mar 1991, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA --- UNLV's Anderson Hunt (12) and unidentified teammates leave the floor after losing to Duke in the NCAA national semi-final game in Indianapolis, March 30, 1991.  Duke defeated UNLV by a score of 79-77.
Photo: Al Behrman/AP/Corbis

Flynt vs. Falwell. Listening to Jerry Falwell turned you into a sympathizer for Larry Flynt, until you listened to Larry Flynt, which turned you into a sympathizer for Falwell.

Photo: Donna Bise/Getty ImagesRon Gallella/WireImage

Kardashian vs. Humphries. I won’t pretend to know anything about this relationship. I am told they're both unbearable.

NBA player Kris Humphries (L) and his wife reality TV personality Kim Kardashian appear on the Tonight Show With Jay Leno at NBC Studios on October 4, 2011 in Burbank, California.
Photo: Kevin Winter/NBCUniversal/Getty Images

Godzilla vs. Moth-Ra. How do you make a giant rampaging lizard sympathetic? Pit him against an even more disgusting gigantic rampaging insect.

GODZILLA VS THE SEA MONSTER, Japan 1968, TOHO. GODZILLA battles EBIRAH a giant lobster MOTHRA above left RODAN above right Date 1968.
Photo: Mary Evans/Ronald Grant/Everett Collection