Thanks to his son Morty, Paulsen is running for president this year from the grave. Franken and humorist Dave Barry have also gotten significant book-tour mileage in the past by declaring themselves Oval Office hopefuls. Beyond leveraging a fake political campaign for personal career advancement, the tactic is also a proven way to move products. More than a year before Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was branded "Caribou Barbie," the doll herself launched her fourth bid for the White House. Corporate mascots such as Mr. Clean have long used election seasons to create buzz for supermarket coupons, while television shows like All in the Family and Happy Days have likewise been drawn to the allure of presidential marketing.
Click here to read a slide-show essay on history's greatest fictional presidential candidates.
TODAY IN SLATE
The Ebola Story
How our minds build narratives out of disaster.
The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola
PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer
The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics
A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers
Welcome to 13th Grade!
Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.
The Actual World
“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.