Fulfilling the dream of all amateur singers who enter American Idol armed with nothing but a little hope, a modicum of talent, and a policy regarding federal job retraining programs, Clay Aiken has officially announced he will run for Congress in his North Carolina district. Aiken, a Democrat, hopes to displace the current seat-holder, Republican Renee Ellmers, saying he believes “Washington, in general, is dysfunctional,” and that its representatives’ prioritizing of partisanship over the people they serve is a little pitchy, dawg. Aiken expects to challenge that by running on a platform emphasizing education and jobs, only to lose at the last minute to Ruben Studdard.
Aiken is already well aware that his campaign will attract those kinds of cheap jokes—like in a recent radio interview, when Ellmers laughed off Aiken’s bid by saying, “Apparently his performing career isn’t going so well and he’s bored,” and adding that Aiken couldn’t even win American Idol. On the other hand, only one person out of thousands of candidates wins American Idol, whereas most congressmen only had to defeat one or two of their fellow wealthy assholes.
Furthermore, as Aiken lays out in his campaign video below (which plays like the saddest “my story” montage Idol never ran), though he may not have an actual political background or even a law degree, he’s had plenty of experience with helping people. He’s served as a special education teacher, worked with UNICEF and on a George W. Bush-appointed presidential commission to help kids with special needs, and founded the National Inclusion Project to aid children with disabilities. He’s also been a vocal supporter for gay rights through the Human Rights Campaign, and an advocate for the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network. And he was also voted “Most-Loved Reality Star Of All Time” in a TV Guide poll, a competition in which Renee Ellmers didn’t even place.
Anyway, while Aiken obviously faces an uphill battle running as a completely inexperienced Democrat in a traditionally conservative district—especially once his opponents start pulling Spamalot photos for their placards—it’s hard to deny his passion for replacing jaded, career politicians with someone who demonstrably cares about people. And at least he’s easier to root for than, say, Saturday Night Live’s attic-bound dark little secret Victoria Jackson, who also recently announced a run for the Tennessee County Commission based on a platform constructed from “Obama Is The Antichrist” signs and pasted-together bibles.