Thursday, October 08, 2020

Our weekly column from the humor site PreOccupied Territory.

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Israeli ballotElah Valley, Philistine-Israelite border region, October 8 - A rhetorical confrontation between a Philistine warrior champion and his opponents, led by Saul, king of Israel, concluded this morning with the former emerging as the clear favorite in the eyes of potential voters, a series of surveys has found.

Goliath, a giant who has taunted the Israelites for several days, continued his jibes against the Hebrews and their God today, with the Israelites barely able to muster a retort. The Philistine warrior dared his foes to send a single combatant to face him instead of settling the conflict with a full-scale battle, a challenge that Saul and his military commanders have so far not accepted. Polls showed the Philistine warrior leading the Israelites by and average of 11% two days ago, and the gap has only increased in the interim, growing to 24.3% as of the unanswered challenge this morning.

Analysts expect a landslide Philistine victory. "Voters know a strong candidate when they see one," explained Doe Egg, an electoral statistician. "The Israelites' inability so far to mount an effective response to counter Goliath's arguments has only hurt them. Some experts believed that ignoring his barbs might make them seem above the fray and the Philistines uncultured and immature, but those analyses failed to account for the visceral resonance Goliath's talk produces. If the numbers hold when voters go to the polls officially, were looking at the Israelites being lucky to garner even forty percent of the votes. That's landslide territory. It's hard to see how Saul and his camp will recover from this development at this stage, let alone close the gap that already existed before the debate."

The Israelite king has struggled to maintain morale among his constituents and loyalists as Goliath has landed rhetorical punch after rhetorical punch. Saul has had to allocate manpower and resources to stem the hemorrhaging of voters, instead of to rebutting Philistine talking points or criticizing Goliath's record or policy proposals, let alone putting forth a positive vision of the future he seeks to create.

As spokesman for the Israelite campaign sought to downplay the significance of the debate. "There are plenty of hours until that actual contest, and a lot can change in that time, and besides, people overstate the impact of debates on these things, since the vast majority of voters have made up their minds," insisted Abner ben-Ner of the royal Chiefs of Staff.

A last-minute write-in campaign in Israelite ranks seeks to name David, a shepherd from Hebron and the youngest of eight brothers, as champion. Experts consider the effort a long shot.

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