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The 2000 Vote: Gandalf or Saruman?
** Thank you for making K-ENT Channel 9 your number one choice for news in Middle-earth. **

We are broadcasting live tonight from the village of Bree with the most complete coverage of the 2000 Election you’ll find anywhere. With the bluster of the recent debates and the bizarre negative ad campaign set forward by the trailing candidates this Presidential race has certainly become one of the most dramatic in recent memory. And this little Ent has quite a long memory, suffice it to say.

During the primaries, public opinion polls were strongly in favor of Republican nominee Saruman the White. The widespread support Saruman received from the Dunlendings proved crucial at the Eregion Caucus. However, those numbers have dropped considerably through the summer; the most recent Gallup Poll surprising many analysts. With Saruman’s early lead quickly vanishing his campaign strategists have introduced the ‘Many Colors’ slogan in his speeches and TV spots, apparently to court the minority vote.

Vice-presidential running mate Gríma Wormtongue showed little concern last Thursday at a fund-raising dinner in Edoras. "It takes no keener sight to spot a trend than to spot a crow in the field," he said. "If we lavished all our efforts at the whim of every poll, we’d be heedless to our true task: Educating the voters about who Saruman really is–a great leader who will be a grand President!"

GOP organizers were dealt a blow last July when it was publicly revealed that the Saruman campaign received large donations from the Orcs of the Misty Mountains. Saruman’s more vocal opponents had a field day with this disclosure, and the press has been unrelenting. Downplaying the controversy as "little more than a feckless attempt to divert from the issues," Saruman himself held a press conference on the Isengard lawn. With his usual crowd-pleasing panache he called himself a "Man of the Future," and railed against his critics with a fury. "Embrace the future by upholding the past!" he urged. "I shall bring great lore and vast wisdom to the Presidency; for the vital prosperity of Middle-earth can come only from Orthanc."

However, his campaign officers have yet to return the funds in question. The donating organization, calling themselves ‘Sons of Snaga,’ would not return our calls or grant an interview.

In his current televised ads front-running Democratic candidate Gandalf the Grey asserts that Orcs will never be granted the right to vote–and he termed their donations to the Saruman camp "shameful." He also called on the Attorney General’s office to launch an investigation into further fund-raising abuses.

When Gandalf secured the Democratic nomination earlier this year it was clear he intended to fully embrace the party platform. Indeed, his rising popularity in the West is mainly due to his stand on labor and environmental issues.

Advocating his policy at a recent town meeting in Rivendell, Gandalf said: "Any fool can chop down a tree, and a whole army of fools can destroy a forest. But the Wise know the outcome of such rash spoiling. The adverse effects will linger across many unhappy generations, bringing profit to no one. If Saruman wants to build his machines and thus expand the enterprise of his supporters, he does so at great peril. The land he wounds in the process shall not forgive him. And neither shall we." It is interesting to note that union leaders and environmental groups alike firmly endorsed Gandalf’s candidacy long before the World Trade Organization.

After Gandalf announced Tom Bombadil as his running mate, there was quiet grumbling among the ranks of established Democrats. Some analysts believed Bombadil would have a difficult time connecting with voters. "It’s all that blasted singing," one aide close to the campaign told us, insisting on anonymity. "What are the spin doctors going to do with all that ‘Ring a ding dillo’ stuff? No one can take him seriously."

During the Democratic National Convention I had the opportunity to interview several devout Bombadil supporters who believe that that is exactly the point. His eccentricity and ability to make up rhymes on the spot seems to appeal to a wide constituency. Bombadil has also gained a lot of ground among Hobbits with his staunch ‘hands-off’ foreign policy.

To gain a better understanding of the climate among today’s Hobbit voters, a visit to the Shire was in order. It is an idyllic, perfectly-ordered country where the rhythm of their rural lives sets a certain mood. That mood distinctly sours, however, with the suggestion of the White Hand sitting in the White House.

"We don’t want none a’ his fancy policies ‘round here," one Farmer Cotton told us on the eve of Saruman’s nomination. "If his idea of New Economics is tearing down our Mill and sandblasting our homes for the sake a’ profit, he’s got another thing coming! He’s naught but a ninny I tell you!"

Other young Hobbits were also pessimistic about the Saruman/Gríma ticket. Their concerns about education reforms are typified in a brightly-haired maidchild that we spoke to named Ruby. "We all want to learn our letters; and we have a right," she said. "The younger we start ‘em off, the better… and I don’t want my tax dollars being spent on some silly Republican pork project when my little ones need new books!"

Daughter of the local Mayor, Ruby has a better grasp of the political process than most. "Oh, that Sharkey is a smooth talker, he is," she said. "But Gandalf really said it best–‘This isn’t a popularity contest!’ I hope the young people get out there in droves on November 7th. We need to make a stand."

Despite increased security, several riots broke out here in Bree during the big Convention. The largest outburst occurred during the outdoor Glass Hammer concert across the street from The Pony where conventioneers were assembled. Bottles and stones were hurled by a renegade group of dwarves protesting government regulation of trade routes to the Blue Mountains. It took several hours for the A.R.C. (Archet Riot Control) to sweep through the area and restore order. No one was seriously hurt, but as always there were squint-eyed ill-favoured thugs from the South who turned over carts and burned an effigy of Gandalf in the street. This young reporter has never seen such a display of bad breeding.

By far the most shocking development of this election was the Reform Party nominating the Dark Lord Sauron as their candidate. Confessed bigot, devious manipulator, and all-around nasty guy, Sauron claimed the Reform Party torch while simultaneously causing a flood of defections by high ranking officials. Despite his strong-arm tactics he was flatly denied participation in all three presidential debates. His extreme views have not improved his visibility, nor has an onslaught of negative ads aimed at discrediting the Wizards who currently dominate the political spectrum.

And now a program note: If you are wondering where the oligarchy of Gondor fits into all of this, be sure to join us later tonight after your local news for a special edition of Entline. Appearing in his first-ever broadcast interview, we’ll introduce you to Aragorn Telcontar, the young upstart from the North who says if he has his way, the days of the Presidency will soon be obsolete.

All punditry aside, the ultimate outcome of this election lies in your hands. Your ballot is the most perfect representation of vox populi. You, the voter, are the true power that shapes all nations. In so small an act can the hand of Destiny be changed.

Who will you choose?

Much too hasty,


Author's Note:

Since being posted live, this piece has angered (and amused) many readers, triggering an avalanche of both praise and scorn. Please note that this is a SATIRE... an admittedly silly one at that... not an attack on anyone's politics. One hopes that the public would clearly note it is derived from, to the author's mind, thematic elements of Tolkien's characters; and any slight political bias could be forgiven. With tongue firmly planted in bark, the intent was to entertain at everyone's expense, not to insult people's sensibilities. All things being equal, I am gratified to have "stirred the cup of debate" even a little and further hope that all those vexed enough to curse my name take their passion to the polls on November 7th.

This piece does not indicate the political leanings of TheOneRing.net, which has its roots in Canada and New Zealand and couldn't care less about American politicking.


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The Silver Lining
Movie Review - Fellowship of the Ring
Where the Stars are Strange: Part V
Where the Stars are Strange: Part IV
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Where the Stars are Strange: Part II
Where the Stars are Strange: Part I
The Spectacular Cannes Footage
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An Open Letter to Jeffrey Wells
The Shadow of Racism
All About Sam
The Game’s the Thing!
Who’s Spiking Who?
The 2000 Vote: Gandalf or Saruman?
Tolkien’s Greatest Hits
Return to The Furthest Reaches
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"Yes, Elanor, there really is a Gandalf"
…And In the Closet Bind Them
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