What Came Next

The reveal

The reveal: a neutrally-dressed young woman lifts a gray box from the table. Beneath, a particular brand of soda.

“You’ve actually been drinking Diet Pepsi!”

Across the table, a man’s jaw drops. “No way!” He laughs loudly, stumbles back in awe.

Cut to: The man, speaking to the woman, to the camera, to us, the national viewing audience, “This is it. WOW. You got me. I’m drinking DIET PEPSI! This is my jam!”

We’re stunned by our preferences when a box conceals the brand.

A vision of democracy:

In the year 2020, the U.S. presidential election takes place via web app. There are no candidates on the ballot. Instead, a series of questions pertaining to how you would like a hypothetical candidate to resolve ambiguous moral and political situations. How you would prefer they respond to stressors and insults. How they’ve spent their free time and their professional energy to date. How long their longest friendship has lasted. What they eat for breakfast, how frequently and intensely they deadlift.

The nation answers the questions.

Each candidate enters their own responses to the questions, which are supplemented by the evaluations of a physician and psychologist and audited by an independent legal counsel.

The app matches each voter to a candidate, based on the percentage of overlap between voter’s preferences to candidates’ responses.

The votes are tallied. On network television, a neutrally-dressed young woman walks to the center of an LED-bright stage and stands behind a star-spangled folding table. On the table, a gray box.

The reveal: she lifts the box from the table. Beneath, a particular brand of candidate. Our new president.

Thousands of red, white, and blue balloons spill from the ceiling. Bruce Springsteen wails over the loudspeakers.