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Political Limericks for 2016

by Lionel E. Deimel


The 2016 races for the nominations of the Democratic and Republican parties for President of the United States have devolved into two rather surprising two-person contests. The heir apparent to the Democratic nomination, former First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is being challenged by self-described socialist Bernie Sanders. In many ways, Sanders’ appeal is not totally unlike that of the Republican front runner, Donald Trump, who is surely the unlikeliest candidate to come along in quite some time. Out of an initial field of 17 Republican candidates, only Trump, Senator Ted Cruz, and Governor John Kasich remain. GOP leaders are desperately trying to stop Trump from wrapping up the nomination through primaries and caucuses. For this reason, they are encouraging voting for Cruz. Kasich, who has only won a primary in his home state, hopes that a deadlocked convention will turn to him.

Donald John Trump

There once was a candidate, Trump,
Who attracted big crowds on the stump.
    To his fans, he was crude,
    To reporters, quite rude,
And to leaders, a nuisance to dump.

Donald Trump
Text Cruz
Rafael Edward Cruz

The candidate, Senator Cruz,
Has been prodded to make Donald lose.
    Since nobody likes him,
    His chances are quite slim;
Even winning will give pols the blues.

Hillary Rodham Clinton

There once was a candidate, Hillary,
Whom conservatives delighted to pillory.
    “This year is for me,”
    Said Clinton, with glee,
“And Bernie is just an auxiliary.”

Hillary Clinton
Bernie Sanders
Bernard Sanders

There once was a socialist, Bernie,
Who essayed an impossible journey.
    “The rich don’t need more,
    For too many are poor,”
He declared in the president tourney.



These poems were not easy to write, primarily because the candidates do not necessarily have easily rhymed names. “Bernie Sanders” was particularly troublesome. (Sanders, by the way, has no middle name, which explains the name of his limerick.)

Need I say that I did not try to completely characterize the four candidacies dealt with above? Limericks are not sonnets, after all. The best I could do is capture a moment in the long presidential campaign with a bit of humor or insight.

These limericks were written between 3/22/2016 and 3/28/2016. Versions of each poem were first posted on Facebook, and I must acknowledge the helpful feedback I received there.

I wrote the Clinton poem on the day that Sanders won three of three presidential primaries. Clinton retained her delegate lead, but the Sanders camp continued to hope for ultimate victory. On Facebook, a commenter offed these lines to replace the final three lines of “Hillary Rodham Clinton”:

      “But this year is for me,”
    said Bernie, with glee,
“And Clinton is just an auxiliary.”

This is a clever edit, particularly given the point at which it was suggested, but I wanted to keep the poems focused on their nominal subjects.

— LED, 3/28/2016

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