The search for a winning formula in the Republican’s 2016 White House run continues this week with what appears to be a TV show “American Idol meets Ultimate Fighting Championship,” otherwise known as the Republican National Convention.

Trump and his wife Michelle — no, wait, Melania, channeling Michelle’s speeches — enter the arena dramatically backlit, as if emerging from the spaceship in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” then hand the podium over to obscure speakers dishing up mud-baths for Hillary Clinton, who apparently has personally strangled numerous American diplomats.

But the key to winning in November, it turns out, lies not in speeches by former “Happy Days” TV stars (trivia quiz: who’s that?), but in … Wyoming.

New York Times columnist Gail Collins put if forcefully in a recent column. She called on readers to imagine our next President handling a major crisis: “Wyoming is lifted into a giant spaceship by aliens who demand to speak with our leader.” There it is, straight from America’s paper of record: it’s not just who will keep America safe, it’s who will keep Wyoming safe, from aliens in space ships.

In addition, Wyoming has been mentioned amidst the many panicky conspiracies roiling about Cleveland, as the state that could provide the ticket a big injection of “make me feel safe!” Conservative pundits — don’t ask me which pundits, okay — are whispering the name of a vice-presidential candidate from Wyoming who could provide experience, gravitas, and a young heart. No, not Gov. Matt Mead — he’s away filing a lawsuit in federal district court in Juneau, Alaska, the last remaining federal court where he hasn’t filed one. Think. Another choice from Wyoming ….

But you’re saying, wait a minute, hasn’t Trump already selected Indiana Gov. Mike Pence to be his running mate? Well, maybe. I mean, he said that. But he said Japan should have nuclear weapons, too, and that global warming was threatening his golf courses; and later clarified that these were just lies from lyin’ Hillary Clinton.

Trump might well have second thoughts about Pence, particularly since he’s declared he wants a V-P candidate who’ll be an “attack dog”; the breed Pence resembles most is the barkless Basenji. Nostalgic GOP consultants think back to the 2000 Republican convention, and the attack dog who “relished” (his words) attacking Al Gore, rousing the crowd to shout “Time for them to go!”

Also on the resume: extensive foreign policy experience, fly-tying expertise, and the fact that he’s six inches shorter than Donald Trump: Dick Cheney, your party calls. Again.

Wyoming's delegation to the convention included Rep. Marti Halverson. (C-SPAN)
Wyoming’s delegation to the convention includes Rep. Marti Halverson. (C-SPAN)

But let’s go back to the spaceship threat. For those of you who do not know your history before 2000, Wyoming was last invaded from space in 1977 — since then, the problem has mostly been Mexico. Back in 1977, Richard Dreyfuss went to Devils Tower and defused the crisis, sending the aliens away, and saving Wyoming and the country and the world. If you don’t believe me, watch the historical movie “Close Encounters” on Netflix.

Should it happen again — God forbid — and Hillary Clinton is in office, you can imagine what would happen. She would order the troops to stand down, send Bill and Chelsea all the top-secret details through the email server in their swimming pool cabana, and not allow the aliens to go until they gave a substantial contribution to the Clinton Foundation.

Whereas, a Trump-Cheney White House? Well, they would invade Iraq, of course.

Expect the Trump campaign to play this one big. (And Donald, if you’re reading this column — wait, did I read somewhere that he doesn’t read? — please note that I have a television production company in Wyoming and would be glad to provide footage.)

Now, back to the VP thing.

If we’re going to sell Trump on dumping Pence and bringing back Cheney, we’ll need to convince the family, which apparently runs the campaign — Ivanka, or Melania, or the 10-year-old, Barron, who probably hasn’t seen “Close Encounters.” Reportedly (my conservative pundit insiders say) they are concerned about the ticket being too geriatric: Dick Cheney is 75 (not counting his heart, which is considerably younger); Donald Trump is 70 (not counting his hair, which came off a Shih Tzu of about age 4). And while they are not concerned about Cheney having his calm, experienced finger on the nuclear button, they fret that said finger has not been trained to tweet — the primary mode of Trump communication. (If Clinton had been tweeting secrets instead of letting her email get hacked, the Chinese would not have taken us to the cleaners — did I really say that? — on trade agreements.)

There are rumors, though, that the Trump camp is just building VP suspense — or, as Donald might tweet it, “suspence” — with these Cheney rumors, and they really have their eye on a much younger last minute substitute. She is well educated, experienced in Washington, provides gender balance for the ticket, and provides the kind of surprising twist that Trump loves. Chelsea Clinton! She could self-finance the campaign with just a couple of speeches to Goldman-Sachs executives in Dubai. This would confirm another rumor — not from those mysterious conservative pundits, but from my wife — that Trump’s riotous candidacy is really a conspiracy between Donald and golf buddy Bill Clinton to get Hillary into the White House.

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And if Chelsea says no — child care issues, maybe, or worries that she looks older than Melania Trump — there is another youthful, gender-balancing, second generation politico who might be drafted.

Here’s how you do it, Donald: Have Sen. Mike Enzi renounce his Senate seat and announce that he’s starting a write-in campaign for the U.S. House. Liz Cheney drops out of the House race, and becomes available for the national ticket.

And, again, if you need some footage shot in Wyoming…



Geoffrey O’Gara is a writer and documentary producer based in Lander, Wyoming. He works for The Content Lab, LLC and serves on WyoFile's board of directors. His column, Weed Draw, is named for a remote...

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  1. Here we are – best election year ever for late night TV satirists, and we in the Upper Green are completely missing out due to lack of cable, slow internet, and too cheap get a dish. Thank You, Geoff Twain, for the excellent coverage with a Wyoming twist.